Social media use is consistently growing day to day, and many ministries have found the positive impact of using social media. It can be an excellent way to share inspiration, invite the local community to church programs, and share what your ministry is doing. But as you are sharing and having conversations online, it’s essential to protect the privacy of church members and ensure your ministry is seen as a positive and trusting place for all.
Access to Church Accounts
One of the first items to determine is who in your church will have administrative access to church social media accounts. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another social media network, it is important to determine who has access and to train them as well.
Just as it is important to keep track of who has keys to unlock the church, it is necessary to keep track of who has login access to church social media accounts. Limiting the number of people who have the login credentials will help maintain the security of the church social media accounts. The church social media manager should avoid sharing official login credentials with anyone other than pre-approved individuals.
Posting on Social Media
The church social media manager may already be a leader in another capacity, perhaps as the youth pastor or a worship leader. It is likely that they will use their own personal devices to post on church social media accounts and communicate with others on social media on behalf of the church. Before posting, commenting, or liking, first, make sure the church social media manager is logged into the correct account. It can be easy to make the mistake of posting something meant for the church Facebook on a personal Facebook account and vice versa. Double checking that the correct account is in use is an easy way to protect the image portrayed of your church online.
When the time comes to post, it is imperative to verify that every post, comment, and accompanying photo accurately represents the church. Be wary of using the church social media accounts to post personal opinions rather than promote the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. When using photos found online, make sure you have permission to share the image and provide credit or use high-quality photos that are designated free to use. If you are using images taken of church members, remember to respect their privacy and avoid posting any personal information. Avoid sharing photos of any minors.
Having a Safe Presence Online
Social media is an excellent tool that ministries can use to reach those within their local community and around the world. It is a way for the church to connect with others and allow the message of Jesus’ love to be distributed on a larger scale than would be possible without it. To accomplish this, we must always protect the privacy of our church members and safeguard the image portrayed of the church online.
Elizabeth Camps is a writer and public relations specialist for Adventist Risk Management