How To Stay Consistent Across All Of Your Church’s Social Platforms | Ep. #153

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

July 13th, 2018

It’s important to remain consistent across social media platforms both visually and the type of content you post. Consistency builds trust with your audience.

What’s In This Session?

  • Why consistency is important (0:39)
  • Profile picture (1:25)
  • The description (3:03)
  • McDonald’s and branding (5:45)
  • Style guide (7:53)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Brady Shearer: Well hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 mins or less, you’re going to get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communications shift we’ve seen in 500 years. I’m your host Brady Shearer. To my right, your left, is Adam McLaughlin, our special live guest, and today we’re talking about how to remain consistent across all of your church’s social platforms. Adam, take it away.

Adam McLaughlin: Yeah, well I think it’s really important to be consistent across all those channels, both visually in the type of content that we’re posting because consistency builds trust, right? So if somebody visits your Facebook page and you have a different kind of icon than when they visit your Instagram, they’re not necessarily making that visual connection between those two channels. In their mind, they could be making up that they’re seeing two different sets of information, two different brands or two different personalities. 

Whereas the value would be to see that they’re seeing your church consistently. So one of the biggest things that I’ve seen is that somebody will change their profile picture to a poster of an upcoming event …

Brady Shearer: Right.

Adam McLaughlin: Or change their profile picture to like a picture of a guest speak with the date the guest speaker’s going to speak, and they’re no longer creating that brand consistency with their profile picture because all of a sudden it’s somebody’s face, and then next week, it’s a picture of the kid’s pool party.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, exactly. I think that also has a misunderstanding of who is going to be visiting your social media pages. If you have a person in your church, as you will, following you on Insta, following you on Facebook, they’re not going to be going to your Insta profile likely.

Adam McLaughlin: Right.

Brady Shearer: They’re not going to be going to your Facebook page. They’re just going to be seeing your content showing up in their feed. 

Adam McLaughlin: Right.

Brady Shearer: So not only does changing those type of content places, not only does that lead to inconsistency, but it also shows a misunderstanding of who your audience is there. People are making first impressions online. 97% of people search for local organizations using search engines, and your first impression is being made online, at least on a website in about 0.05 seconds, and you only get one shot at it.

Adam McLaughlin: Right.

Brady Shearer: So if you show up inconsistent from the get go, you’ve already created brand confusion, and in my mind, it’s a lot easier for a potential new visitor at that point to just click away. Right? Because they haven’t made the investment yet, and if it’s going to be difficult, why bother?

Adam McLaughlin: Yeah, and there’s a reason we call our logo a thumbnail. It is tiny in the space that we have, so be strategic with using your logo. I saw a church who was choosing to regularly change the color of their logo based on the seasons. A couple times, the color they changed their logo to, looked just like the color of the logo of the church down the road. Right? There’s no distinction there. There’s no way to really say this is the church that I’m following. This is who I’m participating with. This is the information that’s coming from that brand, from that organization.

The other spot is in the description. You see such a wide variety when you get to put the about section on your Facebook pages versus the about section on your Instagram or your Twitter profile. There’s really no reason those can’t be very similar if not identical. Things like your address, your service times. Those are there. Your website address, and maybe your mission statement or that one thing that separates you, that one thing you want to be known for as your church. Your hero statement if you use that context with your website.

Brady Shearer: I think it’s finding the balance too, between understanding the unique languages and customs of unique mediums, but then the consistent never changing narrative and story that you’re trying to tell with your church. Because even though we’re all trying to accomplish the same thing as churches, helping people to love God, love others and make disciples, we all have our unique strengths, weaknesses and ways of doing that. 

So for instance the way I’m thinking about how this would apply practically, on Facebook, you could have your bio section and it could have your mission statement and you know something that’s important to your church, that hero statement, your core narrative. Then on Instagram, you could have the identical text, but with Instagram profiles, it’s always fun to use emojis there, and that wouldn’t really make sense for Facebook but that’s part of the core Instagram culture so you could take those same words and then use like arrow down emojis at the end that point to your single link in your bio. That’s a way of finding the intersection between, okay I know Instagram is different from Facebook and I’m trying to use each platform natively, but at the same point, my narrative as a church, my aim, what we’re trying to accomplish remains a constant so how can I then apply that to the unique mediums?

Adam McLaughlin: Yeah, I want to be clear that, I’m not suggesting that all three platforms become spaces for identical content. If you check out any of the big brands that you respect, or even like McDonald’s, which I respect the brand even though I wouldn’t necessarily want to be in on the food all the time.

Brady Shearer: I uh, love McDonald’s and eat there all the time. So ..

Adam McLaughlin: Sorry Brady.

Brady Shearer: It’s all right. I respect the brand of McDonald’s and the mcnuggets and the double quarter pounders with cheese and the mcchickens and the strawberry milkshakes and the happy meals that I get for my daughter all the time because I’m a bad father. I just wanted everyone to know that because I care about authenticity and I’m not trying to pretend that I don’t love McDonald’s. I also love Taco Bell which is marginally, no considerably worse than McDonald’s, especially in Canada. I think of them putting like the sour cream and the cheese on. I always think they have the sour cream or cheese gun. It’s like [inaudible 00:05:34].

Adam McLaughlin: Right.

Brady Shearer: And they just put it on like this gun. I took this in a weird direction. It’s the end of the day on a Friday, when we’re recording this. I apologize Adam. You were saying, you respect the brand of McDonald’s.

Adam McLaughlin: Well I respect the brand of McDonald’s from a standpoint of consistency.

Brady Shearer: Right.

Adam McLaughlin: Their M is always the same shape. It’s always the same color. The red that they use.

Brady Shearer: Golden arches, baby.

Adam McLaughlin: Yeah, yeah. The red that they use on their cups or on their sign is always the same red. Even though it’s different medium. Their signs are printed on plastic. Their, obviously their packaging is paper. They found a way to make those reds match, and if you go to their social media channels, you’re going to see that same red. You’re going to see that same M. Even though they’ll play with some variations, it’s instantly recognizable as McDonald’s across any channel.

What I like to do is I like to find a couple brand that are that size, that magnitude and see what are they doing on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram? How are they playing with the consistency but the uniqueness of the medium. How do you always know it’s McDonald’s, even though the content may be different on each of those channels? I think that’s an important line for us to find as churches. I think a lot of time, we swing one way or the other, where we just take everything and schedule it out across all of our channels all at once.

The other thing would be like something completely different is happening on Instagram from what’s happening on Facebook. Maybe there are two volunteers running that or someone on staff runs one and a volunteer another. It’s just the disparity. I think we really need to find that middle ground. If we’re going to help people get the next step, which is typically, if they’re viewing our social media for the first time to find out more about our church, the next step is often to visit the website before they come to our service.

Brady Shearer: Sure.

Adam McLaughlin: If there’s no consistency or it’s kind of hit and miss with what they’re seeing, it becomes difficult to help them make the connection back to the website, which again has to tie in stylistically, visually to what’s going on, on social media channels.

Brady Shearer: And I think if you’re listening or watching this episode of Pro Church Daily, you might be saying, “Adam, Brady, I know it’s important to stay consistent, but you don’t understand that when the admin or the associate pastor gets control of Facebook, they just go rogue.” This is where something like a style guide can be super helpful, even if it’s just super basic. This is the logo. Use this logo. Don’t put it on a rock pattern. Don’t change it to teal blue because it’s national teal blue day in the middle of July, and these are the fonts we use. This is our color, and this is the hex code, six digits. Put it into Canva and don’t use a random color.

Adam McLaughlin: Yeah, another … I love Canva for doing a wide variety of things. One of the things I love the most for, one of my favorite tools for creating quotes on the fly or quick events reminders is Wordswag.

Brady Shearer: Yeah.

Adam McLaughlin: Because you can always apply the same filter. You can always apply the same text format and it gives it some consistency, no matter what you are talking about, what you’re phrasing, what kind of background image you use. So Wordswag is kind of my secret sauce, my go to tool for creating that consistency across social media channels.

Brady Shearer: I love it. Ways to stay consistent across all social media channels for your church. Create that consistency, so that when new visitors find you, they know, hey, this is the right place to be.

Adam McLaughlin: Right.

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