I recently spent some time randomly looking through Twitter accounts from churches of all sizes. While some churches are rocking Twitter, others aren’t giving the best impression of who they are. If you’re committed to being on the blue bird network, here are some areas for you to consider.
- Complete or update your profile. There are four simple areas you can update: upload a profile picture, create a header image, fill out your bio and add your church’s web address. You can access all of this by clicking on the gear in the upper right corner, selecting “settings” and choosing “profile.” Even if you’ve added images in the past, it’s time to update. Twitter recently changed its layout. The large background image is gone. Now there’s a 1500px by 500px header image. Images uploaded in the past don’t automatically look nice in the new layout, so check out your profile and make changes. Resist just adding pictures of your building. Use this space to tell a story and show your church in action.
- Match the look and feel of your other communication pieces. Consistency is a big part of being a good communicator. The look and feel of your Twitter page should fit in with how you present your church on Facebook, your website and in person. I saw so many churches who were representing themselves well on their website, but when I clicked over to their Twitter page, it was a complete disconnect. As a visitor, this creates some questions in my mind of what the church might actually be like.
- End Facebook automation. There are few frustrations worse than seeing a tweet that’s automated from Facebook. Often it’s chopped off because it’s more than 140 characters. At times it uses Facebook specific language. It just doesn’t work. Most likely your Twitter audience is different from your Facebook crowd. Their expectations are different, too. They can tell if you’re committed to Twitter or if it’s an afterthought. You might be sharing the same information across different platforms, but the message needs to be uniquely crafted for each audience.
- Vary your posts. There are different ways to tell your story. Sometimes it is a link. Other times it’s an image. Maybe it’s just an inspirational quote or Bible passage. Don’t limit yourself in how you communicate to your congregation and community. Pictures are increasingly important as the visual web continues to grow, so think about how you can say more with fewer words, which is a great Twitter skill to have.
- Share others’ content and engage. Twitter is social. Share tweets or links from other organizations or people that your followers will find useful. Think of yourself as a content curator. You’re finding the best stuff on Twitter, including your own content, and are sharing it with your community. If someone mentions you, shares your stuff or asks a question, make sure you’re interacting with them. Your Twitter account should reflect the fact there are real people running it.
- Delete your account. Obviously, this doesn’t include everyone, but if you can’t commit to doing Twitter well then maybe you shouldn’t do it at all. A poorly run account is often worse than not having one at all. Twitter isn’t for everyone and doesn’t make sense for every church. Always analyze what the best tool is for you to communicate effectively. If Twitter isn’t it, that’s ok.