I get asked frequently how and why I ended up doing social media for a career. The answer?
I was once in a situation much like you—trying to figure out how to build a social media plan for a youth ministry.
I learned quickly that maintaining a quality social media presence for a youth ministry is complicated and time consuming (at the very least).
But I also learned that the church can’t miss an opportunity to reach students in the place they spend most of their time.
The Biggest Shift In 500 Years
Social media is, undoubtedly, the language of the next generation. But somehow the Church seems to have missed class the day they taught this foreign language. Brady Shearer even suggests that we’re in the biggest shift in communication for the church in the past 500 years.
Combine that weighty truth with the ever-changing platforms and features of social media, and it’s enough to make anyone throw in the towel.
So what if there was a way to make planning your youth ministry’s weekly social media content simple?
What if instead of getting sucked under the waves of new trends, you see could new trends coming and prepare for them?
Social media is complex and always changing, but with one simple approach you can give yourself a solid strategy and direction every time you sit down to plan.
Think in Buckets
👉 Before you get started, feel free to click here and download the planning worksheet to guide you through making your plan.
Whenever I am helping someone come up with a social media plan for their environment or brand, I always start by asking them what their customers or attendees experience in-person.
Usually, when it’s a student ministry, I’ll hear something like this:
- Small groups
Stop right now and make a list of the top five things you want your students to experience when they interact with your youth ministry in-person. (Or feel free to steal the ones above!)
Now, write the word “buckets” above those five. Your social media should be an extension of what students experience within your walls. Now you’ve identified the five things, you have a direction to go with planning social media. Across the top of your page, write out Sunday through Thursday for the five best days to be posting. Students usually find themselves busy on the weekend, which results in low engagement. To make the best use of your time and energy, I always recommend a Sunday through Thursday schedule.
If you made it your goal to post five times a week (which is a great goal to have!), you now have five content buckets to pull from. Now your goal is to once-a-week create a piece of content that goes into that bucket.
If you want a visual example, download the planning worksheet here.
Planning Your Posts
Let’s take the first example I gave, worship, and assign it to Wednesdays.
Every Wednesday, instead of feeling overwhelmed, I know that I have one mission: to create a piece of content about worship.
I know there are four Wednesdays in the month, so I just need to plan four pieces of content about it. On Wednesday #1, I’ll get a picture during our gathering and post the lyrics to a worship song in the comments. On Wednesday #2, I’ll make a Spotify playlist of trendy worship songs, post a screenshot of the playlist cover, and encourage students to listen to that playlist. For Wednesday #3, I’ll take a vertical video of worship at our next gathering and post it to IG Reels. On that final Wednesday, I’ll get a quote from a student about their favorite worship song and why, and post a graphic of some key lyrics in that song.
In five minutes, I just knocked out a whole bucket for the next month that can be repeated for the next few months! Every quarter, you can change-up your content approach—but only change the buckets if you’ve shifted your ministry vision and values.
Use A Social Media Guide
If this still feels daunting, the good news is you don’t have to plan alone. XP3 curriculum actually gives you a social media guide for every single teaching series.
The social media guides are designed with a mixture of done-for-you graphics and do-it-yourself ideas. You get cutting-edge graphics, but most importantly ideas for making your social media reflect… your ministry! No matter how cool the graphics are, nothing will beat how you tell the story of your ministry through pictures and video.
I love being a contributor to the XP3 social media guides because they are formatted in a way that allows YOU to get back to what you really want to do: inspiring and influencing students to follow Jesus. Then, social media content creators like me (terrible at Gaga Ball and refuses to drink a milkshake of a blended Chick-fil-A meal) can help give you a head start each week.
I hope this gives you a bite-sized approach to the incredibly important role of social media.