Churches are increasingly cottoning on to the amazing opportunity that social media presents. Churches are increasingly establishing a presence on Facebook. However, how many people are looking at what they post let alone engaging with them?
The short answer of course is to post engaging content. Easier said than done. Here’s some tips on how to actually engage with people through your social media:
- Ask for a response.
Rather than simply posting something and just leaving it there, ask for a response. You’ll be surprised by the increase in engagement if you ask for a response. People like to give their opinion or to make a comment or contribution, especially if it piques their interest. Sample: “We would like to know what the greatest needs of our community are, what needs do you think there are?”.
2. Tag people.
Tagging people makes posts personal and exposes your content to a much bigger audience. If you tag and invite response then that increases the reach even further. By linking real live people to your content you create more trust and credibility by helping people see the kinds of people you connect with.
3. Use video.
Facebook is seeking to supplant YouTube as the primary home for videos on the internet. Marketing futurists predict that in five years time Facebook will be all video. Apart from uploading pre-filmed video content you can also use Facebook live from events or simply to make spoken content. This helps make a connection with real live people rather than a glossy website. If you don’t have a big budget you can still produce high quality video on a smartphone using a directional mic for under $80.
4. Be humorous.
People have an expectation that church folk are rigid and boring. Most Christians aren’t and most churches are fantastic places to be. In my experience there is a lot of laughter in church communities. Humour will help people see through common preconceptions and expectations. Upset the apple cart and use appropriate humour where possible.
5. Tell stories.
The most successful Facebook page I know is Humans Of New York (HONY). It started off featuring photos of every day people on the streets of NYC with a snapshot of their story. As of writing this article it has 18,072,137 likes. Money can’t buy that, literally it can’t. That is the power of stories told well. Your church is full of stories. They don’t have to be the ‘saved from a life of crime and drugs’ miracles. HONY is about every day people and their stories. People always have and always will take interest in stories. Social proof is important when trying to establish trust and credibility.
6. Unique content.
Simply posting memes isn’t going to do the trick. People’s social media feed is filled with memes, 99% of which were created by someone else and simply re-shared. Make time to create unique content. Post about your events, preview and review them. Celebrate your successes, thank people, express gratitude and model the qualities your church community professes to believe in. Bless people through your content.
7. Post pictures.
Pictures help build a window into which people can see the life of your church. They also provide the capacity for tagging people and interacting with them. If the future of Facebook is video it’s cousin will be pictures and text only will be the forgotten aunt. Don’t be the forgotten Aunt that nobody takes notice of. Be colourful and visual.