How Life.Church Dominates Social Media with Beau Coffron (PCP175)

Beau discusses the strategy they use over at Life.Church when it comes to social media. From the importance of having fun, to using Instagram stories for your church - he covers it all.

00:00
August 15th, 2017

Beau is the director of social media for Life.Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. He also blogs at Lunchbox Dad, which has been featured in places like Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, Buzzfeed and Forbes. Beau joins us to discuss Life Church’s online presence.

What’s In This Session?

  • The structure of social media management of Life.Church (staff, campuses, volunteers) (10:36)
  • How to manage social media when your church has multiple campuses (11:52)
  • The “why” behind the “what” for Life.Church on social media (14:58)
  • The importance of having fun on social media and why every conversation/post can be “spiritual” (17:10)
  • Live video -> the best social media strategy of 2017 (21:27)
  • Facebook Live Audio? What is it? How is Life.Church using it? (23:59)
  • Using Instagram Stories at your church (30:08)
  • Acknowledging that social media will never stop changing (and why you need to be okay with that) (33:55)
  • How Life.Church is building a Facebook Messenger bot (35:50)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

3 Instant Takeaways

    1. Everything is spiritual. Our faith is a part of who we are. It is an integrated part of our being. This means that every conversation you have is spiritual whether it’s having fun, or talking about serious matters. God can work through any interaction or conservation.
    2. Make church online an experience, and not just watching a video. Have someone host your online church, engaging those who are watching by answering questions, praying for people, and overall leading the discussion during the service.
    3. Use Instagram stories to share the human side of your church. Each social platform has it’s own set of unspoken rules for what is acceptable, or what will perform best. Perfect photos have long been the norm for a well performing Instagram feed, but this doesn’t carry over to Instagram stories where it’s okay to use stickers or draw over your photos and videos.

The Full Transcript

Brady Shearer: [00:00:01] This is the pro church podcast session 175 how life church dominates social media with Beau Coffron. Hey there pro church nation. Welcome to the pro church podcast. You’re now part of a small group of pioneering churches doing everything we can to seize the 167 hours beyond our Sunday services. Why. Because we’re living through the biggest communication shift in the last 500 years and what got us here won’t get us there. I’m Brady, your host and this is session number 175. You can find the show notes for the session at pro church tools dot com slash 1 7 5. And in this session we’re joined by Beau Coffron of Life Church talking about their social media strategy. How we can learn from it. Let’s do it. Welcome back to another session of the pro church podcast My name is Brady. I’m your host. Great to have you here with us whether you’re listening for the first time or first time in a long time or you’re here every single week. I very much appreciate that. Thank you so much. We like to start off each and every session by sharing with you a protip or a practical tool that you can begin using in your church or ministry right away. And today I want to share with you a new transcription tool that we’ve been using here within pro church tools transcribing your church’s sermons or videos. Just such an important thing when it comes to repurposing content taking content that’s already been made and repurposing it for social media, for articles. We recently did a pro church podcast session with Justin Trapp where we talked about seven ways to repurpose your sermons, ways to take that content that you already created and then share it on other platforms not just rebroadcasting but finding a way to repurpose, recreate that without having to actually start from scratch with a whole new piece of content and that all starts with the transcription process. Now the big transcribing service that most are familiar with using, And we’ve used for the longest time and continue to use is a service called Rev you can find it at Rev.com and they have professional transcribers that will do the transcription work that difficult heavy lifting for one dollar a minute. It is 95 to 99 percent perfect outstanding job but it’s not cheap especially considering if you have a weekly message of 30 to 60 Minutes that can add up to hundreds upon hundreds of dollars each and every month. Now we’re not quite at the point where technology is doing perfect or even semi-good transcription but there is kind of this in-between option it’s called Trint dotcom. Trint dot com. And they’re claiming to be transcription reinvented. It’s kind of beyond automated transcription but it’s not quite a single human that’s doing it. It costs about one fifth to one sixth of the cost of Rev. And what it does is you log into their dashboard you upload your audio file and then within you know 10 to 20 to 30 minutes they have a transcription prepared for you. And then within your dashboard what you can do is you can actually work within the uploaded kind of transcription that they have then turned into an actual transcription and edit through it. And that’s kind of the key because even though your transcription will be complete it has been done using some type of technology and it’s not going to be perfect. For instance a lot of the times when I say Well hey there and welcome to the pro church podcast for some reason the automation technology hears that as the Holocaust podcast that we have found which is not exactly what we’re going for. And so you know I’ve talked with my team who’s going through all these transcriptions right now we’re going through and going back through all 175 sessions plus the ask Brady Show. Plus the coaching sessions of the podcast we’ve recently introduced the go live each Thursday. We’re going back and redoing the transcriptions of all of them not redoing creating transcriptions for all of them that have never existed up until this point. And what I’ve told my team is to use Trints because first we used Rev it was going to be too expensive is going to cost about $10000 to do all the transcriptions for every session of the podcast. But then we had them doing it themselves from scratch and that took way too long. Trint is kind of nice even ground where it requires you know one to three hours for a person to go through and check the hour long transcription that Trint has put together and make changes. But the interface is nice. It has a ton of keyword shortcuts that allow for some quick work comparatively anyway. But it does require a human touch a personal touch and that’s why it’s kind of this in-between hybrid option. It’s not quite fully technologically based. Trint is going to give you that first proof of the transcription but you’ve got to go through as an actual human and make sure everything is correct because it won’t be and you will have to do some minor and or major edits along the way. With that being said still much faster and easier than if you were doing it 100 percent yourself from scratch. One fifth in between a fifth and sixth. Cheaper than Trint. So if it costs an hour or sorry if it costs $60 for an hour of Rev to do a transcription. Trint will cost $12 so a much more affordable but does require a little bit more work so feel free to check it out. Trint Dot com they’re still in beta and we’ve just begun using them but it has been a great option for us. Cheaper than rev for doing 175 sessions of the pro church podcast 200 plus when you add in the ask Brady Show and the pro church podcast coaching edition sessions but still easier than doing everything from hand from scratch. Even with nine of us full time on staff with all that being said it’s time to transition into our interview for this week and today we’re welcoming onto the show. Beau Coffron. Beau is the director of social media for Life Church in Edmond Oklahoma. Life Church currently have 26 physical locations in eight states plus their online campus which is widely widely viewed and attended but he also blogs at lunch box dot dad. That blog has been featured on places such as Good Morning America. The Steve Harvey Show. People magazine. BuzzFeed. Forbes. He’s also written for Huffington Post and Relevant magazine. So bringing Beau on to talk a lot about online presence specifically how life church dominates social media and in this session of the podcast we talk about the structure of social media management that Life Church uses when it comes to staff, campuses, volunteers how to manage social media. When your church has multiple campuses this is a question we get a lot and we tackle that finally in this session of the podcast. we talk about the why behind the what are Life Church on social. The importance of having fun on social media and why every conversation post can be spiritual but perhaps not in the way that you think. We talked about live video and why it’s the best social media strategy of 2017. Facebook Live Audio. A new thing that Facebook is workshopping, What is it, how life church is using it. We talk about Instagram stories. Acknowledging that social will never stop changing and why you need to make your peace with that. And finally how Life Church is building their very own Facebook Messenger bot. Lots of great stuff on this session of the church podcast with Beau Coffron. We’ll be back in just a moment with my interview with Beau.

Brady Shearer: [00:07:23] Well hey there pro church nation Welcome back to another session of the pro church podcast and today we are joined by Beau Coffin. Beau Welcome to the show.

Beau Coffron: [00:07:30] Thanks so much for having me on today Brady.

Brady Shearer: [00:07:33] I think we met for the very first time at that church conference last year. And so this is well overdue to bring you on the show if people are unfamiliar with you in the several spectacular things that you’re doing. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Beau Coffron: [00:07:45] Yeah I am this social media director for Life Church here in Edmond Oklahoma. And so that’s what I do full time and I love it. I love social media and I love the church. And on the side I also have a blog lunchbox dad dot com and all my social media there and that’s kind of how I developed my love for social media in the first place. And so all my handles are at lunch box dad.

Brady Shearer: [00:08:10] At lunch box dad and you’ve been featured in a bunch of like pretty cool places. Good Morning America. Steve Harvey Show. People magazine. BuzzFeed. Forbes. You’ve written for The Huffington Post, relevant. Has that all come because of the lunchbox dad platform?

Beau Coffron: [00:08:25] Yeah for the most part. I started lunchbox dad about five years ago now and it just kind of took off from there. And so yes all of it came just from really. Originally it was just trying to connect with my kids over a school lunch and and it just went from there and people kind of grabbed hold of it and those different outlets that you mentioned. And it’s been a really fun ride and just amazing really to see what God can do through that.

Brady Shearer: [00:08:54] And did that start before you began your work at Life Church was that kind of like what gave you the cachet to get the position that you did. Were they two simultaneous things? how did that kind of happen?

Beau Coffron: [00:09:06] So I started at Life Church about a year and a half ago and it was a brand new position at the time and really I think what brought in it was a combination of I had worked in a couple of different churches for a total of about 15 years as a pastor and then my experience in social media and building my platforms there just kind of came together my love for social media, my love for the church came together in this position for Life Church and God just kept opening up the doors. I had never been to Oklahoma before. I grew up on the West Coast and spent all those years in California. And God just said we’re supposed to move our family here and it’s been so great working for the Life Church.

Brady Shearer: [00:09:46] So you’ve been out there for about 18 months and you said it was a brand new position director of social media. So are you the only person on staff when it comes to social, do you direct a team, volunteers? How does that work because obviously I mean Life Church I think I’ve heard it said like it’s the biggest church in America when you at all like the online campuses and you know 26 locations eight different states.

Beau Coffron: [00:10:08] Yeah we have. Like you said 26 locations in eight different states we’re about to open up our 27 campus. And so how it’s kind of broken down is we have our global social media accounts and that’s really what I focus on. And so I developed I developed the social media strategy for all of Life Church. But I have my hands in daily in all our global channels and I’m the only one on staff that is directly responsible for social media. So I live and breathe social media here at Life Church and then we also for our campuses there is someone at each campus that is at least partially responsible for their campus pages. So each campus is required to have a Facebook account a Facebook page and then all of them also have Instagram accounts and some of them have Twitter as well. And so I’ll go in and I’ll train them, we’ll do social media checkups with them. I’m in constant contact with them. And we also have a volunteer team because I know this is not about me I could not do this on my own and I love our volunteer team. And so we have community leaders. The structure is kind of – There’s me and then I have a right hand person who she actually lives in Peru and so we have a global community of leaders and our community leaders are able to answer as Life Church they’re trained. And then underneath them they each have a team and so they’ll each take a day of the week on social media to respond to messages and to make sure that people know that it’s not just a page. It’s not just putting posts out there that there’s really we’re trying to build a community here and minister to people.

Brady Shearer: [00:11:47] One of the questions that I get a lot when it comes to social media is how do we manage social when we have multiple campuses. And it’s interesting because I’ll take inventory of these churches social media efforts sometimes and or go to their Facebook accounts and I’ll see like their main Facebook account for their biggest campus and let’s say it’s getting updated you know once a day or two times a week and then I’ll go to the other campus Facebook pages and more than not, often not I’ll see the identical content being posted there less frequently. And so I’ll talk to these churches and say like you know what’s the reason that you have multiple pages for multiple campuses if you’re posting the exact same thing. And you know being someone who doesn’t serve at a church in charge of their social media for multiple campuses, I would be very interested to hear what your approach is when it when it comes to this obviously life church. I don’t know if everything that what you’re doing is applicable to another multi campus church but maybe it is. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. Yeah I think this could apply actually to whether you have multiple campuses or just multiple ministries and you’re trying to figure out how to manage all of the social media accounts for multiple ministries. And so for us and how we do it at Life Church is we have a great create a media team who produces like serious content, photos, videos, and anything that applies to everything that is happening at Life Church at the time. That’s fair game to post on our global channels. And then when it comes down to campus pages they make the decision obviously they’re going to talk about a series coming up. They can also create their own content and they’re encouraged to like for our current series we really encourage them to get creative in using their staff and using other volunteers and leaders to create just short fun videos and just to kind of promote those series but also they get the chance on their social media accounts to talk about what’s going on specifically in their area. So for instance on our global accounts we’re not necessarily going to talk about something that is happening in Wellington Florida but our Wellington Florida campus is going to have full reign to be able to talk about that. And so they’re able to really dial it in there. And so that’s kind of the main difference and so we want people to be able to see kind of an overall big picture of Life Church on the global channels and then really dial into their community for the local campuses.

Brady Shearer: [00:14:19] Very nice, very nice so it sounds like if you’re not posting some semblance of unique content on a Facebook page doesn’t make sense to have multiple different platforms.

Beau Coffron: [00:14:30] No I would say not that you’re going to want to really figure out your strategy ahead of time. What are your goals for each of the different accounts. And so and we’ll share a lot of stuff that’s different on our global accounts that the campus pages won’t. Well we’re big into sharing from other pages and what’s going on and just seeing how these encouraging stories that God is doing around the world that it might not have to do specifically with Life Church but it’s how God is moving.

Brady Shearer: [00:14:56] You said that you’ve got to figure out your why which is something that every communicator that knows anything about communication always gets back to because when you’re making decisions on communications and there’s so many different things that you can do if you don’t have a firm foundation for how you’re making decisions and why you’re doing things it’s really hard to get traction because you’re just all over the place and you’re not you know on a unified front. So can you talk a little bit about the why behind what Life Church does with its social accounts.

Beau Coffron: [00:15:25] Yeah absolutely the why behind the what is huge in our culture here and we are always talking about that whether it’s social media or print piece we’re putting out or why we’re doing something in our lobbies or why we’re doing something and in a sermon or a message series. And so for social media specifically we want to first and foremost minister to people where they’re at. And so there’s so many people that come to church social media accounts not just life churches all around it. They’re looking for prayer they’re looking for community. And this is just one of those places where we want to offer that and be able to help people in that area. We also want to build community. So we want people to come back. And I like to say that we don’t want our life church social media platforms to be a billboard that people drive by. That’s just promotional we wanted to be a coffee shop that they hang out in. And that’s really one of our big goals cause that builds trust, that builds relationships and then also we want to talk about things that people are actually talking about. And in our lobbies on weekends people are talking about the latest viral videos or talking about funny things that have happened. We’re talking about Hey, did you see that story on the news. And so we’re going to talk about that on our social media channels as well and share from other sources. And then we’re also going to promote events. And so but we don’t want to be overly promotional or people come and it’s just about us.

Brady Shearer: [00:16:51] I was talking with the pastor just yesterday and he was telling me about how him and his church they’re trying to like do things a little bit differently and he’s like and then we’ll have this break out. And you know this is where that you know you can have a prayer time or you can have an extra worship time or you can have a spiritual conversation with someone else. And I don’t know what about the term spiritual conversation like upset me but I had this visceral reaction where I was like any conversation with another believer is spiritual. And this is something that I know people you know have trouble with what you just said made me think of that where you said people in our lobby are talking about the latest viral video they’re talking about you know Dunkirk that came out today when we’re recording this like you know talking about the current events things that are going on in their lives and that you want to be a part of that conversation. And so I want to play devil’s advocate for a moment and try to come from the perspective of someone who thinks that. Wait a minute. Why would a church want to do that. It’s not spiritual. We don’t want to be a country club. I think I see the value in that. But what if someone said to you what would you say to them?

Beau Coffron: [00:17:54] I would say there’s two levels. I think what we’re talking about here. And so there’s like you said the spiritual level. And I feel like any conversation for the most part that you have to go in a level that goes to faith or what we believe and we have a lot of non-Christians that come to our social media pages as well just to check us out. And we our volunteers are trained to say hey OK here it is. They leave a comment. We respond to it and hopefully that goes into a place where we can talk about God. And that might then move behind the scenes or we might be able to connect them to a pastor in real life if they’re near one of our campuses or with our church online pastor where we can take that conversation even deeper. And so really those are kind of entry point conversations where we don’t know what God’s going to do it through that. But we firmly believe that you can work in any of those conversations. And then also the other level is if people are if they see let’s just say finding a Bible or video that has to loosely do with a series that we’re doing on the coming weekend and they comment on it or they share it from Facebook onto their page or they just even like it or put you know one of their Facebook’s emojis on there then that has a better chance of them actually. Other post from my church. Coming up in their news feed. And so there’s also a social media sort of strategy point there where hopefully for sharing these large viral stories that are encouraging to people maybe funny. And by the way one of our core values of life church is we’re going to laugh hard, loud and often. And that is on every wall and everything campus. And so we want that not to only happen in person on weekends but we want that to happen on weekdays on our social media as well because that’s a core value of our church.Then we want to be in every area.

Brady Shearer: [00:19:46] This is something that I talked about a lot which is really taking exactly what you guys do so well which is like post something like a fun question like hey what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? which on the surface is like some people could say well why would a church post about that. But one part of that is just being strategic in gaming the algorithm of social. And again we don’t know this for certain but it sure seems to work this way. You know you post something like that that’s going to get a ton more engagement than an average post that a church would maybe publish. And now the next time you post more people are going to see that. And in a world where churches are just trying to get as much organic reach as they can because every dollar saved is helpful to be spent elsewhere. If you can do something to boost your organic reach while encouraging engagement on your social platforms like go ahead and do that. And that’s one thing you guys do especially well which is asking fun questions are you the one that’s behind that creating those fun questions?

Beau Coffron: [00:20:38] Yeah I’ll come up with those or I’ll get them from somewhere else or maybe I’ll ask one of my volunteers Hey what are, I did this the other week, and what are some questions that would be fun to ask. Currently when we’re recording this we’re in are at the movies series so a lot of our questions are revolving around movies and what we found with these questions people love if they’re a simple question that doesn’t take very much time for them to think about or to type out on a phone. You know 85 percent of our people are on mobile when they’re on our pages. And then you know that’s going to be something that’s easy for them to answer and for us it’ll be easy for us to engage with them on and help build that community. Going back to that why behind the what. And also like you said the whole social media aspect of it and hopefully building organic reach there.

Brady Shearer: [00:21:27] Talk to me about Facebook live obviously live video is the biggest trend of social in 2017. You know we saw the beginnings of it with platforms like periscope and meercat and then Facebook and now Instagram of both adopted it. And if you post a Facebook live video we’ve been dubbing it the best social media strategy for churches in 2017. So one reason simply for that is because you’re going to get so much more organic reach because Facebook’s like use live video. We’re going to give you a bunch of extra organic reach if you do. And we won’t say that explicitly but we’ll show it to you analytics. Talk to me about how you guys are using Facebook live both within service outside service and why it’s important to you.

Beau Coffron: [00:22:04] Yeah absolutely. I mean I agree with everything that you just said there we have seen Facebook live videos not only on our global channels but on our campuses as well just shoot through the roof when it goes to reach and engagement and views. And so I encourage whenever I talk to one of our campuses this is how we do it is if there is a video that you’re thinking about shooting that it could be just a simple announcement video on the lobby about something that you’re really excited about coming up on the weekend. Do that on Facebook live instead of just doing a prerecorded video and then I explain why. And so we’re encouraging them to do that for our global channel for instance. Lately we’ve been doing tours around campus lobbies and just showing people what they can expect if they show up on the weekend. And then we also have our Facebook live services that we do on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Central time on our global page and we will have you out here is for this we are very specific and our services that we want this to be a church online experience not just someone watching a video.

Brady Shearer: [00:23:13] Not just a fly on the wall.

Beau Coffron: [00:23:14] Exactly. And so we have a live host team there that will engage people in conversation, answer questions. Pray for people and kind of lead the discussion during this service.

Brady Shearer: [00:23:26] Awesome and I think the distinction that’s being made here is that Facebook Live isn’t just for your worship experience and even in that context don’t just make it a fly on the wall like you were getting at but include interaction so that if you’re watching online and you’re not part of it you don’t just feel like the people that are here part of it really and I’m just kind of you know secretly watching from behind the scenes. You’re a part of it you have your own experience. But beyond that Facebook live is just as good for just pick up your phone. What are you doing? Film it.

Beau Coffron: [00:23:52] Yeah. Yeah absolutely. And Facebook makes it so easy to do. And now like there’s a new Facebook live audio as well that we’ve been experimenting with that’s been fun. But the video I mean it just makes it so accessible to churches and sometimes we’ll get asked well what equipment is what extra equipment do I need. And really you can use extra equipment you can get a little external mic for your phone if you want to but at its core Facebook live video is just great just for just taking out your phone and recording what’s going on and engaging people in Conversation. And all you really need is a phone.

Brady Shearer: [00:24:29] You mentioned Facebook live audio. How is that different from Facebook live video if people are unaware of what that is. And how are you guys experimenting and using it right now?

Beau Coffron: [00:24:39] Well Facebook announced this back in December I believe and so we’ve been really excited about checking this out. And it was only rolled out to a few very large publishers so we didn’t have it but it was interesting to see how they did it and kind of develop our strategy from there. It started rolling out a few weeks ago and so I’m not sure if everyone has it yet but I know a lot of people already have it and basically it’s just like we’re doing right now like a podcast except live. And I would actually. Although it’s like a podcast. It’s almost like a call in podcast because people can leave comments live just like in Facebook live video except for the great thing is you don’t have to worry about lighting. You don’t have to worry about what’s behind you. You don’t have worry about what else is in the scene. You can upload a custom photo of yourself or your church or whatever it is and just go. You can sit at your desk and just go at it and engage with people. And for us how we’ve been we’re in the very early phase of testing it but it’s been getting really good reach. We’ve done a couple of episodes so far and we are actually experimenting between live and repurposing prerecorded content. And so right now you can only broadcast through like your smartphone like an Android phone or your iPhone or an iPad something like that. But what I found was I hooked up I did a bunch of research I’m like I know there has to be a way to be able to run something from your computer to your phone and be able to repurpose this podcast content that we’re dealing I know a lot of churches are doing on a regular basis. And so I found a little box and it’s made by Sure it’s like a Shure DBI. And then also what happens is I bought a stereo mini to XLR cable so we’re just running from my laptop to the box and then the box into my iPhone and broadcasting it from there. And so we’ve done a couple of Pastor Craig’s leadership podcast because that’s kind of what we’re doing right now during at the movies because we can’t share because of copyright reasons. The normal sermons that are happening. We’re going to move forward with this hopefully with our next series of original content. And so it’s something that we’re already putting out anyway. We’re just using it on different platform in a different way. And I think the key is to is that we I’m there live answering questions. And so once again it’s not just broadcasting this out it’s how can we engage with people through this.

Brady Shearer: [00:27:20] Audio is such an interesting thing right now because we’re seeing podcast continue to gain momentum in a world that is still dominated by video. It’s interesting how a big audio is getting like. It’s not like it’s tailing off it’s continuing to rise. And for someone like me like audio is my number one form of content that I consume simply because it allows me to do other physical things while listening so I can eat food. I can make dinner, I can mow the lawn. I can work out, I can play with my dog, all while engaging and consuming content when if it’s video or written. I’ve got to be focused on that looking with my eyes where audio allows me you know to free up that part of my senses and my ability. And so you’ve got podcasts, Facebook live audio. You’ve got the new Smart home stuff. You know Amazon Alexa, Google home whatever Apple does in that space would you imagine that they will. And that’s an interesting part of audio as well. And so this is like an emerging medium which is funny because like how is radio an emerging media?

Beau Coffron: [00:28:23] Exactly.

Brady Shearer: [00:28:24] It’s being Reimagined with the Internet. And that’s and that’s super fun. Side note before we jump into what I want to talk to you about Instagram stories and messenger bots. How did you. This is actually the most important question. The reason I brought you on the entire show which is how did you get verified on Twitter and how can you help me get verified on Twitter.

Beau Coffron: [00:28:43] You know I think it was Twitter when I came on I researched it and I did I found an article about it and I could actually forward that to you I’ll have to find it again. But it said go through these steps and you’re likely to get verified on Twitter. And so that’s that’s what I did from my lunchbox dad account and that’s what I did for our church accounts to get verified as well. And so it just it was a matter of a little bit of a matter of time then a little bit of effort and kind of switching a few settings and really trying to figure out OK where have we been mentioned in the news and things like that. And so yeah I’ll forward you. I just follow the steps and did it so I’ll see if I can find that.

Brady Shearer: [00:29:28] I will be forever in your debt. If you can forward me that because I feel like I need to be verified Twitter because it is a selfish goal that I have.

Beau Coffron: [00:29:37] Yes. You want that blue check mark.

Brady Shearer: [00:29:40] The fact that I don’t have that blue check mark is just the amount that they are handing out blue check marks at this point like everyone seems to have. Why can’t I get one like.

Beau Coffron: [00:29:50] Exactly. You should have one. Yeah. They are missing out if you don’t have one. Is what I really figure.

Brady Shearer: [00:29:59] Well I appreciate those kind words from someone with that blue check mark. OK. Back to what people really actually care to listen about. Let’s talk about Instagram stories of one of my favorite ways of using social right now. Is this something that you’re using at Life Church and if so who’s in charge of that? How does that work?

Beau Coffron: [00:30:21] Yeah. You know Instagram stories I feel like I mean it’s so amazing and how that affects your entire Instagram account at this point. I feel like.

Brady Shearer: [00:30:31] What do You mean by that?

Beau Coffron: [00:30:32] I mean as far as gaining followers and reach for instance I’ll just give you an example. When we do Instagram stories at locations I encourage our campuses and you can encourage your ministries to do this as well. Just a simple thing like using the location sticker that’s built into Instagram stories and tagging your location because then you have a chance of showing up in your local Instagram stories feed which we’ve seen just as when that happens and I’ve seen this on my personal lunchbox dad account as well when I’m featured there which happens quite often not because of who I am. It’s just I don’t know how exactly they pick out the content but they do it by city or by area. And it really people discover you that way. And what a great free way to be discovered by people not just around the world but people like right there in your hometown it’s just so important for churches to be using this. And because this is people that are in driving distance of your church.

Brady Shearer: [00:31:32] This is one of the pro tips of Instagram stories that I’ve used and I try to use it when I’m not in my city that I live in Niagara Falls simply because all of the Instagram stories in Niagara Falls are just trash tourist stuff. There’s nothing local in our space. But sometimes what’s interesting is like like you said like I don’t know why or how they pick up these stories and include them in the overall city story. I don’t know how like why they choose that or anything like that. But however it’s done it is done and we’ve been picked up on that several times and it’s like Instagram is still one of those platforms that you can game the system and game the algorithm using hashtags with your actual posts and you can do through Instagram stories. This type of thing. Do have different Instagram accounts using different Instagram stories for campuses as well or how does that work?

Beau Coffron: [00:32:21] Yeah. Yes they have they have their own Instagram accounts all of them do and I’ve been really encouraging them to use Instagram stories more and more and it’s because of how valuable it is and how easy it is to use because once again just like Facebook live all you need is your phone. Because what I love about Instagram stories as compared to the Instagram sort of per minute feed there is that it’s really meant to be more raw and in the moment where as your permanent channel and what people see on the news feed. As we all know you kind of need those Instagram worthy shots right. And so you want these you want beautiful pictures for that you want beautiful videos but Instagram stories. It gives you the freedom to have a little bit more fun with it. Use stickers, draw on the screen and people see a more human side especially for churches. People can see a more human side behind this and just having fun with it. And like I said you just need to take out your phone and it’s sometimes that’s the first step to either Facebook live video or audio or this is just people are so afraid to just take out their phone and try it and have. I mean if you break down that barrier I feel like you’re going to almost get addicted to it in a way I like see how valuable this is and just by turning on that feed and not being afraid to push that button to record.

Brady Shearer: [00:33:33] It’s interesting how like a lot of people in churches have opinions on social media when it comes to elements of social that they’ve never actually tried at all for themselves for any like not even once much less an actual significant period of time over the course of one two or three months like you know a 90 day experiment where you could actually get some valuable data. And I understand that it can be discouraging this ever changing landscape of social media where it feels like you finally get something and you understand it and then it changes all over again. And it’s kind of just part of like being in the ecosystem this expectation and understanding that things are always changing. And the second that you have something that makes sense you will have to update it and adjust. Can you speak to that a little bit and how we should approach that like is does is just a mind shift. Knowing OK. Nothing is permanent. Everything is changing and being OK with that because nobody likes change. And so to accept that this will require ever change like never stopping change that that can be a little bit discouraging. .

Beau Coffron: [00:34:36] It absolutely can especially sometimes when we get comfortable in what we’re doing and they’re like oh my goodness. Instagram changed the algorithm again or Facebook changed this. And I think you’re right that it is just to be expected that this is going to change and you’re going to need to keep looking into it. And sometimes I. For me I like I love looking into it. I love discovering new ways to do things and kind of hopefully out of the box creative ways to do things. Just kind of how I’m wired I know not everyone is wired alike. But the great thing is with the amount of social media users that are out there. If that’s not you and you’re running your church’s social media, find a volunteer who loves doing it and who has a passion for it and kinda point them in a few different directions to keep on sort of the cutting edge there. And just like what’s new coming out. And and let them run with it. And so and just expect that it’s always going to be changing. And like you said there’s nothing we can do about it. And but here’s the thing is a lot of it’s free and it’s like it’s Facebook’s world we’re just living in it. So they they’re going to do what they want and it’s up to us to figure out how can we best use this to advance God’s King and minister to people.

Brady Shearer: [00:35:48] Let’s close this out by talking about Facebook messenger bots has been launched in the last three to six months. I think that you guys are using them what our Facebook Messenger bots and how can we begin using them? Kind of sounds like we need to build a robot ourselves it can’t be that complicated though right?

Brady Shearer: [00:36:06] We have Facebook if you don’t know Facebook Messenger bots are. I mean they’re a fairly new thing. We are. Ours is still in beta. We’re working with a company on it. And so we can’t talk about like all the details behind it. I asked them hey what can we talk about today and they’re like basically nothing because we’re still in Beta. But we can talk about bots in general. I’ll tell you a little bit about what we’ve learned through using ours is so bots work they’re kind of a plug into messenger. And people will subscribe when they click like your message button on Facebook. By the way I’ve heard a lot of people say Facebook messenger like I hate Facebook messenger I don’t use it. And so sometimes I feel like especially with social media if we have that bias that we hate something or don’t like something we project that all over the place so no one likes that or no one’s on it. And the secret trick is with Facebook Messenger it has 1.2 billion Facebook Messenger users. That’s a lot of people. And 64 percent of Facebook monthly users are on messenger. And so you figure with a couple of billion people that are on Facebook 64 percent of them that’s a huge platform that we need to at least be looking into it. Is this right. Is this a correct thing to be using for a church. And so with Facebook bots basically they click the message button and they will get a link to say hey you want to subscribe to this or get started ours says get started they click that and then they get it for us they get an automated message. If you’re listening to this right now you can go to that page. That’s an automated message that comes out and then you can actually set up in the back and for bots to answer people’s questions and it can get really complicated. And ours is pretty simple at this point. But the other part of this is that you can then once they subscribe to you you can send them messages whenever you want and which can be dangerous for some people because then it’s like hey we can promote everything whatever we want to everyone. And I don’t think that that’s a great way to use it. You got to go back to the why behind the what what are your goals with social media and and use. If you get a Facebook messenger bot just use it the same way. But another great thing is because it’s so new. Facebook has also released this discovery area and they’ll feature different accounts on there that have bots that people can check out. And it’s they have different categories like religion or spirituality or different things like that and people can find you through that wouldn’t find your page any other way. Now we’re still in the early stages of rolling this out. But what we found is that we have an open rate right now of 83 percent of stuff that we send to people which is to me that’s I mean that’s amazing that 83 percent of people are opening these messages from us. And so I think that’s just such a great tool and there’s so many good possibilities out there. And the danger is that we want to make it all scheduled. We want to make it all robotic but we want I think we need to remember that this is there’s a human element here and so for our team we’ve been flooded with requests since we installed this bot and and it goes into like a normal Facebook message area. And we count it a privilege to be able to to pray for these people and engage behind the scenes with these people. And we don’t want to use it just promote events and so we want to use it once again for one of our main goals is to minister to people. And so when we were originally looking at I was really tempted for that first message that people get to put hey go to life.church to find out more. And I think that’s our natural tendency. Hey we want to send people to our Web site, we want to send people here. But what we eventually landed on is here’s one sentence about Life Church and how can we pray for you right now. Because I went back to our goals with our social media and so that I think opens up the gate that my friend Dave Adamson, I love what he says is we want to end sentences more sentences with questions than we do with periods. And I think that’s just an amazing thing to remember for social media.

Brady Shearer: [00:40:12] In the grand scope of all the things that you’re doing you know the twenty six locations eight different states. So many individuals watching online, visiting in person what role does social media play in the grand scope of what you’re trying to accomplish as a church and how important is or is it not?

Beau Coffron: [00:40:31] It is. I believe it is huge it’s one of the biggest ways to just meet people where they’re at and churches talk about this all the time it’s not just about people coming in it’s about going out and meeting people where they’re at. And that’s what we really think here is that and this is one of the best tools out there right now that anyone could use for meeting people where they’re at. And that’s kind of what it boils down to and it’s just it’s the gospel, it’s Jesus, ministry and it’s people with changed lives because of Jesus. And if we can meet people where they’re at then let’s do it and let’s put everything that we can into doing that.

Brady Shearer: [00:41:11] When we’re recording this seed’s conference which is church on the moves church communications I guess is not limited to that but it’s their big conference where people travel to them and see what’s up and it was interesting I wasn’t able to attend but I’m following on social media. So Steven Posey who’s their communications director kind of following as he’s tweeting along. And it’s interesting because last night there was a question that came through and someone was asking about you know hey what are you guys doing with with social media. And who takes care of that like the exact question was you know this person from a church was asking and they said well I run all the social media for my church pictures, Instagram stories, Facebook, everything. How many people do you have on your team for that? And they’re asking church on the move church of you know 20K and Steven respond to me he’s like right now it’s just me. And I was like This isn’t something that I thought this was uncommon the first time I heard this but I’ve been hearing it again and again where massive churches and they only have like one person in charge of it and if you kept up with the thread on Twitter. Stephen eventually said he’d like to see you know we’re hiring right now a full time social media manager and that person will recruit and manage a team of you know social volunteers I just think like to have a church that recognizes the importance of social. Like you just said. And then sometimes it doesn’t seem like the amount of people working on it maps to that. Is this a disconnect that doesn’t exist and I’m just missing something or what would you say?

Beau Coffron: [00:42:31] I would say that’s the amount of full time staff that someone has running social does not equate to how important they feel that social is. And so like for us I’m the full time staff person here doing social media. However I’m in a ton of high level conversations about what is happening throughout the church and how we can better meet people where they’re at and invite people introduce people to Jesus and everyone sees the role not that I play but that social media plays in that. And our volunteer team is amazing. I tell people all the time we couldn’t do what we’d do without our ball into your team. And I think sometimes churches have a sort of tendency that they see a problem and they want to hire for it. And I’m all for hiring someone for a leading social media and a person that has a passion for it and loves it and I think it’s so necessary and I think we’re just going to see that grow and churches and communications departments it’s so important now. I’m all for that. But sometimes we’ll want to hire away the problem as opposed to looking within our own people and saying these are people waiting to serve in a ministry and they’re looking for where God is wired them to serve and change people’s lives and I was just on a video meeting with community leaders last night and I said and we get to do this together. And if we hired someone to do everything for it I could rob someone else of being involved in the ministry and how in helping them serve you guys call them to serve. And so I think there’s a balance there. And so I think that we just need to be careful with that that we see that it’s a ministry and we do need staff people. But there’s also people waiting to serve because there’s so many people on social media.

Brady Shearer: [00:44:20] Super helpful super helpful. OK where can people find you Beau. Obviously we talked to but lunchbox dad If people want to ask you more about hey what’s happening in life church with social or connect with you on your own personal channels. Tell us a little bit about that.

Beau Coffron: [00:44:33] Yeah like I said at lunch box dad at my personal social handles you can connect with us on the life church channels. You can e-mail me if you want to [email protected] And I love just connecting with people. And also we also have our open. We didn’t talk about this much but our open church area open.church and and this is a whole department that is dedicated to helping churches and answering questions and giving free resources everywhere to churches so everything that we produce here at life church we give away for free. And so to any church at any time and we want to help them because we feel we’re better together. And so that’s a great another great resource for people that are wondering how to get better at social media or any other area ministry. But yeah just email me I love getting e-mails and I’ll answer whatever questions I can.

Brady Shearer: [00:45:30] Yeah life church is tremendously generous with all of their material and platforms and open church is the best starting point for that. Well thanks for coming on the show. Like I said it was well overdue. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you yet that you want to leave with pro church nation? Before we sign off.

Beau Coffron: [00:45:47] Just that everyone needs to tweet out that Brady and pro church tools needs that blue check mark on Twitter. Do that right now just let Twitter.

Brady Shearer: [00:45:56] Imagine if that was the actually you like the way that made it happen. How many people that you could get to tweet at the main account. Well thanks again for coming on the show. Beau it’s been a blast. .

Beau Coffron: [00:46:13] Thanks so much for having me.

Brady Shearer: [00:46:15] All right. There you have it my interview with Beau Coffin in the social media director for Life Church. We talked about the structure of social media management at life church how they manage their staff, their campuses, their volunteers and how to manage social when you have a church with multiple campuses. We talk about the why behind the what. For life church on social the importance of having fun on social media. Live video and why it’s the best social media strategy of 2017. Facebook live audio. What it is when it’s coming. Hoe Life Church is using it. We talked about Instagram stories acknowledging that social will never stop changing and why we all need to be OK with that and finally closing things out talking about how life church is building a Facebook Messenger bot and the future of AI and how it’s going to integrate within social automate things and also make things a little bit more interesting. With all that being said a big thanks to Beau for coming on the show and giving a ton of value to us at Pro church nation. Each one of us appreciates it so thank you so much for that. With that being said it’s time for our review of the week and this review comes from the USA from Joe 9 7 5 5 2 5 stars it says for someone looking to improve their church’s communications. This podcast is a must every episode contains helpful tips and tools for improving the way your church shares the gospel. Definitely encourage you to subscribe and if you haven’t already subscribed to the podcast you can go to pro church podcast dot com and subscribe there or whatever app that you’re listening to this podcast through if you’re on your mobile device you can click that subscribe button there and get every new session of the pro church podcast delivered to you automatically via that mobile app. We publish three new sessions every single week each Tuesday. An interview with an expert within church communications just like this one with Beau. Every Thursday the pro church podcast coaching edition where I coach a church real time. We record the entire hour session unedited uncut and you get to hear the whole thing. Listen in on how other churches are tackling this new world of communications that we’re all trying to wade through. And then every Saturday a new episode of the Ask Brady Show four questions from the great people of pro church nation answered in a 20 to 30 minute question and answer form alongside my co-host Roxanne. So three great sessions every single week. All very different. All equally valuable in their own way if you haven’t yet subscribed go approach podcast non-comp and hit that subscribe button so every new session is delivered to you automatically means the world to me. We’ll be back with another session very shortly. Thanks for listening. This is Brady signing off for now. Let’s talk real soon.

  • Hey Brady, did you get the article Beau wrote about Twitter verification, and are you gonna share? 😉