What's in this session?

  • The DM Brady received (0:22)
  • Attention, engagement, and next steps (1:13)
  • Brady's Face (3:07)
  • Empty Church (3:43)
  • Formula #1: Attention (4:32)
  • Formula #2: Engagement (5:24)
  • Formula #3: Next Steps (7:10)

Show notes and resources

Free Bonus: Click here to download The Church Growth Calculator Spreadsheet – a ready-to-go spreadsheet calculator for accurately tracking & measuring church growth

The Transcript

Alex: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get a daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today we’re talking about three effective ways to measure your church’s social media efforts.

Brady: I got a DM the other from a person within Pro Church Nation, Alex, and they were asking me, “How do you know when what you’re doing is working on social media? How do you know when you should double down or switch up? How do we measure our results?”

This is one of the things with social that is actually really advantageous because unlike most of the things that we do within our churches, social can be measured because it’s a digital effort that social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and the like give us plenty of data to work with to help us measure our efforts and then make informed decisions on whether to double down because something is successful or, hey, this isn’t working as well as we would’ve hoped and we’ve got to change things up.

In this episode of Pro Church Daily, we want to offer you three effective ways to measure your church’s social media efforts. On episode 125 of Pro Church Daily, the title of that episode was The Three Step Funnel to Predictable Church Growth, and in that episode, we basically offered up three whys, three reasons why, things your church is trying to accomplish to get where you want to go. Those three metrics, measuring sticks, were attention, engagement, and next steps. These were each of the three things that you would be trying to accomplish to get where your church wants to go, fulfill its purpose, fulfill its mission, and vision.

With social, you always have to get first to why are we doing what we’re doing. These three measuring sticks all directly apply to social. Maybe you post something and the goal is to get attention because it’s that top of the funnel sort of thing, or maybe you post something and the goal is to get engagement, or maybe you post something, like for an event, and your goal is to get a next step, signups, registrations, that sort of thing.

The first thing is to determine what you’re trying to accomplish with social. Otherwise, you’re just looking at vanity metrics, like likes and comments, and you’re like, “This got more likes,” which, is that good? Can you quantify why that’s good? Otherwise, again, just vanity metrics that might not directly tie to social.

Alex: Well, you’ll never know if you’ve hit your goal if you never set it in the first place, right? You have to determine where is this ship going, and then we’ll be able to gauge, are we headed in that right direction.

Brady: That’s a great way of saying it. This is one of the things with the algorithms of social. We have no idea how they work, but what’s great is that social does give us a ton of metrics and a ton of data to analyze, parse through, and make better decisions. Let’s talk about two different examples that we are going to use in this episode to illustrate what you can do with your own social media posts.

Alex: Okay.

Brady: Recently, for every episode of Pro Church Daily, we take photographs for thumbnails as well as for Instagram posts. In almost all of the thumbnails up until a couple of weeks ago, the thumbnails would always include a picture of Brady’s face because we know that photos of human faces draw way more attention on social and in the world because we are a very social species. We see another person’s face, especially when they’re smiling or making a funny face and we like it.

We wanted to change things up because I had this hunch, again, and this is why we’re going to use data, because it starts with a hunch but then you want to prove or disprove your theory, I had this hunch that if every single episode had a picture of my face, maybe that would get a little bit tiring. There’s only so many weird faces that I can make.

We did a test with two different photos on Instagram. One was the regular Pro Church Daily type of shot with my face and the other one was a picture of an empty church, completely different, unlike anything we’d ever post, and we wanted to compare the two on Instagram to see if we could learn anything from it. As a caveat, there’s really not too much you can learn usually from one post versus another.

Alex: The sample size is too small.

Brady: We’re going to walk you through three different formulas right now that you can use to measure a single post, but like Alex said, you want to do this in bulk with dozens of different posts or at least 10 plus different posts so you can have a large sample size, and then you can see the trends because trends can very so much from one to another that you’re not going to get enough from just a one versus one. This is just an example of what you can do with these formulas.

Alex: Right.

Brady: Formula number one is for that very first measuring stick, the measuring stick of attention. The formula for this on social is going to be reach divided by followers. In the first example of the empty church photo, that Instagram post got us 3154 reach and we have about 10900 followers on Instagram, so that’s a 28.9% reach. The second example, the one with Brady’s face, had 3376 reach out of 10999 followers, so 31% on that attention measuring stick.

Alex: That one with your face performed marginally better.

Brady: Yes, 2% better. That might be a suggestion of, “Oh, maybe there is something there with someone’s face being better at stopping the scroll than the empty church,” which again would make sense. We have data from other giant studies that wouldn’t include me or your church that would say that that’s the case, but that’s why you want to apply these formulas to your own stuff.

Alex: Of course.

Brady: Second formula, and for measuring engagement, so on Instagram, this would be likes plus comments plus saves divided by reach. If you were doing this on Facebook, just swap out saves for shares, and then again, divide that by reach. In the first example, empty church, we had a total of 169 points of engagement. That was 156 likes, four comments, nine saves, divided by 3154 reach. Our engagement metric for that individual post was 5.4%.

Alex: Okay.

Brady: Compare that to the other post, which had 213 points of engagement, which is more, but remember that the reach on that post was also more, so proportionately, it may not be as much, but it was 6.3%, so a full 1% better than the other post.

Alex: Right.

Brady: Again, Brady’s face winning out again, and that is a lot more considerable because that’s 6% versus 5%. That’s almost a full 20% increase.

Alex: Yes, for sure. I put a lot of weight on engagement, whether I’m evaluating my own strategy on my personal page or something we’re doing here at Pro Church Tools or at church. Like you said, over 31, 3200 people were reached by these photos, but the engagement really reveals, was this photo good enough to encourage someone to stop the scroll and actually interact with this comment, whether it’s a comment or even just a like, or especially a share. We weight those pretty heavily as social proof, public endorsement. Engagement is super important this formula gives you such a great metric of how that’s translating.

Brady: Yes. We’ve tracked attention. We’ve tracked engagement. Now it’s time to track next steps. On Instagram, I would consider this to be profile clicks and website clicks, and then on Facebook, that would be just clicks on the post itself. This is where it’s important to recognize what you’re trying to accomplish on social, because with Instagram, there are no links to click except in your bio. On Instagram, unless you have swipe up in Instagram stories, which most of our churches do not, you’re not going to get too many next steps on Instagram because it’s not the platform that’s conducive to that, whereas Facebook may be.

What you don’t want to do is try to accomplish all three of these goals or none of these goals with every post. You’ve got to really be considering, “What am I trying to accomplish with my strategy for this social platform as a whole?” And then even for each individual post, because if you look at how these posts fared for the next steps measuring stick, on the first one, it was about .1% and then similarly on the second one, .1% because we’re not trying to get a next step.

Alex: Yes, we’re not even asking for one.

Brady: No, because at the very bottom of each one, we go, “Go to ProChurchDaily.com to see it,” but that link’s not clickable. It’s more just for awareness that all of Pro Church Daily can always be found at that place.

Alex: Yes, but if you’re putting money behind an Instagram post or a Facebook post, on Instagram, if you put money behind a sponsored post, you’ll get a learn more or visit profile link.

Brady: Yes, you will get a click.

Alex: On Facebook, if you’re promoting an event like a church picnic, and so you’re looking for clicks if somebody’s interested or going or liking the page or whatever. It’s when you’re putting money behind those posts and boosting them, that’s when you’re going to want to track next steps because you’re actively asking for one, like, “Click on my profile,” or, “Like this page.” If you’re not tracking that next step metric on a post that you’re asking for a next step for, you’ll never know what your return on investment really is.

Brady: Exactly. To summarize, social media can give you feedback on how well you’re doing or how well you’re not doing, one of the few things within our churches that we can actually track. It’s very difficult to track, “Does this person love Jesus more than they did last year?” Whereas social media metrics are very concrete, which is great. They can help us measure when something’s working, when something’s not.

The three metrics that you want to focus on, attention, engagement, and next steps. The formula for attention is reach divided by followers. The formula for engagement is likes, comments, and saves, or on Facebook, likes, comments, and shares divided by reach, and the formula for next steps, clicks divided by reach.

Take a whole bunch of posts. Run them through all of these formulas and try to see if you can spot some trends, then double down on what’s working, do less of what’s not, and you’ll see more success on social media for your church. That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.

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