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In the age of blogospheres and social media, the avenues available to include people in a ministry have become more and more versatile.

In this modern age, one of the most versatile social media is Twitter. Combining the video and image sharing capabilities of Pinterest and YouTube, Twitter allows for short update posts similar to Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Furthermore, multiple people may communicate in real time across Twitter, similar to messaging services available throughout the Internet.

In fact, Twitter has become such a ubiquitous means of communication online, that most Christian and Biblical e-tools, such as online Bible software, have the option of sharing things through Twitter; and media sites across the web have the option of sharing articles on one’s Twitter feed.

For a church to use a Twitter account to maximum effect, the following procedures are advised.

Set up an Attractive Profile

When one follows the link to a user profile on Twitter, one catches an eyeful. They get to see a banner image, profile image, biographic information, website address, shared photos and videos and a list of friends and followers. A savvy designer may use these tools to create a brand and image for a church which is evident at a glance for people investigating that ministry.

It is important to set up the Profile on Twitter to match the look and feel of other online media your church utilizes. This creates a brand for your church which becomes recognizable over time.

When choosing a username for your Twitter account, it is best to use your church’s name, or the closest approximation which is available. Make the username recognizable and easy to type. Try not to use punctuations as part of the username.

For the profile image, it is best to use a logo associated with your church or ministry. A secondary option would be to post the picture of the head pastor or administrator for the ministry – however, in order to grow the brand of the church without turning it into a method of self promotion for any one individual, creating a logo image is preferable.

As regards the banner image, feel free to be creative. A panoramic image of the church’s congregation is popular. One could also use stylized wallpaper or inspirational imagery such as a canyon or an eagle flying – just make certain that whatever image your church uses for the banner is one you have permission to use. In other words, no stealing photos from online, unless they are public domain.

Add Easily Understood Information to Profile

After one inserts the images in the Twitter profile, the next steps involve inserting personal information about the organization. These include:

Location: Make certain that when you enter the ministry location, you enter it in easily understood directions which both locals and out-of-towners might be able to use.

Website: Add a URL which best exemplifies your ministry. This might be the church website, but it could also include a blog or another social media site with more information or updates about the church.

Bio: An effective bio is short and intriguing.  Avoid long mission statements or rambling history. To make a bio which grabs the reader, state the kind of ministry it is, the key identity or values of the ministry and what makes your church unique, limiting it to the 160 characters which Twitter provides.

Follow others

Twitter etiquette suggests anyone you follow to follow you back. To grow one’s audience, one must be willing to join in following. By connecting to other people and ministries which have similar interests and backgrounds as your church, you open your Twitter profile to see messages, photos and videos which are worth passing along (or “re-tweeting”) to your own followers.

There are a few things one must be careful about when following others. Firstly, Twitter gets suspicious if you start following profiles en masse, and might disconnect your profile if you seem like an organization created to infiltrate profiles. For this reason, it is important to take it slowly, especially at first.

Secondly, who you follow says a lot about your ministry. Be discerning, because on Twitter, you are judged by the company you keep.

If possible, follow the accounts of like-minded ministries and church members.

Post

Twitter accounts are like sharks: they have to keep moving in order to survive. This means that you should designate a person or group of people who are savvy communicators and able to keep on top of Twitter traffic. Join conversations with or about other ministries. Post updates about schedules and opportunities in your church. Post quotes from sermons, meetings and Bible studies. Post short scripture quotations. Join conversations with other ministries, and try to remain informed and profound. Remember, brevity is the soul of wit. Twitter only allows you 140 characters per tweet, so keep it short.

Promote

If you want to increase recognition for your Church, posts should regularly point back to your ministry. This includes links to your other social media, blog and website.  Quotes from speakers at your church which are profound or intriguing are another way to go.

The key is that your church use Twitter in association with any and everything it does. Need volunteers? Tweet about the opportunities. Live streaming a sermon? Tweet it out so that followers can tune in.

Many ministries and broadcasts will use Twitter as a format for Q&A. To do this, set up a live stream of the Q&A through something like Facebook or YouTube, and include a link to your Twitter feed. Have someone follow the Twitter feed to read questions which are tweeted in.

This same model may be utilized in any number of ministry and teaching events.

Twitter is a social media tornado full of bits and pieces, but for the right kind of person, it is a fun ride, and a continued presence on Twitter can help your church to become recognized and respected.

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