Facebook – everyone’s on it. It is arguably the most the most accessible form of social communication, so here’s why it’s worth utilising.
Facebook is the best place to reach the widest audience – even those that don’t necessarily “follow you”. The accessibility + shareability of Facebook posts really makes this medium shine. Your audience is looking for entertainment and value, and is most likely to share vs other platforms – it is, therefore, the most likely place for people to interact with your content. Make your content stand out in the endless scroll.
Tips: Video ranks higher on the news feed – so take advantage and don’t be afraid to re-share your videos! Make your videos native to Facebook by uploading directly to your account instead of linking to a youtube or Vimeo video, this ensures your video ranks as a video and not a link.
Create a Facebook event for your gathering that people can click attending & invite others too. The best way to do this is create a Facebook page for your region.
Instagram = a visual dreamland. Show people who you are, what you do, and what you’re offering in the best looking way possible.
Instagram is such a versatile platform. For curating graphically designed quotes, to a personality showing you what it’s like behind the scenes, it really is as they say – a highlights reel.
The best content is engaging and personalised, not too “in your face”, but still something that gives people a little FOMO. Some elements of a conference that are great to highlight: worship, guest speakers, welcome team, in between session fellowship, sermon quotes, promotional material for the next year’s conference.
Tip: consider both your post & profile, create images that are engaging on their own, and dynamic when viewed together.
Try using ‘branded snacks’ during the conference, which are short, branded one-liner from guest speakers. For example:
Twitter is the go-to place for quick wit + snippet info. Great for quick and important updates and engaging with your audience.
Twitter is fast-paced, short (that 140 character limit is a killer) and very unique. It’s great to start a conversation, to run a poll, to let people know that you hear them. Engaging with the people who are tweeting you is super important. It’s also important to mix in original posts with your community engagement.
The best part about twitter is that people are tweeting so fast that it means you can double up on posts quite a bit. Posting up to 6 times a day on twitter isn’t unusual, unlike other platforms. This allows getting as much of “you” on the feed as possible.
The keys to twitter are: be quick, be visual, create community, ask and answer questions.
Tip: Twitter is the platform to take advantage of hashtags – this allows users to see what other people at the event are also saying, and collating them in one place with zero effort! Winner. One way this can be utilised within your conference is including a roll of people’s tweets
Video is the peak of social media right now. It generates the highest engagement out of all other content. It is no longer enough just to share your thoughts on an event, you now have to show your audience what it is like to be there – in real time.
Facebook Live is a cool way to show people what’s happening, as it’s happening. The video will automatically save to your timeline once you’ve finished streaming and can be re-watched after the broadcast. Live stream videos usually go for about 30 mins max, and due to Facebook’s algorithms, they rank higher on the news feed. It is a great tool to use to allow your audience an insight into the daily/private/behind-the-scenes lives of the people and companies they follow. Currently Facebook Live is preferable over other streaming services such as Periscope, Meerkat, YouNow etc. More recently, Instagram has just come out with Instagram Live, as well as Instagram Stories which are other video platforms you can take advantage of to promote your conference! Instagram stories are a great alternative to Snapchat, due to its accessibility and the fact that your audience doesn’t have to sign up for another service.
Some tips for Facebook live:
- Build Anticipation
Tweet, IG, make a status saying when you’ll be going live + what you’ll be doing
- Think About Your Title
Live NOW From London // Q+A w/ Phil Pringle // Comment below to ask a question! This covers who, what, when, and a call to action!
Get people to subscribe to your page while you’re streaming, so that they will get notified next time you go live (good for them) and your community grows (good for you).
- Acknowledge the Audience
Talk to people, say hi, and answer questions. Make it personal + intimate. They can’t get this stuff anywhere else!
Post more, in less time.
A social media schedule, every marketer’s best friend. Buffer allows you to set up all of your social media posts to post at a later date, this allows you to post “7 times” all at once. You can set up all your conference pre-promotion and never worry about it again.
Canva + Pablo
Don’t have a designer? They’ve got your back.
A good alternative if you don’t have a graphic designer at hand for your social media. Allows you to add text over images and provides templates for a platform and the type of post – works well for snacks!
Zapier + IFTTT
Don’t do it yourself, get it done for you.
Automation is key to ensuring that things are happening when you’re not around. It’s also great for minimising your workload. Sending over information to MailChimp, creating notifications and automatically filling out forms are just some of the things that these programs can do for you. They are essentially the same, but each has different software integrations that the other may not have.
Keep it short and sweet.
Decreasing the size of your links is helpful in quite a few ways – it allows you to use more text in sites that have a character limit like twitter, is better looking than a very long link full of numbers and gibberish like a MailChimp link. Bit.ly is great for “link in bio” occasions on Instagram.
Stock Photo + Video
Best resources for free stock images – unsplash, deathtothestockphoto, pixabay
Let’s briefly define advantage: increasing your church’s awareness in your local community or actively engaging your existing community through your social media.
- Document significant events in your community
Say there is a huge fair or festival going on in your local area (like Christmas carols or a big fundraising event, etc) that you would be attending anyway as a member of your local community. You might be attending to meet new people in the area, make new friends, etc which all increase public awareness about your church. Obviously this is great! But not the only way for you to maximise awareness. Facebook live is a great way to document a significant event in your community for the community’s interest or benefit.
An idea I’ve had is to:
Use your church (or even personal) account to FB live significant moments at the event and then “boost” your post to a tailored audience (your local community). This means your video is almost exclusively being viewed by your target market, it gives a face and character to your church and shows your local community that you are an enthusiastic member of it. If you do this consistently it will build a reputation/expectation that your church is interested and involved with the community.
Obviously there needs to be some quality control (no triple chins thanks) but Facebook live is an easy way to reach your community for minimum effort.
- Sermon highlights or Mini Sermons
Instagram stories is the new kid on the block, and people love it so much that they’re already saying RIP Snapchat. I don’t think that it’s going to kill snapchat, but I do think it’s a fantastic new way to tell stories to your audience.
A cool way to use instagram stories could be highlights of Sunday’s sermon or delivering mini sermons during the week to build anticipation to the upcoming message.
You could mix it up with a 10 second snippet from you (or your speaker), then a hand drawn note, then a point, etc, etc. There are so many possibilities.
Depending on what you choose, sermon highlights or mini sermons via instagram stories will either build anticipation, pique the interest of a possible church attendee or provide an alternative perspective of the Sunday message.
Here’s an example of what I mean (GaryVee is a marketing guru, check out his stuff!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=79&v=XiHBcZe1uss
- Have some fun with it!
Sometimes we get too serious with our social media that we don’t realise how much fun it can be! And unless you’re trying to reach statues, your audience loves to have fun!
One of snapchat’s main features is its fun, stupid and hilarious filters.
Here’s an idea: You could go around on Sunday after the service and play filter roulette with as many of your church members as you can. This is an easy game to play (I just made it up then):
1. Focus on someone’s face with snapchat filter
2. Swipe carelessly and see which filter it lands on
3. Video or take a photo of the undoubtedly hilarious face
4. Post to your snapchat story
5. Have the person follow you via snapcode
This creates awareness of your church’s snapchat presence and even more importantly it creates a connection between fun and your church in people’s minds, which I think is an awesome connection for people to make!
Hit us up at the following form if you have any questions or queries relating to this article or anything else comms related!
Hi all, today I’ve been asked to share some brief but helpful thoughts on how you can add value with your (or your church’s) social media. Here’s my guarantee: if your social media content adds value to your target audience’s experience, it will build your brand.
1. Determine Your “Service Personas”
A service persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal church attendee based on market research and real data about your existing members.
When creating your service persona(s), you should detail demographics, behavior patterns, desires, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will only be targeting one persona, but it can help you narrow down exactly who you are trying to attract through your content.
These service personas should be the only people you have in mind when creating and distributing your social media. Be thinking, “how can my social media content benefit, move, inspire, motivate or help them?”
Value add: Here’s a link to a buyer/service persona template I’ve put together.
2. Ask The Right Questions
Here’s what I consider to be a typical church social media experience…
The weekend service (or the big event) is coming and we need to get people there! So we send through a rushed and vague brief to our designer to whip something up asap. The only question we ask is “how can we get something up asap??”
We’re limiting the reach of our social media if our posts are only about advertising a product, service and event. These posts are usually rushed, unoriginal and ineffective. Before we begin the production process, we should ask more philosophical and strategic questions like:
Why are we creating/doing this?
What do our service personas want to engage with?
Who is going to ensure we are guided by the above?
This is critical: your social media content is too important to be erratic about it. You need to decide on your goal and then stick to your plan.
3. Speak The Code Of Your Service Personas
Sometimes our desire to be all-inclusive makes our message ineffective. If you’re trying to reach specific people, then you need to speak in a specific way. Initially, this might mean you get less engagement (likes, shares, comments, views), but the engagement you are receiving are from people you genuinely feel called to reach.
Here’s some examples:
a. Trying to reach mums and dads? Don’t worry about snapchat content.
b. Want to reach young professionals? Create/curate content that will be helpful to them. Like a blog from Ps Phil including his keys to financial excellence
c. Reaching young creatives? Put effort into producing something beautiful, or moving. This usually means content that is more abstract, but since you’re only trying to reach creatives, you don’t have to worry if the more logical followers don’t get it.
Hope this has helped. I understand that pastors have so many responsibilities and that social media isn’t always a high priority. Please feel free to forward this on to someone in your team. The communications team is always available for any questions and here to add value in any way we can.
Written by Alex Farncomb