Social Media and Youth Ministry


What’s up everyone! Been awhile! My last semester in college has been a tough one and I’ve been contributing over at Ministryplace.net so I haven’t been fresh on ideas. Today we are traveling to Paoli Peaks IN for our annual Winter Blast snow tubing trip. Something stuck out at me on the way, it took me five minutes to update all of our youth ministry social media outlets!

Now five minutes isn’t a really long time but it got me to thinking about social media and youth ministry. Obviously we want to reach students where they re right? But what is your youth ministry social media strategy?

There are two schools of thought on this.

1: Focus on one particular social media outlet.

The pro’s to this concept are simplicity and quality. It simplifies matters when you can say, our preferred method of social media is (insert name here). If you want to stay up to date on our happenings check here. Simple! You only have one social media site to update and keep current.

The other pro is quality. If you only have to focus on the one outlet you can become VERY proficient at the use of that outlet. You will understand it better and know what it takes to make a good post. You will better understand how that platform operates and how to use that platform to reach students.

2: Have a presence on multiple social media outlets.
This is the option we use. We have a presence on the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). While I am very familiar with all three, I would not say I’m an expert on any given one. Quite often as well my posts don’t have the reach or affect that I would like. The pros, however, are you can reach a broader base of students and it leaves no excuses.

On this trip we are taking 5 students. Just out of these five there are all three social media outlets. Two prefer Facebook, in fact one just got a Facebook account last month. Two prefer Instagram and one prefers Twitter. By being on all three I can reach students no matter what outlet they prefer.it takes a balance, you have to devote equal time to all outlets but your reach is broadened.

It also leaves no excuses, students can’t say well I didn’t know about ‘A’ because I’m not on Facebook. If you can reach them where they are they cannot say you didn’t try.

Want some social media tips for youth ministry?
1: Make your informational posts short. Think Tweet size, students are used to reading and retaining 140 characters or less.
2: Have separate accounts for parents and students. You can keep parents in the know easier if you reach them where they are, typically one outlet back from the students.
3: Monitor your students social media but do not confront them online. Did they post something they shouldn’t have? Confront them privately about it, don’t have it out in the comments section. Think of it as a privilege that they are allowing you in to that aspect of their life.
4: Use pictures! Want to get a teens attention, studies show teens pay more attention to posts when there is an attached picture or video.
5: Promote promote promote. They have to know you have a page or they won’t follow you.

Until next time!

Just Keep Swimming!

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Bio: Kevin Patterson is currently serving as Minister to Students at Spring Bayou Baptist Church in Kevil, Kentucky. He currently attends Truett-McConnell College online and holds a certificate in youth ministry from YouthSphere. He is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and has been doing youth ministry for over 5 years. In addition to youth ministry, he works full time as a store manager and is a US Army combat veteran. In addition to MinistryPlace.net, you can read more from Kevin at his blog, www.lifeintheymfishbowl.blogspot.com.

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