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I love Social Media, and I think it’s an amazing tool for churches and ministries to be able to use. I made the picture above, and really just thinking about it, most of those words meant something completely different not even a full 10 years ago. It’s amazing how much Social Media has completely revolutionized the world we live in in such a short period of time.
So is your Youth Ministry using Social Media? I know that as a whole, Youth Ministry is still somewhat divided on using Social Media, but I firmly believe that this is a tool God has blessed us with. It’s not meant to replace other things, but if used properly, Social Media can greatly enhance what our Youth Ministries are already doing.
These are 4 ways you can use Social Media to Enhance your Youth Ministry, and not create a major distraction.
1 | Use Twitter as a mass texting service – I know some people who don’t understand twitter probably think thats all the site is to begin with, but Twitter can serve as a free way of texting students, parents, and volunteers in your ministry. Simply set up your account and advertise for people to text “Follow @username” to 40404. For instance, if you texted “Follow @youth_min” to 40404, you would start receiving all of our updates via text message. The best part is that you don’t even need a Twitter account to do this, anyone who has text messages on their phone can participate. The only downside is that you won’t know how many people have subscribed, and they won’t be able to respond to you via texts. But for the price, you can’t complain.
In the past, I’ve created several Twitter accounts for specific things, and used them as keywords, so we had our Generic Student Ministries account, plus one for our fall retreat, one for prayer, etc. etc.
2 | Make Facebook Profile Pictures advertisements for Youth Series –
This one takes a little bit more planning and prep work, but there are two ways you can do it. The first way is quite fun, you can set up a photo booth for students to take their pictures in before/after youth group. Then, before you upload the pictures to your groups Facebook page, add a watermark of the series studyoryouth group logo to the picture. Encourage students to make this their profile picture, and help spread the word about your ministry or the upcoming series.
The second way to do this is to create a Twibbon campaign. Twibbon campaigns are very easy to set up, usually lest than 2 minutes, and very easy for fans to participate in. They have a paid option, but the free one works just as well.
3 | Use Facebook deals for check-ins – This one works especially well if your youth ministry has a snack shop/cafe type place. If you have a Facebook page for your group, and your address is public, then the left sidebar for your page should have a tab for “Deals.” Simply make a deal for your page, submit it, and usually Facebook will approve it within 24 hours. Now all you have to do is tell your students about it, and when they come to church with their iPods or iPhones, they can check in to your student ministry, and earn something while advertising your Ministry to all of their friends.
An example of one that we did was 4 Check-ins in one month got them $2.00 at the cafe. Didn’t really cost us anything, and got our Ministry on their Facebook feeds quite a bit.
4 | Use Buffer to schedule Devotional/Prayer updates – Earlier I mentioned using twitter as a mass texting tool. Another thing you can do is sign up for buffer, a social media scheduling tool. You can determine when your updates go out, and set it up so that once a day you tweet or post to Facebook a devotional for your students of some sort. Buffer has a free account option that gives you 1 social network and space for 10 updates to be scheduled, or you can upgrade to the $10 plan that allows 5 social network and 50 scheduled updates.