Social Media Guidance
Definition of social media
Social media are a type of interactive online media that allows parties to communicate instantly with each other or to share data in a public forum. This includes online social forums such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Social media also covers blogs and video- and image-sharing websites such as YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest.
Please be aware that there are many more examples of social media than can be listed here and this is a constantly changing area. We offer this guidance in relation to any social media that you use.
Use of social media in your role within the Church in Wales
Social media is a great way of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and engaging with people in a positive way. We encourage you to make reasonable and appropriate use of social media websites to promote activities within your church, Ministry/Mission Area, and the wider activities of the Church in Wales.
Social Media Principles
You must be always aware that you are representing the Church in Wales, and in order to help you we offer the following principles for the use of social media:
- Engage with your audience. People expect you to respond to them in a timely manner and if you ignore your audience then eventually they will start ignoring you.
- Be kind. Think of social media interactions as a conversation between you, God and others. Treat others with kindness and steward your online presence with care. Avoid getting into arguments online and recognise when to step away from a situation before it escalates. Do not make defamatory comments about individuals or other groups or post images that are inappropriate or post links to inappropriate content.
- If in doubt, don’t post. If you are not sure your post is appropriate – for whatever reason – don’t post it. Ask the advice of a friend or colleague and consider changing your message accordingly.
- Spell check. It sounds obvious but there is nothing more unprofessional than poor grammar and spelling errors. Prepare your posts on Word and use spell-check.
- Use hashtags. But don’t overuse hashtags – try to use no more than three hashtags and try to use them within sentences rather than putting them all at the end of your post.
- Use one profile. Don’t create more than one profile per social media tool and do ensure that your profile details are complete.
- Be wary of sharing content. Think carefully before you share content from another person or organisation. Is the content appropriate and is its source appropriate? If in doubt, don’t share.
- Do not breach copyright, for example by using someone else's images or written content without permission, or failing to give acknowledgement where permission has been given to reproduce something.
- Do not do anything that could be considered discriminatory against, or bullying or harassment of, any individual, for example by:
- making offensive or derogatory comments relating to sex, gender reassignment, race (including nationality), disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age;
- using social media to bully another individual;
- posting images that are discriminatory or offensive.
- Use of Images and Video. Consent needs to be obtained to film and/or take photos at an event. Where people are concerned, please obtain their consent to be filmed or photographed and be clear how you intend to use the material. Where young people are involved please gain consent from the child or parent/guardian as appropriate and always follow safeguarding guidance and procedure.
- Don’t ignore other local churches. Friend them, follow them, ‘like’ them! Encourage local unity by helping to promote their events where appropriate and celebrate with them when they have news to share.
- And finally, don’t be afraid to try new social media tools. New applications emerge all the time and if you want to reach a bigger audience then get involved!
This is far from an exhaustive list of general principles for social media use, but there are plenty of online guides out there if you would like to explore any specific platforms in more detail.