Social media can be an enormous asset to your ministry! You’ve seen other areas of Young Life thrive on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and you’ve decided it’s time for you to follow suit. Social media is a huge opportunity for building community digitally, but it’s also a territory that can be very overwhelming. Because we know you’re eager to jump in and spreading the word about your ministry, here are our top five ways to FAIL on social media when you start firing off posts (DON’T DO THESE THINGS).


Don’t Start Something You Can’t Maintain

  • Don’t forget about your accounts or your audience! Establishing a pattern of consistency is key to keeping that audience and community engaged.

  • Don’t spread yourself too thin by creating a page or account you don’t plan on using.

  • Social media marketing done right can be very powerful for building a community and connecting people in your ministry. Depending on the size of your ministry, you may actually need several people dedicated to keeping your social media presence fresh and engaging.


Don’t be Overbearing, but Don’t be Absent Either

  • Be smart about how often you post, and find the sweet spot for your ministry. If you have enough good content, try posting once a day. Otherwise 3-4 times a week should keep your audience engaged.

  • Depending on the type of ministry you’re representing, social media can be a great way for kids and parents to stay engaged. Make sure you keep up with both messages and responses.

  • Keep your social media efforts natural and authentic. Your online presence should be an accurate extension of your real-life ministry. Think photos vs. flyers (promotions).


Don’t Have a Bad Design

  • Create a plan for how you want your account to look as a whole, and make sure it makes a great first impression! Today your social media presence can directly affect how people view your ministry (sad, but true).

  • For Instagram in particular, remember that your last 6-9 posts give a user their first impression, so try and keep your posts cohesive. If the goal of your social media efforts is to foster community, you want the visitor who lands on your page to want to be a part of that community.

  • Use a Young Life logo as the profile photo! For logo help, see here.


Don’t Post Things You Shouldn’t

  • Don’t post confidential or personal information about kids.

  • Consult parents for permission whenever possible.

  • It’s not a good idea to post personal opinions on a Young Life area or club account, especially political opinions. These can be divisive, and it’s just not worth the battle (at least not on a digital/public forum). Be smart about what you share on your personal accounts as well, as you are an extension of your area’s/ministry’s account.

  • You’re speaking and posting on behalf of your ministry as a whole.

  • Avoid using the first person, “I” when posting.


Don’t forget to have a plan

When it comes to your personal social media accounts, you’re totally free to “wing it.” But when it comes to marketing your ministry or organization, you need to have a plan. Developing a clear direction and sticking to your goals will greatly improve the effectiveness of your efforts.

Social media can be a powerful and integral part of your ministry strategy. It’s a great way to develop a community and spread the word about events, dates, and announcements. Our hope is to provide you with tips and tricks to use in your ministry and find new innovative ways to reach young people around the world!

Written by: Blake Anderson (banderson@sc.younglife.org)