© Anna Flowers, Communicating Clearly and Effectively with Appropriate Media and Technologies. Retrieved from AnnaFlowers.org on Oct 30, 2016.
Church leaders of all ministry types and sizes will likely agree that the task of numerically measuring progress, although sometimes tedious, can be one important means of gaining insight to a ministry’s health. We measure congregational attendance and engagement to help gauge existing ministry connection and determine future programming, staffing and resource needs. We measure congregational giving both in the monetary sense and by way of volunteer hours, to help with our strategic planning and ongoing ministry mission.
Many churches have broadened their mission field to include the online world. This includes utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more to connect and network with people who may otherwise never engage with any aspect of the church. According to Church Works, “Social media can be a brilliant way to reach users who may be entirely outside of your community…effective, generous engagement on social media can attract new followers who appreciate your message and identify with your mission.” How then can we best measure our social media and digital reach?
Carolyn Clement is a volunteer with Trinity Church in Tariffville, Connecticut. Throughout the year she monitors the social media effectiveness of her church by taking a look at the social media metrics and analytics that can be found behind-the-scenes. A primary source of digital ministry for Trinity Church is their website.
“I personally check the Google Analytics for the website to see what seems to be working; what keywords are bringing people to the site, where the referral traffic is coming from, which pages are getting the most attention, etc. I use that to tweak content.”
Trinity Church also maintains a Pinterest page, Twitter account, Flickr account, YouTube channel, Vine, and a Foursquare listing. Of all the social media channels Trinity Church maintains, their Facebook page continues to be the biggest driver to their website and receives the most engagements, likely due to their faithful sharing of videos from Trinity’s music ministry which totaled 2594 views in 2015. Carolyn says,
“I look at Facebook insights to figure out what is working there so I can do more of that. I look at the time of day, what type of content works best, etc.”
Carolyn’s information gathered from social media metrics and analytics is included in Trinity Church’s Annual Report, including specific social media goals for the next year such as training and expansion. Worth noting is their continuation of Social Media Sunday which began at Trinity Church Tariffville in 2013 and went global for the Episcopal Church in 2014. In 2015, Social Media Sunday was an ecumenical event held on October 25 with millions of digital impressions made, including the trending topic on Twitter of #SMS15.
“There is no denying that social media and digital ministry is just that: ministry. It can connect, invite, welcome, and inform like nothing else, and is part of what connects our Trinity family to each other and to our community.”
Trinity Church grasps the understanding that maximizing the use of social media metrics and analytics begins with focusing on the online avenues that you interact with most. If your largest audience is on Facebook, then centre most of your efforts and analytic reviewing there. Tiffany DeLuccia, Director of Marketing & Communications for The Unstuck Group adds, “Keep an eye on what you publish and how it’s received. Don’t just publish a tweet and assume it connected with your congregation. Most all social media platforms provide you with basic analytics to help you figure out what people like, what they read, what they shared with their friends, etc. That’s vital input! Unlike your (church) bulletin, these tools give you feedback you can use to adjust your strategies.”
Lessons for Others
Churches that utilize Facebook Insights and/or the analytics provided by Google, Twitter and Pinterest can gain valuable insight into how its social media ministry is functioning, connecting and contributing to ministry mission. Investing time into monitoring social media metrics and analytics can be the key to shaping how your church is portrayed and perceived online. Ben Stroup of ChurchExecutive.com says,
”There are some excellent analytics tools that will help you chart your progress. Of course, the ultimate measure of engagement comes through how your investment in the digital space is creating interpersonal, offline relationships through the trust building that takes place when you accurately employ a content strategy. People are checking out your church on Twitter, Facebook and the Web way before they visit your church.”
Utilizing the information found through social media metrics and analytics could enable greater opportunity for connection as the newest entry point for many into your church setting. Church leaders who internally share these measurements might also find greater buy-in to social media as an effective form of ministry from their church as a whole.
Trinity Church Tariffville
Industry: Religious Organization
Name of Organization Contact: Carolyn Clement
Authored by: Tammy Sabourin, student of University of Waterloo Social Media for Business Performance
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Clement, Carolyn. (January 2016). #TCTville Social & Digital Ministry Report for 2015. Retrieved from http://www.trinitytariffville.org/.
Stroup, Ben. (December 12, 2011). The 10 Commandments of Social Media. Retrieved from http://churchexecutive.com/archives/the-10-commandments-of-social-media.
DeLuccia, Tiffany. (November 11, 2015). Use This 10 Item Checklist to Make Social Media Work for Your Church. Retrieved from https://tonymorganlive.com/2015/11/11/social-media-checklist-for-churches-2016/.