Free Social Media Tools You’ll Love
Social media can be a great tool for your church. From announcing a new sermon series to inviting your community to participate in a special event, social media can help you reach people who may not seek out your church otherwise. I’ve mentioned a few potential pitfalls you’ll want to avoid when using social media. However, once you decide to dive-in you’ll want to check out these tools to help you get started at a budget-friendly price (free!):
Scheduling posts: Buffer
I’ve become a fan of batch processing my work. Instead of trying to maintain a steady stream of tweets, posts, and pins, I schedule those to run throughout the week. I can block out 15-20 minutes and schedule posts to share articles I think folks will benefit from or promote my own blog posts. This way you can be consistent on social media without having to be on it 24/7.
Buffer is free to use for one profile for each social account such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. There’s also a limit to the number of posts you can schedule for each profile at a time. For more flexibility, you’d pay a monthly fee.
Images catch your eye more than text, right? If you want to help potential guests see what a service is like at your church, post a picture from Sunday morning service. To draw attention to the upcoming baptism service or youth event, share pictures from previous moments.
Since my writing is focused on the administrative side of church, there aren’t too many exciting pictures of that work (hey, it’s important stuff – just not conducive to cool action shots). That’s why I usually start with a picture I purchase from LightStock. From there, I go to Canva where I add text or other fun graphics to the picture. That’s how I create the pictures you see at the top of each blog post. I am definitely not a graphic designer and Canva is pretty easy to use. It’s also free for most backgrounds and formats.
Articles / Posts to share: Feedly
I follow about 100 blogs/websites looking for great content to share with church leaders. Remembering all those URLs isn’t going to happen, which is where Feedly comes in. I can enter the URL of a site I want to follow and Feedly displays the latest posts on that page in my feed. From there, I can use Buffer to schedule a tweet or post or share it right away. It’s a great way to scan through hundreds of articles in a short amount of time.
To make sure your church’s emails aren’t flagged as spam, you need to use an email service provider. There are several great options out there, but the one I currently use is MailChimp. It’s free to use to send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers and it’s pretty simple to use. They even have several how-to articles and videos to help you get started.
Another cool feature is seeing what percentage of people are opening each email, what links they’re clicking on, and more. You can totally geek out on the analytics and use that information to see which emails are working best so you can make future messages even better.
Capturing ideas: Evernote
Evernote is a tool you can use online or as an app on your mobile devices. It syncs via the cloud, so you can create a note on your phone and then add to it from your laptop. I don’t use Evernote to it’s full capacity (for more information, check out Michael Hyatt’s Evernote posts), but it is helpful for capturing ideas and notes.
Evernote is great for capturing a list of events you need to write Facebook posts to promote, favorite verses or great quotes to share on Twitter, and more. Similar to the other tools I’ve mentioned, the entry-level Evernote plan is free to use.
What tools does your church team use for social media?