Ministry Success on Social Media with Chris Martin
On February 24, we talked with Chris Martin, the Content Marketing Editor at Moody Publishers, on the Ministry At Scale Podcast. Chris gave us his best tips and tricks for ministries to make an impact with social media – plus his recipe for success on posts that work.
Making not-books out of books
Chris’ job at Moody Publishers is to “make not-books out of books.” Or, in other words, creating supporting resources to introduce people to the book and provide another avenue for ministry to happen. He has experience working with Vice Presidents at other ministries to help them manage their social media platforms to make the most impact.
From that experience, Chris told us, he saw how quickly a social media account can grow simply by staying dedicated to regular posts. He also discovered the two ends of the social media spectrum: posting way too often and not posting at all. He shared that the key to a healthy social media feed is right in the middle.
For one VP, Chris’ team would provide a list of blogs that they could see him writing. The VP then chose from this list and consistently posted 5 times a week. It took a couple of months, but this work led to a dramatic increase in the number of pageviews they got on social media. And all it took was 5 posts a week!
Pick your platform
For those of us with minimal social media experience, we asked Chris to give us insights into his best tips to succeed on social media, starting with “What social media platform do I use?”
To answer this question, Chris explained that you need to know your ministry audience and focus on the platform where they are most likely to be. He broke down each platform by their key audience so you don’t have to:
Facebook: Millennials and Baby Boomers. Chris called it the “platform of the people” and noted that it is currently the most stable, powerful social platform.
Instagram: Gen Z. The “Facebook for teenagers,” Instagram is female-dominated with a focus on aesthetics and beauty, making it a great place for women’s ministry.
Twitter: Academics and pastor-types. A platform dominated by more highly educated people having discussions about social issues and philosophy.
LinkedIn: Business people and older-Millennials. More male-dominated with a focus on networking.
TikTok: Young Gen Z. Focused on more visual and humorous content.
Chris also made the distinction between two kinds of social media platforms: social and performative. Social platforms include Facebook and Snapchat – focused on the interactions between people. Performative platforms include TikTok and Youtube – focused on the appearance and ‘performance’ of a person to their audience. Twitter and Instagram exist as hybrids of both social and performative, with a gray area, of course.
In the end, knowing your ministry’s purpose and audience will help you choose your social media platform – or platforms – to focus your energy on. Taking on too many platforms will lead to burnout, so Chris recommends choosing one or two.
Recipe for success
So where do you start once you pick a platform? To provide some guidance, Chris gave us his personal formula for growing awareness of your ministry on social media: share squares + valuable long-form content + small advertising budget.
Post a “share square” every day at midnight to reach people on both coasts. Chris defined a share square as an image with words over it (ex: picture of a sky with a Bible verse over it).
Regularly post long-form content like blog posts or videos (note: podcasts don’t usually perform well on social media)
Boost the best content every Friday for $125 each. Chris recommends reviewing the content posted over the last week and choosing the one that had the best performance. This strategy works no matter how much money you can give to the boost – even $5 makes a difference. He also recommends boosting it to different audiences that may not know you yet.
All in all, Chris left us with this bit of wisdom to summarize how ministries can succeed on social: “Understand your audience. Understand their needs. Understand your gifts.”
As always, we asked Chris for books he’s recently read that he recommends for our listeners and he gave us two:
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman – Chris’ favorite book ever, written in 1985 but still relevant to how social media is affecting our society.
Lurking by Joanne McNeil – A book about the development of the social internet and how people are really what makes the internet special.
To learn more about Chris Martin and his work at Moody Publishers, check out his Twitter account @christmartin17 and sign up for his newsletter, “Terms of Service" (listed in his bio).