User-generated content (UGC) refers to any content—be it text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—that is created by people, rather than brands. Churches can use UGC to build community, trust, and engagement. Here’s how your church can effectively leverage UGC to enhance its digital presence and community engagement.

1. Showcase Community Stories

One powerful way to use UGC is by sharing personal stories and testimonials from your congregation. Encourage your members to share their experiences and how the church has impacted their lives. These stories can be shared as video testimonials, written posts, or photos on your social media channels. For example, during a series about faith, you could ask members to submit their own stories of faith and highlight these on your social media platforms each week.

2. Feature Volunteer Efforts

Many church members volunteer their time and talents in various capacities. Ask these volunteers to share photos or write about their experiences while participating in church-led community service or events. Sharing this content not only acknowledges the volunteers’ hard work but also shows the active role your church plays in the community. For instance, if your church organizes a food drive, posting pictures and stories from volunteers can encourage more participation and show the tangible difference your congregation is making.

3. Encourage Check-Ins and Tags at Church Events

Make use of social media features like check-ins and tags. Encourage your congregation to check in or tag the church when they attend services or events. This helps spread the word about your church indirectly and shows others what a vibrant community you have. For example, during a special Easter service, you could encourage attendees to check in on Facebook or tag the church in their Instagram stories. This can pique interest among their friends and family who might see these posts.

4. Create Hashtag Campaigns

Develop a unique hashtag for your church or specific events and encourage your congregation to use it when posting about the church. This not only helps in curating content from your community but also serves as a way for people to easily find and connect over shared experiences. For example, a #BlessedAtChurchName hashtag could be used for members to share how they feel blessed by being part of the church community.

Leveraging UGC is not just about having content for your social media; it’s about building an engaged community that feels connected to your church. When church members see their own content featured, they feel valued and more connected to the church. This sense of belonging can encourage them to participate more actively both online and in physical church activities.