Twitter search is a virtually unknown tool by many with the Church. If your desire is to connect organically via social media to know what’s going on in your community, or to reach out to seekers right under your nose, using Twitter search can help point your church social media efforts in the right direction.
This tool seems to be one of the most underrated tools on the web. You can get really specific with Twitter Search, and speak directly into people’s lives.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a weekly time of searching specific topics about which I’ve been blogging, then interacting one-on-one with people who were tweeting about the exact same topic. It is amazing how you can drill down so precisely.
Before we get into the five ideas I have for you, it is important for you to know how to search Twitter in a deeper dive than merely clicking the search bar and typing.
Here’s how to dive deeply into Twitter Search:
1. Go to https://twitter.com/search-home.
2. Click “advanced search.”
3. In the “words” section, search whatever you’d like. Try not to type too many words.
4. *This is Key*: Under “places,” search for your church’s zip code, or city, or however narrow you want to go.
5. Then, click the “search” button.
Here are five ways churches can grow by using Twitter search:
#1 – Search for people in your area having a bad day, then share an encouraging Bible verse with them.
If you want it to look sleeker, use an image that has the Bible verse. If you want to look more off-the-cuff, just use text.
#2 – Search for new move-ins, then share a link to a blog post you’ve written that provides lots of good info about your community for new people.
I love the idea of writing a blog post for resources for new move-ins in a community. You can ask for input from church members on your Facebook page as to what should be included in the post. If you don’t have a personal or church blog, make it a post on medium.com.
Once it is written, use search phrases like “moved to [your city’s name]” or “hello [your city’s name].”
#3 – Give out digital gift cards to randomly bless people who live near your church.
It doesn’t have to be much. A $5 Starbucks card is all it takes to make an impact. I’d word the tweet to them to say something like, “We’re trying to be more strategic in simply loving our neighbors. We give you this card to express that Jesus and our church loves you.”
#4 – If tragedy strikes your community, use Twitter search to find people who are talking about it, then provide encouragement to them.
Two years ago, Chattanooga experienced a terrorist attack where a Muslim extremist shot up Army recruiting centers. People all over the city were talking about it online. Difficult seasons like this are crucial for churches to step up, including online.
#5 – If tourists come to your area or big events draw people, use Twitter search to invite them to your church while they’re in town.
For example, the church I pastor is right next to a lake and large state park where people camp out for a weekend getaway. We can search for them on twitter and invite them. Contextualize this point to your community, then execute the strategy.
This is a unique opportunity for your church to leverage info people are giving about themselves to the entire public. You can reach these people. It really isn’t complicated, but it does require hustle. Are you going to give it a shot? You too can harness Twitter to impact your community for good.