Social media is arguably one of the best things that has ever happened to student ministry. Research suggests that one out of every four people has a social media account, and my guess is that nearly every high school and middle school student uses some type of social media. Therefore, as leaders of student ministries, it would make sense to use this trend to our advantage.

So, the question is: How do you leverage social media in student ministry? Here are four strategies to consider:

Don’t Just Relay Information
Social media is a great way to tell your students about upcoming events, the next series, or what type of food you’re serving. We try to provide content that students find engaging—and posting announcements just doesn’t cut it.

Provide Exclusive Content
If you really want people to pay attention to your social media accounts, provide content they can’t get anywhere else. We love to post behind-the-scenes pictures of our team getting ready for Sunday. We also try to send out challenges or funny things our leaders or students have done in order to get people talking on our accounts. That leads us to our next goal . . .

Encourage Communication
Social media allows student ministries to engage students in unprecedented ways. We can now communicate with students throughout the week, which leads to greater connectivity and buy-in. Instead of telling students to “invite a friend,” you could ask them to tag friends they’d like to bring. If you post a recap picture, ask your students to comment about their favorite part of the night.

Take Advantage of Trends
Pay attention to the things your students are posting, and create similar posts when possible. Throwback Thursdays are awesome posts. This year, we are going to celebrate our seniors by posting Transformation Tuesdays pictures of them from freshman to senior year. Of course, you should be wary of certain trends—Man Crush Monday probably isn’t a good idea . . . just saying.

These tips have been helpful in using social media to our advantage with our high school students. I believe they will help you as well.

Bonus Tip: Run analytics on your accounts. We use Twitter Analytics and Iconosquare. They are really useful for seeing what type of content is gaining the most interest from our followers.

Mitch Blankenship is currently the High School Ministry Intern at Buckhead Church in Atlanta, GA.