So your church members are wired. How do you organize all the social networking?

Once social media becomes part of a church ministry, it can be overwhelming to manage.

By Natalie Aho

Once social media becomes a part of your ministry and the conversation at your church, it can be overwhelming to manage. Thankfully, there are a few platforms out there designed to help organize your social networking.

1. I use sproutsocial.com for all our work at ABPnews/Herald. It provides a message box to read interactions on all of our social media platforms, easy ways to publish and schedule status updates on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, robust analytics and a way to monitor keywords or branding. On a cautionary note, SproutSocial has increased its fees so your monthly fees will likely be higher than ours.

Hootsuite-Logo2. If you are looking for free, hootsuite.com is your answer. It provides a way for you to manage multiple social media accounts by reading each in a stream, easy ways to publish and schedule status updates, analy-tics and brand monitoring. I occasionally use HootSuite to monitor the ABPnews/Herald Twitter account.

3. Most people do not realize that every Facebook page comes with its own built-in scheduler. It is best for you to send out Facebook status updates and/or photos when your church members are online. You can learn your peak online engagement times by clicking on the “see insights” button when you view your Facebook page as an administrator and then click on the “posts” option.

Once you learn that, say, 9 p.m. is the best time for you to reach the maximum amount of your “followers,” then there’s no need to remember to get on Facebook at 9 p.m. Instead, as soon as you type in the status box on your page, you’ll see a small clock icon appear below. Click on the clock and your update can be scheduled for any day and time. Facebook analytics are useful as well, so spend time in their “insights” section.

4. Another choice that uses all the same features as HootSuite and SproutSocial is bufferapp.com, which started as a mobile app, but now has a desktop version. Buffer is free, and its prized feature is that it will schedule your Facebook and Twitter status updates for you based on their analytics of when your followers are online.

Share your favorite social media tools with us at Twitter:@abp_rh or Facebook/associatedbaptistpress.

This article originally appeared in Herald, our bi-monthly magazine. To find out more about the magazine, click here.