One of the first things that every church leader should know before thinking of building a church’s online reputation is that every organization is unique. Each church has its unique personality and core values, even though their missions and visions are the same. So keep this in mind as you decide on the strategy to adopt.
Your online reputation determines how people perceive your church when they come across your website, social media pages, live streams, or posts. Thanks to the internet, people can have access to information about the church with the click of a button. This is why churches should leverage the online space to reach more people as well as make it easy for them to choose to attend a service.
Building your church’s online reputation isn’t just something to rush into. You want to ensure you make an excellent and reputable first impression, as well as maintain that impression in the longterm. This is why you need to have a strategy before you launch out. In building a good reputation for your online church, brand identity should be given first priority to represent the church effectively.
What is Brand Identity?
Brand Identity refers to how you choose to portray your brand or organization to your customer or audience. It includes the physical elements of a brand such as a logo or a watermark, key brand colors, style guide, typographic treatments, consistent style of image and content, etc.
Basically, your church’s brand identity is the perception the general public and members have when they come in contact with your church. It is what members of your church, would-be members, and the public can see and experience. With a strong brand identity, you set yourself apart in a crowded online space.
That being said, when trying to build your church’s online reputation, there are two major platforms to take into consideration.
Build a website
One of the core purposes of having a website as a church is to keep your congregation engaged and active wherever they find themselves. That is, they don’t have to be in church physically to have access to detailed information about the services and programs coming up or going on.
A website is an important tool in building your church’s online reputation and can welcome potential new members to your congregation and ministry. This is a more modern way to evangelize even without meeting with people physically. Your website and content (text, video, audio media) will and should do the talking.
Within your website, make sure to include an ‘About Us’ page or video that showcases your beliefs, values, team or staff pictures, and church leaders. Basically, your website should tell people who you are as well as where they can find you. Try to use videos to capture and present your church culture, activities, and programs.
When building your website, consider creating a homepage that is warm and welcoming and sends out a message of hope and community. On your website, you can also extend open arms to guests seeking spiritual guidance for one reason or the other.
Building your church’s online reputation cannot be done without a website. The church website should also provide links to social media platforms, spiritual content, podcasts, and recorded sermons. Millions of Christians and prospective church members want to listen to sermons via podcasts or videos on their phones and personal computers. This is why you shouldn’t delay building an ideal website any further.
The various social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and beyond, are definitely great platforms to utilize when building your online reputation in the digital space.
Having an active social media presence will help to draw in new members into the church. Your church can encourage, train, and build a solid relationship with Christians in different parts of the world. In fact, with social media, there is virtually no excuse not to reach more people.
Another good reason why being on various social media platforms is a great way to build your church’s online reputation is that it is cost-effective. The church doesn’t have to break the bank to preach to more people or large and expensive summits. Taking advantage of social media for your ministry simply makes sense.
However, as mentioned easier, before you delve into the online space, you need an online strategy to guide you. Here are a few details that will help:
Decide on the social media platform(s) that best suits your church
You need to understand that being unique is a strength. When choosing the right social media platforms, you should consider specific criteria of your church members, their age group, and other demographics.
For instance, you might find that many adults regularly use Facebook, while teenagers and youth spend more time on Instagram or Snapchat. If you are pastoring a younger congregation or youth church, you might want to stick to Instagram, for instance. The idea is to set yourself up for success on any social media platform you choose when building your church’s online reputation.
Reach out to social media enthusiasts and influencers in your church
Surprisingly, you might have a lot of social media experts and bloggers in your church without knowing it. You can make an announcement on a service day for people who want to join the social media or online team of the church. Remember that having a good online reputation requires teamwork, and that is why you need a team of dedicated people.
Alternatively, you can hire a social media manager or content marketing expert to join the church staff and take care of the church’s website, content, engagement, and social media accounts.
Nothing can take the place of consistency in developing your church’s online reputation. Consistency in your messaging through videos, sermons, sermon notes, quality images, and photos is key. As you create a consistent rhythm, people will begin to associate and engage with your church. Make sure that you are always putting out quality content that resonates with your audience.