Below you’ll find the show notes for episode 60, How to Use Facebook and Instagram to Build Community and Encourage Spiritual Growth Between Women’s Ministry Meetings, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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How to Use Facebook and Instagram to Build Community and Encourage Spiritual Growth Between Women’s Ministry Meetings
Today we’re getting super practical! I’ll be sharing my process for using a closed Facebook group and Instagram for women’s ministry.
I was invited to join our church’s women’s ministry team during covid. We were looking for ways to connect with our women. While there was a closed Facebook group already in place, we made some purposeful changes and created a strategy for using it going forward.
The first thing we did was decide what the purpose of our Facebook group would be.
Here’s what you can find in our Facebook group’s description:
This group has been created by [our church name] Women’s Ministry Team.
Women who are active attendees of [our church name] are invited to join.
The purpose of this group is to:
- Promote the events and activities of [our ministry name]
- Support the mission, purpose, and vision of [our church name]
- Create a space for conversation and connection when we are unable to meet together
- Promote community
- Encourage spiritual growth
Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Members are expected to follow the group guidelines that have been put in place.
(Note: All of the above is written in our Facebook group description.)
We utilize the membership questions to screen people who want to join the group.
We ask just two questions:
- What is your connection with [our church name]?
- Will you abide by the group rules?
Facebook provides a sample of rules for your group to get you started.
Our group rules include:
- Be kind and respectful
- Respect everyone’s privacy (no screenshots, no sharing information without permission)
- No promotions or spam (we clarify that this includes jewelry parties and posting about your business)
- No unsolicited direct messages via Messenger
- No videos, lives, or watch parties
- We reserve the right to delete posts
Membership questions and group rules help protect our group from spammers, but that doesn’t mean every woman that joins your Facebook group will remember to follow the rules. Mistakes happen and we want to show grace when we can, but we also need to enforce the guidelines we’ve put in place.
Decide in advance how you’ll deal with infractions. Facebook makes it easy to delete posts and remind people of the rule they violated. It’s always best to include a personal message that is seasoned heavily with grace. People can get very upset when their post is removed, even if you think it’s clearly covered in the group rules. If that happens, you may decide it’s best to put that specific member on moderation so each of their posts must be approved. We do not have post-approval set for every post, but I would use it for individual people if the need arose.
Moderators can be great for helping to moderate the posts. The admins (myself and our women’s ministry director) are responsible for approving new members and monitoring posts.
I serve as our social media coordinator, though, I don’t know if the title is in writing anywhere.
I schedule about 3 posts every week to encourage conversation, connection, and spiritual growth.
What to post:
As I mentioned in the last podcast episode, I primarily use a mix of spiritual icebreaker questions, Bible verses, general icebreaker questions, and inspirational quotes.
- What did you learn from this week’s sermon?
- A bible verse related to our ministry focus or the current sermon series
- What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
When we are intentional about what we post, we can encourage spiritual disciplines like prayer, regularly engaging with God’s Word, fasting, and serving others. We’ve done a scripture memory challenge and another month we did a scripture reading challenge. I shared some Random Acts of Kindness at Christmas and got feedback from our women that they’d like to do more of that.
Thoughts on inspirational quotes:
I developed a rule for my Women’s Ministry Toolbox social media channels that I refer to as “I only quote dead people.” Between Christian leaders, speakers, and authors deconstructing and changing their views on biblical issues, I decided it was best to quote people whose views can’t change.
I typically pull quotes from well-known biblical scholars and founders of the faith. I try to select people that most would categorize as conservative or holding a historical, biblical worldview. I’m not trying to stir the pot with controversial quotes and people. I want to cultivate unity not sow division. Your pastor may be able to provide a list of sound men and women that you can quote.
Any person you quote, whether you intend to or not, you are placing a seal of approval on them. Your women might purchase any book they’ve written. Your women will assume that person is solid and can be trusted – so make certain they are. Dig beyond “they call themselves a Christian”.
If you get pushback, please don’t dismiss it. It is not easy to approach a leader with a concern about a person or resource they have shared. Hear them out. Find out what their concerns are and do some research.
I rarely share posts I’ve found on Facebook in our Facebook group or our Instagram stories. Many of them fall in line with my only quoting dead people rule, but I’ve also found a lot of “Christians” share things that aren’t biblical – whether it’s the source, the person, or the content that’s an issue.
I strongly encourage you to search before you share.
Is that quote from that person? Who is that person? What does that person believe? What book is that from? Is that a book that aligns with what our church teaches?
I don’t often post about current events, it’s not the purpose of either of our social media accounts.
While I certainly hope our women will pray for people suffering from the latest hurricane, war, shooting, or crisis, you can’t cover it all. We often don’t know for days or weeks what actually happened. Fake news is everywhere and it’s hard to know what’s true or what information isn’t being reported. When it comes to current events, please pause and pray before you post.
How to create posts:
If I’m not sharing other people’s posts, then I’ve got to create my own.
I use Canva to create my graphics.
I typically use square (1080 x1080 px), but you can also use 1080 x 1350 – you want to take up as much space on their phone as you can – so if you don’t go square, go vertical. Unless you’re posting on YouTube or your church’s website, you’ll want any videos to be vertical too.
- Canva has default sizes you can use that make it easy.
- I prefer to download graphics in a PNG format as the text on a JPG sometimes blurs.
- You don’t have to create a graphic for every post, I just find they help grab the attention of our women as they scroll.
As I mentioned in a previous episode, your church may have a Canva account – ask if you can use it.
How to post:
I like to use the scheduling feature (inside Facebook) to load my Facebook posts once a month.
I tend to place the same type of post on the same day of the week. Currently, I’m posting M, W, and F but I have done Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Figure out a system that works for you.
While I create custom posts for our church, I rely heavily on the social media kits I’ve created and sell in the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Shop. Creating posts and coming up with content can be super time-consuming. Let me help!
Analytics and Algorithms (who sees what you post):
Not everyone is going to see every post. The algorithms on social media are not your friend.
When there’s an important post, I send a message to the rest of the women’s ministry team and ask them to comment and like it to boost the number of eyes that might see it.
Look at your analytics.
We have about 230 or so women in our Facebook group. On a typical post, only about 40 of them see it. That’s it. That’s one of the reasons I encourage leaders to use social media as a reminder, not the main communication method, for their ministry events and activities.
If you’re setting up new accounts, please make sure you give multiple people access – you don’t want to wake up one day and find out you’ve lost the ability to access your group. If it hasn’t happened yet, Instagram is working on allowing multiple people access to an account without having to share the password.
Facebook allows for multiple admins and moderators. Admins have access to more controls so pick those people wisely.
Our Instagram account is a work in progress. I’m still trying to figure out how to schedule posts.
Creating and sharing reels of our women’s ministry event has been fun to do and sharing our church’s posts in stories has been beneficial too.
We know we reach younger women through Instagram and it gives us a window into their lives when we follow them back.
Want to learn more?
If you want to take your social media skills to the next level, I’d start by following someone who teaches how to use the app you want to master. You may find it worth investing in an online class or two, but I find the really good teachers give away a ton of content for free. I’ve gotten a ton of information on video and Instagram from Virginia Kerr.
If you’re looking for ideas to get started, check out my free resource 50 Ministry-Minded Social Media Questions.
Today’s Toolbox Tasks:
- What changes do you need to make in how you run your ministry’s social media accounts?
- What new things will you post to encourage engagement?
That’s the nitty-gritty on what I post and how I post on social media.
We’ll wrap up this technology and social media with one more post! I’m pulling back the curtain again and sharing how I use social media to grow as a women’s ministry leader.
You may also want to read:
How to Use Social Media to Support the Mission of Your Women’s Ministry Program
Social Media Kits for Ministry
Tech Tools for Women’s Ministry
How to Use Social Media to Encourage Connection
8 Benefits of Adding a Social Media Coordinator to Your Team
Women’s Ministry Email List Service Options
How to Create a Women’s Ministry Social Media Plan
How to Schedule Social Media Posts
How to Create Social Media Graphics
How to Use Facebook Groups for Women’s Ministry