How your church can use Twitter more effectively8 Jan 2019 By James Atkinson
It’s fantastic to see so many churches using Twitter. We regularly see some creative and unique ways that churches use Twitter and the personalities of the churches often shine through. If your church has been using Twitter for a while now, but want to get even better at it, read on. You’ll find a few simple suggestions to create more engaging content and a more polished experience for your followers.
Make sure you look the part
Have you made sure that all of your Twitter profile is filled in? Read our checklist for setting up your Twitter account to make sure. Ensure people recognise you quickly in their feed by having a clear logo as a profile picture. If you don’t have one already, it’s easy to make one in Canva. For your cover picture (the large rectangle image across the top) choose a photo that best reflects your church as a group of people. Why not take a photo during a service or organise a group photo of your congregation?
Thread your tweets
It can be frustrating when you read a tweet that follows on or refers to a previous tweet, but you can’t find that first tweet in your feed. What Twitter allows you to do is ‘Thread’ your tweets, which links a group of tweets together to make it easier to read them all in one go. To do this, just send out your first tweet and then for your second tweet, reply to the first and so on. You can also use Twitter’s specific thread creation feature.
Limit your hashtag and @handle usage
It has been found that tweets with more than two hashtags are much less engaged with, so it’s important to not overfill your tweet with lots of hashtags. Think about what hashtags people might be looking for on Twitter and then pick the most relevant two. The same is the case for @handles. If you want your tweet to be seen by a large group of people, send out the same tweet directed at each of those accounts individually.
Landscape over portrait
Because of the way Twitter adds images to your tweets, more often than not, sections of the image can only be viewed when clicking on the image. You can’t always guarantee that people will always click on the image when the most important thing in your image is hidden from view. To avoid this as much as possible, choose landscape images over portrait images. To take this one step further, use a site like Canva to create images and graphics with the correct image dimensions for Twitter.
Unlink Facebook and Twitter
Although it might seem quicker and easier to cross post by linking up your accounts like this, it’s important that your content is specific to the social media channel you are posting to. Tweets pulled into Facebook or Facebook posts pulled into Twitter never look great and are therefore engaged with less.
Try to stick to 20 per cent broadcast tweets and 80 per cent conversational. By turning the majority of your posts into a question, you are encouraging engagement. For example: Our service this Sunday is at 10am is a broadcast tweet, while Our service this Sunday is at 10am, who’s coming along? Is conversational.
Twitter’s key feature is just how instant it is and it’s the reason why Twitter has stayed so popular. Major incidents around the world are often heard about through Twitter first. By making sure to tweet and post photos during church events, you’re encouraging your Twitter followers to feel like they are there in the moment with you. A day or even a few hours later can already feel too late.
Church of England Digital Communications Officer