A parish social media presence can help to keep the life of the parish in the minds of active parishioners, serve as a non-confrontational communication link to parishioners in a state of post-Covid dormancy, build awareness of Orthodox Christianity and present a warm welcome to your parish to those seeking a new church home.
Since we’ve noticed many parishes in the early stages of social media presence, we polled our crack team of Parish Pulse advisors to share a few tips and insights. One consistent input is that social media does not work ‘parish engagement’ miracles. “It’s not a panacea”, said one advisor. Nonetheless they all agree a social media effort should be part of a planned effort to improve parish external and internal communication.
Start with One
The first recommendation is that while there are many social media platforms – Instagram, Twitter etc. -- pick one to start out. Facebook is probably most familiar to your communications team (or you... if you're the team!) and despite competitive headwinds still has almost 2x the number of users vs Instagram. And, despite opinions to the contrary, not all Facebook users are senior citizens!
FB is a reasonable place to start. Once mastered determine how to best use a spectrum of platforms.
Even when parishes work hard at good communication - someone can find a reason to complain. "I wasn't informed!" "When did that happen?" Nonetheless we've also noticed that when parishes do work hard at communication, particularly harnessing the rapid delivery and low cost of email or other electronic channels, many people notice and appreciate it. The benefits:
- A sense of energy is conveyed.
- The church feels less fossilized. Particularly to teens, 20 somethings -- and older.
Improving Your Parish Website
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Toward Better Parish Websites
Improving Parish Bulletin Content
Improving the Parish Bulletin Formatting
A professional attractive bulletin delivers – both to the parishioner and to the first time visitor -- a sense that all in this parish is in good order. See article
Parish Bulletins Revisited - Reflection from a Retired Priest
A bishop, much loved by me, once told me "Father__ , do something about your bulletins. They're boring!"
Thus motivated I tried to make improvements, and, frankly I was not always successful. read more...
In various articles about parish websites we stress the need to include photos --good photos -- of your parish on the site to bring it alive.
But how to do that? Not every parish has access to a professional photographer. Can an untrained parishioner truly capture your parish and bring it to life? We asked professional photographer Matushka Ksenia Bruner of Eighth Day Photography to share some tips of the trade...
Taking Parish Photos
Before ever snapping the shutter, I think every person with a camera needs to ask themselves one question: “What is my goal with these photographs?” In my photography business, I am hired to tell a story. Generally, I am hired to tell the story of a wedding, but I also tell stories of ordinations, baptisms, liturgies, hierarchical visits, and any other event where the memories will be captured on disc. The end goal of great photographs is to tell the story of the event that is being captured.