Your first month of managing your church’s social media can be a stressful one. You want to have immediate wins and show your church the importance of social media. Yet, it can all seem overwhelming.

So where do you start? Do you start publishing content? Do you set a Hootsuite account? The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you should during your first month. I know because I was in that same position a few years ago.

I had to determine when to start publishing content and what channels to focus on. I figured it out, but only after I made few mistakes.

If you’re just starting out, here five key things you need to focus on during your first month. Doing these key things will set you up for up for success in the months ahead.

Change the passwords on your social media accounts.

Security. Security. Security. I can’t say it enough. The first thing you need to do is change the passwords. Don’t assume the person who ran the accounts before you had a good password system.

One of the best ways to change your passwords is to use a tool like LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane. These tools will help you create strong passwords for each of your accounts. Also, Lastpass’s team function allows you to share passwords with your teammates.

Also, deactivate any third party apps (Hootsuite) that have access to your accounts. Then one by one, reactivate them as you see fit. This helps avoid any of the previous account holders still having access your accounts.

Do a brand audit.

The goal of a brand audit is to make sure that all social media accounts are consistent. Here’s what we’re looking for:

Are all the profile images the same and the correct size? Make sure that you’re using the same logo on each account. Also, make sure that it’s in the correct format for each account.

Are the header images the same on Facebook and Twitter? Just like profiles images, we’re looking for consistency across the board from all channels.

What’s the tone of the social media messages? Fun? Upbeat? Reverent? Try to determine if they’re a consistent voice and tone with your messages. If it’s not consistent, begin the process of determining your voice.

What’s the posting schedule like? Are you consistent with putting content out on all channels? Are any channels dormant and in need of some attention? Do you need to consider shutting down some Facebook Pages or Twitter accounts?

Consider starting a social media calendar. You should start off by planning the first thirty days and no further. Don’t cement anything yet. Wait until you have an established strategy.

Do an audience audit.

In my first month, I made the assumption that most of my church members shared my tastes and interests. This led me to believe that everyone loved Twitter as much as I did. Well, I was wrong.

After doing some research I realized that our church members didn’t use Twitter. Instead, they were heavy users of Facebook.

Spend time studying your audience. One easy way to do this is to look at Facebook audience insights. This will give you a breakdown of where audience when it comes to age and gender. Then spend time looking at what your audience shares on their own personal timelines. This can give you a good sense of where your audience is.

Set soft goals to test theories.

Remember the move Jurassic Park? There’s a scene where the raptor was “testing” the fence to see the weaknesses. The raptor was trying to figure out what worked and what wasn’t working.

Do the same thing with your social media. Your first few weeks on the job you’ll have a lot of grace. Use it to experiment and try some new things to see how-how they play with your audience.

If you’re trying to figure what you should experiment the with, try Facebook Live. Live video gives you an opportunity to get real-time feedback from your audience. It also may reveal who you’re church’s biggest advocates are. These are the people that you want to have bought into your church’s social media.

Talk to your pastor about the church’s goals.

Your pastor or church leadership have goals. They may not public goals, but they know what success looks like. It may attendance numbers, a new building, or raising money. Take some time to figure out their goals are.

Once you have their goals, plot out how your social media will align with your church’s goals. This will help you and your pastor gets on the same page.

Conclusion

One last thing to remember during your first month, give youself some grace. You’re going to make mistakes. Anyone who’s ever managed social media has made mistakes big and small. If you focus on the right things in the first month, you’ll set yourself up for success in the months ahead.

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