The perception of an organization’s integrity and the social media content of its representatives is closer tied today than ever before. Ministries have seen amazing growth and benefits of using social networking sites. These platforms can be tailored to specific interests or users to promote your organization. Examples include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Vimeo, or Instagram to name a few.
Every church now has access to a live stream direct to a global audience to share the gospel, invite guests, and connect with others no matter how large or small their resources are. This amazing benefit has been front and center throughout the pandemic. Many churches have extended their reach, enhanced their giving, and developed new connections through the necessity of utilizing the technology available as traditional avenues of church service have been difficult to implement.
The enhanced presence creates more opportunities to make a positive splash for the Kingdom. However, every splash in the water does create a ripple, and that ripple can quickly go viral. A viral impact can be a gift, or it can be a wrecking ball. Not only is this pressure present on the business accounts, but it is also present on personal profiles of church leadership, staff, and volunteers. As a leader in ministry today, it is important to ask what the purpose of your individual and corporate profiles are. Your LinkedIn account may differ from your Instagram account. Your Twitter influence may differ from your Facebook influence. Who you follow, what you share, what you repost, what you post, and what you comment on, all have an impact on your personal reputation and your ministry’s.
I had a fellow pastor once tell me, “If I need to provide an explanation for what I post, I probably shouldn’t post it.” That has always stuck with me. When I communicate on social media for our church or my personal profile, my goal is to honor God first. The next goal is to honor my family and finally honor the organizations I represent. We have also seen, even with that thought in mind, a Christian can still face persecution and conflict. The recent suspension of Focus on the Family’s Twitter account is a shocking example of new risks ministries are facing on the frontline of social networking. We can no longer overlook the need to streamline the purpose and use of social networking.
That is why training, awareness, and usage of a social media policy and procedure guideline is a vital step for ministries to take today. What are the goals of social media policy and procedure guidelines?
- To guarantee a constructive relationship between the ministry and its employees, leaders, and volunteers.
- To manage risk and preserve the ministry’s positive reputation.
- To discourage the use of ministry time for personal social media activities.
- To promote awareness among employees of the number of individuals who can access information presented on social networking sites.
The purpose of the steps outlined is to protect your organization’s brand and prevent the disclosure of confidential information. The intent of a social media policy is not to interfere with a ministry representative’s legal rights, but to bring awareness to the impact of social media usage. To learn more about the first steps of designing a social media policy and procedure guideline, please contact us at the Hummel Group by calling 800-860-1060 or contact Luke Gibson here.
Contributed by Luke Gibson, Business Risk Advisor, Churches and Non-Profits