What's in this session?

  • How do we increase shares on Facebook? (0:48)
  • Ultimate form of public endorsement (1:24)
  • The content needs to be share worthy (1:44)
  • The contest (2:13)
  • The results (2:52)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: Well hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while we try and 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 how a church of 125 people reached over 6000 people for free.

Brady Shearer: Every single day, week day, we publish a new episode of Pro Church Daily, sharing with you tips and tactics to help your church navigate this digital world and help accomplish your mission statement. We love to share success stories that prove this stuff works. Alex, this success story came into you first, so take it away.

Alex Mills: A couple weeks ago, I got a message to the Pro Church Tools Facebook page. Somebody from Pro Church Nation asking this question. He says, “How do we get increased shares on our Facebook page?” He was asking is there a specific form of content that we can post that’s guaranteed to get more shares. I responded to him. I said-

Brady Shearer: Cat videos.

Alex Mills: Yeah, exactly. Basically that should have just been my answer, cat videos.

Brady Shearer: If you can train a cat to do something a human would normally do, the formula is there.

Alex Mills: That’s not wrong. That’s probably the outlier. Cat videos will get more shares. But outside of that, I don’t think there’s one variety of content that gets more shares, whether it’s a video or a post or a photo. But what I said to this guy was, “Shares are the ultimate form of public endorsement. It’s somebody who follows your church’s Facebook saying, hey I endorse this so much I’m gonna share it with my thousand friends who aren’t associated with this Facebook page.” What I said to him was to get a share, it has to do everything with the content and not the medium. So, it’s not a video that’s gonna get shared more than a photo, or it’s not a photo that’s gonna get shared more than a text post, but it’s the actual content of the post that is gonna connect with your follower on a level where they say, “Oh, the people that I’m friends with on Facebook could really benefit from this, so I’m gonna share this on my personal Facebook and say I endorse this.”

Brady Shearer: Boring.

Alex Mills: It is kind of boring, but I said, “There is one thing you can do,” and we’ve talked about this before. It’s run a contest.

Brady Shearer: Let’s go.

Alex Mills: This guy took this advice, he ran with it, and he said, “I’m gonna run a contest,” and this is what he did. He told his church, he said, “For every share of this post, you’ll get an entry. If you share it once, you get one entry. Twice, two entries.” You get it. “The winner is gonna receive a church branded coffee mug, as well as a $25 gift certificate to a local coffee shop.” So, that’s fun. You get a coffee mug and a gift certificate to the local coffee shop. That’s a fine price. Super cheap for them. They posted this contest. The church is about 125 people, including children. He said before this contest, they were averaging about 5 to 10 shares a week on their content. Their current social media strategy is based on multiple types of content posts that go out every day, so photos with texts, funny articles, live videos, silly fun questions. Then on Saturdays they post comics.

So, they posted this contest and in one week of promoting this giveaway, they had 119 shares, so almost equal to the amount of people that attend their church they had in shares. And analytics in just this one week showed that they reached 5916 people with this content. So at the time he messaged me, those were the stats, but the contest was still going, so it would have pushed well over 6000 at that point. I sent this to you right away. I took a screenshot of this guy’s message. I sent this to you. I’m like, “Look at these numbers,” because this is outrageous. And it just proves that this stuff works. For a very minimal investment from this church, a $25 gift card. It costs your church basically nothing. You already have the mug. People shared this content like crazy. This stuff works.

Brady Shearer: Okay, a couple points that I want to hit on. One, this church did this over the course of a week.

Alex Mills: When he messaged me, it had been running for a week. I don’t know how much longer it ran, but those stats are from a week.

Brady Shearer: So this wasn’t for a single post. It was like, “Okay, if you share Monday’s post that’s one entry. If you share Tuesday’s post, that’s two entries.”

Alex Mills: It must be, yeah.

Brady Shearer: Okay, makes sense. Two, we have titled this episode how a church of 125 reached 6000 for free. Two options here, you can pay for the gift card and then it’s not free. It’s 25 bucks.

Alex Mills: It might as well be free.

Brady Shearer: I have found that if you go to a restaurant, especially a local restaurant and say, “Hey, will you donate a $25 gift card. We’re gonna do this big giveaway,” it’s well worth their exposure for a $25 gift card. There’s a reason gift cards are so popular within the restaurant industry, within all industries, because they never get fully spent almost ever. Restaurants actually earn money on them, so it’s well worth their, like hey sure. It doesn’t mean we’re giving away $25 of free food necessarily, and 6000 people are gonna see this. You could use this as a case study next time. This church could say, “The last company that did it, got 6000 people saw it. Hey, would you give us a $50 gift card?” Or leverage someone within your church, if you have somebody that works at a restaurant, who owns a restaurant, who owns really any good or service that someone would find valuable, and you could use that. They could just donate it for free.

Then let’s compare this to other options. One final point of clarification. You mentioned that it doesn’t really matter which type of content that you share when it comes … what kind of content you publish when it comes to shares. The only point of clarification that I would add there is that, you’re right, text, video, photo, if it’s good it gets shared, except when it comes to the algorithms because the algorithms will prioritize certain types of content, namely video, which then gives you more at bats, more opportunities to be shared.

Alex Mills: Yeah, that’s right.

Brady Shearer: And so both of those things could be true at once. Compare this to a story that I shared and has happened not too long ago when I was at a local conference meeting with a number of pastors, a church of about 125. Pastor comes up to me, talks about how he spent $5000 to pay for a billboard for one month in a rural area where his church is. 6000 people reached for free using this share contest technique versus $5000 for a billboard. Now, what’s funny is that when you go to a billboard company, I imagine they would say something like, “Did you know that 30000 people drive by this intersection every month?” You’re like, “30000. My church will grow by 30000.” Do it. Sign me up. That’s why reach isn’t really everything, but it is the first point on the map. It’s that attention. It’s the ability to get in front of someone’s eyeballs.

What’s amazing about social media and digital and the internet is that we now have these platforms that have obscene amounts of attention, unlike anything we’ve ever seen in human history. We get to leverage those platforms, in many cases for free. You know what. Reach can be a little bit of a vanity metric, just because you have 6000 people reached. Does that necessarily parlay into attention, into next steps, into giving baptisms, salvations, disciples. Not necessarily, but it is the necessary first step.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: And if you don’t have that reach, if you don’t have that attention, it doesn’t really matter because you can’t get to the steps that are successive after that. So, this is an amazing technique, strategy that your church can try for free, even if you’re a small church, and you can see amazing results.

Alex Mills: I mean, comparatively, our church picnic is this Sunday. We decided to put some money behind our Facebook event for this church picnic this year. For two weeks, I put 50 bucks behind it, and it’s just about to come to an end, and we’ve reached I think 1300 people. Comparatively, we put twice as much behind boosting this event as this church invested in getting a gift card, and we’re reaching a third of the people. Just comparatively, that’s the power of sharing on Facebook. This is how you can get more shares for free.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, because it is that ultimate endorsement of another’s content. It’s the digital version of you basically calling up your friends, except you can call up every single friend once and say-

Alex Mills: Right, even the ones you don’t know.

Brady Shearer: “Hey guess what, we’re doing X, Y, and Z at our church.” Leveraging those personal networks, always the best way to reach new people, and you can do it digitally as well.

Alex Mills: Awesome.

Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.



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