Social Media Tips and Tricks for Youth Workers
Social media can be a daunting and challenging front if you’ve never used it personally. If you’re new to this world, you may be hearing students talk about “DMs,” being “Tick-Tock-famous,” “Instagram stories,” “Snapchat,”and you may be feeling a little in the dark. Maybe you are a seasoned-vet in the realm of social media and have racked up an impressive following on your personal account, but you feel unsure of how to transfer that success to your ministry. If you’re in Camp A, Camp B or even Camp C, my hope is that these simple tweaks will make as big of a difference in your ministry as they have mine!
Two comments before we get started. First, good social media doesn’t replace the Gospel! But, it does help it reach more people. Second, while there are dozens of social media options for you to get creative with, I will be focussing on how our ministry is using Instagram effectively, yet simply.
How do you know if you’re successful? Do you count “likes” or “comments,” or are there other metrics that are more valuable? Obviously it’s option 2, but option 2 can’t be viewed by everyone. You need to turn your Youth Ministry Instagram account into a business account… for free. This easy switch gives you instant access to tons of information about your account and who is viewing your content. But not all metrics are made equal. Here are the 3 that are crucial to your success:
Reach: This is the # of unique visitors that saw your post or story. Here’s my bold goal: 120% of my followers view our content. This means that your content is viewed by all of your students/parents AND ALSO 20% of your group’s friends/neighbours.
Impressions: This is the # of times your content could have been seen by people. For example, if your “impressions” is at 2,000, that means 2,000 people in your community have the ability to find your content.
Interactions: This is the money maker. This is the # of times a person looks at your profile, goes to your website, finds your email or get’s directions to your church. This is where the rubber hits the road.
So how do you grow your metrics? It’s very simple. One, make content that people in your community are interested in. Two, frequency.
Here’s a classic example of growth potential. Our Youth Group is 50 students & we have 250 followers on Instagram. Initially, I was just posting on Instagram when I thought of it or when I needed to advertise an event. Our weekly interactions were: 25 users. After creating a simple, regimented schedule, we average 85 users each week. Simple changes creating amazing results! Here’s our schedule:
- Monday: Post a picture of PEOPLE at Youth as a reminder that Youth is on Wednesday.
- Tuesday: Post a Story of the same picture posted Monday.
- Wednesday: Use Instagram stories during Youth
- Thursday: Post a picture of PEOPLE at Youth.
- Friday: Post an event advertisement or other information message.
- Saturday/Sunday: Use stories and posts during weekend retreats.
That’s it! You don’t need to spend hours on this! Set your schedule, be consistent & good things will happen. I’m sure there are hundreds of schedules out there, but for our group and our community, this one works well.
Understanding what metrics are important & setting a schedule are great things; but, they can only do so much if your content is bad. Let me start by admitting that when I started in Youth Ministry my content was BAD! It looked awful & no one was interested in it. Here’s what I’ve learned over time.
People love to see PEOPLE
Did you notice how many days of the week are pictures of people?
Announcements, posters & other information posts are helpful, but they aren’t engaging or memorable. These are the posts that students & their friends skip over. People get excited when they see other people’s lives. Use that! Here’s an example:
Don’t waste your limited time creating new content. Use templates!
Canva.com is a beautiful tool to use! I can create 12 weeks of Youth Reminder images in about 20 minutes because it does 90% of the work for me! The two images above took 5 minutes. Because I used TEMPLATES. Simply, take 12 high-quality pictures (on a phone or better yet a real camera), and find 12 templates that you like. What is more valuable for the kingdom? Amazing, handmade content or spending relationship-building time with your students?
Posts and Stories serve different purposes
Put simply, Posts are for showing your community who you are & Stories are a way to remind them. Our Posts are curated, meaning we have them scheduled & designed to fit our style. The beautiful thing about stories is that they can be far less planned. In fact, we simply give some of our students and leaders access to our page during Youth Night so that they can be creating stories for us. It’s a win-win. The students get to share what excites them & it’s one less thing that I need to worry about.
Finally, when in doubt, explore other ministry pages that are doing a great job & steal (I mean borrow) from them! I look forward to seeing your content!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.