I know, I know. It’s not even Reformation Day and you’re supposed to think about Christmas? But once Thanksgiving and Advent arrive, you’re probably going to be far too busy to spend a lot of time managing quality daily, or even weekly, social media posting. Instead of relegating social media to one more burdensome chore on your long list of holiday tasks, prepare and schedule social media content now so you can make the most of people’s seasonal joy while not burning yourself out.
Choose Ideas for Daily Posts
A whole month of organized, daily posting can sound daunting. Having a theme or a challenge to guide your posts will help you manage daily content with ease. So what you can you post?
These challenges use a list of words, one for each day of Advent, to inspire people to post a photo related to that word. You can use a hashtag to help you and your followers track what has been posted. This article provides a thorough explanation of what these challenges look like, and how to both market and manage them. If you are interested in hosting one of these challenges for your church or school, start early to make it easier to prepare your list of prompts and any handouts or posts that will announce the challenge. Take some time to plan a few of your own photo contributions.
Pair up a picture and a Bible verse for each day of Advent. If your church has prepared a daily reading schedule for your members, you can use those verses to help you plan your graphics. To get you started, Concordia Technology Solutions offers 7 Shareable Christmas Graphics For Your Church, or you can use these from the Nebraska District.
Word or Writing Prompts
Similar to the photo-a-day or daily verse posts, daily word or writing prompts are meant to help elicit comments from your followers. Start with a sentence or two each day that reminds your followers that you want to hear what they have to say as your church family observes Advent. Use emotive words like peace, comfort, or homecoming to encourage people to share memories and stories about their childhood or family Christmas traditions. Ask them to tell you about a favorite Christmas ornament and why they like it (bonus points for a picture with their comment), or a moment they have felt joy while preparing for Christmas celebrations.
Make it Personal
Come up with a list of daily questions you can post that will focus on generating comments and shares. For example, post a good quality picture of your church’s nativity scene or advent wreath, and ask readers to respond with a picture of theirs. List the favorite Christmas songs or Advent verses of your church or school staff, then ask your followers to share their own in the comments. Consider setting up a simple photo booth in a fellowship area at your church for people to take fun photos, and have someone from your church ask if they can take a picture for the church account as well. (Be sure to get consent from parents before posting pictures of children!) Prominently display your church’s hashtag so people will remember to add it to their posts.
Consider asking pastors, DCEs, deaconesses and others to write up short readings that you can add to the mix during Advent. This could include a devotion that serves as a preview or review of Sunday readings, an explanation of the meanings of Christmas symbols and traditions, or a discussion of the various myths and mistaken focuses we often see at Christmas. Ask these people to start thinking and preparing well in advance so they are able to meet the deadlines you need.
Don’t Forget Pinterest
Pinterest users start pinning holiday content as early as fourth months before Christmas! Most of those pins are related to decorating and shopping, but inspirational pins are also heavily pinned items. If you’ve put time into making images with Bible verses on them, be sure to pin them to reach your church members and beyond. Pin family devotions, advent calendars, DIY crafts for kids, coloring pages, or anything else you think your church families might enjoy. Follow Concordia Publishing House’s Teaching the Faith at Home, Advent and Christmas, or Everyday Faith Pinterest boards for great ideas. Consider making some graphics that work well as wallpaper for various phone and computer sizes, or even small but high quality images that can work as Facebook profile pictures and offering them to your followers.
Be Ready to Respond
Holidays can be an especially challenging time for those who are lonely, grieving, or suffering from depression. Take notice of comments which indicate that someone is struggling, and then reach out to that person through a private message with an offer of prayer and counseling services. Arrange ahead of time which staff members or congregational leaders you will put people in contact with and how you will go about following up.
Schedule Your Posts
Afraid you might forget to post some of your daily content? Load your Facebook content in advance and choose when you want posts to appear. Just hover over the “publish” button until an arrow appears next to it. Then click the arrow, choose “schedule” and choose both the day and time you want your post to go live. Also, apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Hubspot let you post to several different accounts and will suggest the best times for your Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook posts to appear. You can read more about those apps here.
Remember Why You’re Doing This
Once you’ve got everything prepared and loaded for posting, you will be able to focus more of your attention on engaging with your followers and their comments instead of scrambling for what you need to post the next day. Maybe you’ll even have a little time to start thinking about what you’re going to post during Lent!
Most of all, remember that through our social posts, we have a chance to bear witness to the “good news of great joy” that we are blessed with. Your posts can be a blessing and encouragement to your followers, and can allow them to be salt and light to their friends and family as they share your content.
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