Antioch Community Church has a demographic of mostly young adults with 50% of their congregation being college students, but they have yet to tap into the full power of their social media presence. Brady sits down with Jonathan, their Administrative Pastor, in this session of the Pro Church Podcast: Coaching Edition to build a social media strategy and begin connecting with their demographic outside of their Sunday service.
Meet The Church Being Coached
- Church Name: Antioch Community Church
- Church Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Church Age: 5 years
- Church Size: 500
- On the coaching call: Jonathan Schneider – Administrative Pastor
Show Notes & Resources Mentioned
- Antioch Community Church on Facebook
- Antioch Community Church on Instagram
- Antioch Community Church on Spotify
- Antioch Community Church’s Website
- Brady on Instagram
3 Instant Takeaways
- Post every single day. Never miss a day. When it comes to social media and building an audience, consistency is key. One of the biggest mistakes we see is inconsistent posting.
- Prioritize community on social media. Drop your promotional posts down to around 20% of your content and ask yourself what would be valuable to your audience to fill the other 80%. A great way to frame this is to ask yourself – what would I post if we didn’t have a Sunday service?
- It’s okay to have fun. Interact with your audience. Ask fun questions. Let people see the human side of your church.
The Full Transcript
Brady: Hey there welcome to the Pro Church Podcast Coaching Edition. 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 God has here, won’t get us there. I’m Brady, your host, and right now you’re going to sit in with me as I coach and consult with a church in real-time. It’s raw. It’s unedited, and we’re solving real church problems. So let’s dive right in.
[00:00:30] Well, hey there Pro Church Nation and welcome to another session of the Pro Church Podcast Coaching Edition. In this podcast, I’m going to be speaking live with a church. You’ll get to sit in on our coaching session together. Nothing is off limits and everything is recorded.
Today, we are welcoming a Jonathan Snyder to the show. Jonathan, what’s up?
Jonathan: Nothing too much, how are you?
Brady: I’m doing extraordinarily well. We like to start off every single one of these coaching sessions with a little bit of a lightning round; five quick questions. You ready?
Jonathan: [00:01:00] Yep.
Brady: Perfect. Okay. Question number one, what is the name of your church.
Jonathan: Antioch Community Church of Baton Rouge.
Brady: And where is your church located? I guess it’s in the name.
Jonathan: Yep. Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Brady: Perfect. How old is the church?
Jonathan: The church is approaching five years in August.
Brady: How big is your church?
Jonathan: About 500 people.
Brady: And what is your role at the church?
Jonathan: I’m the Administrative Pastor, but that means I kind of do a little bit of everything. Just being a church plant. From operations to youth to social media; [00:01:30] a little bit of everything.
Brady: Perfect. So we’ve got Antioch Community Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. About 5 years old. About 500 people and we’ve got Jonathan the admin pastor, which really means “the everything” pastor, on the call.
All right. So Jonathan I’m going to pass this over to you, and wherever you want to take this we can take it. What do you want to tackle in this next hour of coaching that we have together.
Jonathan: One of our biggest things, right now, is we’re a church of five [00:02:00] years old, smaller staff, even smaller creative team. But we’re looking at the way larger churches are doing it, like Elevation and Hillsong; those kind of churches. Amazing social media content. We kind of wonder how do we scale that to what we do.
Then also, we’re a church of 5 years old, and never really used social media to market ourselves really well. We have accounts, but as far as paid advertising and those sort of things we’ve never looked at. So just questions about that.
Brady: Perfect. [00:02:30] Let’s first talk about which social platform that you’re present on.
Jonathan: We’re on Instagram. We’re on Facebook. We use to be present on Twitter; our account still active but we haven’t used it really.
Brady: Perfect. Okay. So Instagram and Facebook, the main two?
Brady: Perfect. That’s a good place to start, because that’s where I recommend most churches put in their time on social. Let’s talk about what you’re currently doing on each platform. When it comes to [00:03:00] strategy or your approach to each, what does that look like?
Jonathan: Sure. For Instagram, I took it over a couple weeks ago. The idea right now is … So Sunday, is just kind of hyping up Sunday mornings, our services, what’s goin on. Monday, the hope is to post something normally in the evening time, like a video spot of Sunday morning. Then, throughout the week, it’s more so highlighting Sunday morning and also highlighting our life groups, [00:03:30] which are kind of like community groups, and then different events that we have going on during the week. Towards the weekend, Friday, Saturday, start advertising Sunday’s again.
Brady: Perfect. I’m looking at your Instagram account in particular right now.
Brady: You should know, Jonathan, that you have a huge advantage over most churches that I speak with. And that is that you’ve already got a significant number of followers on your actually churches account. So you’ve got 329 accounts [00:04:00] that you, as a church as following, but you’ve got 1246 followers, which is huge, because your follower to following ratio is about four to one on the right side of things. Can you talk a little bit about how you have so many followers on Instagram?
Jonathan: Sure. I guess, when our church got started we just pushed Instagram as our main social media platform and encouraged a lot of our, we have a young church, and encouraged a lot of our church to … Anytime you’re with anyone from church to tag [00:04:30] us, to use the #AntiochBR. Anytime you’re at an event, post. Through that we got followers. Then also, even initially we starting following a lot of people and got followers through that, but even kind of went through after that and said, “Okay. Who still is a part of our church? We’ll continue to follow them,” but other people we discontinued following.
Brady: You mentioned that your church skews on the younger side of things. Can we talk a little bit about those demographics? What the average age group or age of individual that coming to your church?
Jonathan: [00:05:00] Being in Baton Rouge is super close to LSU, and so 50% of our church is college students, then another 25% is young adults of basically 20-30. Then families, another 10-15%, and then youth makes up the remainder.
Brady: Perfect. That makes a lot of sense as to why you’re Instagram account is excelling, especially compared to your Facebook account. You’ve got 976 like on [00:05:30] your Facebook account. It is very unusually to see a church with more Instagram followers than likes on their Facebook account. But that makes sense based on your demographics. I’d love to dive in a talk a little bit about Instagram. First, how often are you posting? Is it a daily thing? Bi-daily? A couple times a week?
Jonathan: Recently, whenever I took over and started being the at least daily, sometimes we’re doing bi-daily depending on content. Like I said, we try to advertise for Sunday’s, but then even we have an app, we have podcast, we [00:06:00] Spotify account; those sort of things we try to just kind of throw out and advertise and market to that.
Brady: Perfect. Again, you have a great thing going for you, in that whatever it was whether it was when you just started or just having a consistent presence over five years, which cannot be understated, you’ve got this huge Instagram following especially for a church your size. I’m looking at the engagement. The engagement that you’re getting is really good as well. [00:06:30] You’ve got 1246 followers and your most recent post, which was just 16 hours ago, which means it still going to get more traction and more likes, already has 113 likes on it.
So you’ve go good engagement, which means that the followers that you do have aren’t just fake or bots or non-engaged users that follow you but do really ever check in. What this means is that, you’re in a great position to scale what you’re already doing. What I mean by that is, I think you’ve got a great, great position to actually [00:07:00] begin putting more resources into what you’re doing on your Instagram account.
The first thing I would say is that you need to be posting every single day, if you’re not already, makes sure that you’re doing it. Never miss a day. It is so important to be consistent on social media. One of the biggest mistakes that we see churches making is inconsistency, and it looks like you’re posting pretty consistently but I think that you can do that even more.
Make a rule for yourself. Be like, “I’m going to get up and every Monday I’m going to spend some time on Monday scheduling throughout the week.” This is what I do. Every Monday, and we’re recording this on [00:07:30] a Monday so it’s timely. Today, I woke up at six, I started. I go to work and what I did was I scheduled Instagram posts that I wanted to go out for the next seven days. Now, maybe that’s not doing to work into your work flow and the way that church culture kind of naturally goes, but you can schedule every three days. You can schedule every morning, whatever it might be. Just make sure that you’re posting every single day, because the way I see it, you’re in a position that most churches aren’t Jonathan. That is that you’ve got this great following on Instagram.
What I want [00:08:00] you to do is to take advantage of that and don’t it lightly. Most churches would kill to have what you already have, at a church of your size. If you can recognize that, and be aware of how much of an enviable situation that you’re in, hopefully that will map to your actions and cause you to take it really seriously, which it looks like you are.
First thing, I would post every single day. The second thing that I would do, is revisit the strategy that you’re approaching Instagram [00:08:30] with, because what stood out to me when I asked you, “What are you trying to do on Instagram.” You’re like, “Okay. Well we hype up Sunday’s, and then we post about what happened on Sunday’s. Then during the week, we talk about our events and then we hype up Sunday’s again.” I think that if you really want to see success on Instagram, I think that you need to tweak that strategy, because right now it sounds about like 100% of the content you’re posting, even though you did mention the podcast and the Spotify playlist briefly, so let’s say 90% of what you’re posting or 80% of what you’re posting [00:09:00] is about your church’s services and events.
What I want you to do, is flip that, inverse that, so that only 20% of what you’re posting about is your services and events. The reason for this is because if you’re posting even on a Monday or a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, about your upcoming service, it’s just not really timely or really something that most of your followers will care about. You got to think about it this way. If I’m following Antioch Baton Rouge on Instagram, [00:09:30] why am I following them? If you really get inside of the mind of the people that are following your Instagram account, the question that you want to begin asking yourself is, “Okay. How can what I post on Instagram be valuable to these people?” Right, because when you’re posting about your events and your services all the time, what you’re intrinsically saying is, “This social media account is all about what I want to get from you.” Rather than what I want to give to you. And what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to siphon [00:10:00] the attention of Instagram from Instagram and siphon that into real life. But You’ve already got your followers attention. They’re already on Instagram.
So the question I want you to ask yourself and your team Jonathan, that will hopefully help trigger this perspective shift is, “What would we post on Instagram, if our Sunday service didn’t exist? What would we post on Instagram, if we weren’t always promoting this next Sunday that coming around?” That’s what’s going to allow you to fill that [00:10:30] kind of 80% of content that needs to be stuff that’s just not promoting what you’re doing in person.
Instagram is giving you this amazing channel. You’ve got these students and these young people who are thirsty for God. They want to know about what it takes to really be a followers of Jesus in a true and real way. Your church, I imagine is helping to map that. What is your mission statement as a church? I’m looking at it on your Facebook page. It says, “Love God, love each other, change the world.” How can you help the people that [00:11:00] are following you on Instagram love God, love each other and change the world? How can you help people do that?
Obviously, your services exist, Jonathan, to help people do that right?
Brady: That same thing needs to apply to the digital world. It’s very difficult to get someone attention from a social place and bring them into a live event. That reflects simply on your actual followers, right? You’ve got two and a half times as many followers on Instagram as you do have in your weekly attendance, which means … [00:11:30] And that’s not uncommon, that’s not a knock on you. That’s just the way that our attention and culture is sitting right now. So what you want to do is take your mission statement, “Love God, love each other, change the world.”. Think you your self, “Okay. I’m going to purposefully disconnect the idea that the best way to accomplish that mission statement on social is to tell people to come to our services.” That’s kind of like the easy way out, right?
Jonathan: [crosstalk 00:11:50].
Brady: Think to yourself. Okay. I want a young person who’s attending LSU. I want a young family. I want a young adult. I want a teenager. I want to help them love God, [00:12:00] love each other, change the world on Instagram.” The great thing is, when you have a three pronged mission statement like that, you can focus on any of those three things individually.
Okay. So how do I want someone … I don’t want to help someone today on Instagram love God. Once you’ve kind of got that directive. Once you’ve got that due north on your compass, then you can reverse engineer the type of content that actually going to get people to that place. That’s kind of like the macro idea. What are your thoughts on this?
Jonathan: I think that’s great. Just kind of [00:12:30] looking at our mission statement, “Love God, love each other, change the world.” I think that makes our church who we are. Even love each other, one of the biggest points of our church is our life groups. Whenever people say, “We love Antioch,” it’s because of our life groups. Some people in the community say, ” We do community the best.” So I think utilizing that and promoting that and like you said, “Sunday’s aren’t everything.” Especially for us, they really aren’t. I think using Instagram to promote that more, and even change the world, [00:13:00] we’ve got a lot of missionaries throughout the world this summer even. So we’ve been trying to post that a little more. Testimony updates on what’s happening. How we can be praying for them and that sort of thing. Yeah, so I think that’s great. I like that idea.
Brady: An is that interesting, because even as you just said, Sunday’s and having an entire church that built around a single hour on Sunday, that’s not really us, and yet when I look at this Instagram account that’s what I see.
Brady: There’s a big change that we can make. [00:13:30] If I’m being extra hard on you or anything like that, just know that its because you are in such a good situation that I don’t wat to see you take this for granted or lose out on all the opportunities that you have. Because if you start posting every single day, consistently for three, six, nine, 12 months, and if you start posting every single day content that’s valuable, independent of what you’re doing in person, what you’re going to see is this Instagram account double, triple, even more over the next 12-18 months. What that’s going to allow you [00:14:00] to do is get more people connected to your church and eventually you post enough good content in that 80% window. The people are finding you valuable on Instagram, it makes sense to them, they’re liking, they’re interacting, when you do post about your church service, when you do post about your life groups, they’re going to be so much more likely to connect to those.
Brady: You can post every single day about your church services, but if your account isn’t growing, because you’re not being valuable enough [00:14:30] to people, it won’t matter that you’re posting that call to action, and that ask every single day. But if you keep giving and giving and giving 80% of the time; when you do ask those 20% of the time you’re more likely to get a positive response.
Do you want to walk through what an actually posting strategy would look like? Like what kind of content should I be posting, and stuff like that?
Jonathan: Yeah, that would be great. I guess one of my questions in that is, it so much easier on Sunday mornings to get content. You have photographers, we’re video tapping the sermons, it’s easier to come up with [00:15:00] actual posts and pictures. But throughout the week, what are some strategies and tips to get more content, I guess?
Brady: Perfect. Let’s first talk about Sunday, and ake sure we have that information at least have that strategy dialed in, because you’re right. What’s great about your account is that you do have a lot of great photos. I’m not saying that you should not use those photos. In fact, you can most definitely leverage those photos, that’s a great idea. One of the things that I would [00:15:30] do on Sunday, is post hat I like to call, “The Sunday morning post.”
The Sunday Morning Post, is essentially an empty row of seats, or an empty parking lot or an empty stage or some type of behind the scenes of showing what Sunday morning is like empty. The calm before the storm getting ready. When someone rolls out of their bed on a Sunday morning, all of us are inclined to check social media probably sooner than we’d rather admit. Meaning, when someone rolls out of bed on Sunday morning, and they’ve got [00:16:00] to consider, “Okay, I got to get up. I got to get dressed. Maybe, I got to get the kids ready.” You got to get in the car, “I got to drive to Dunham School, were the church is located. I got to do all of that.”
A lot goes in to getting ready and coming to a church on a Sunday morning. There’s a reason in our current culture, that we’re only attending Sunday’s one out of very two on average. The average family is attending church every other week basically, because there’s a lot of things that get in the way of that. You want as much as possible, to encourage people to attend on Sunday morning.
[00:16:30] So on a Sunday morning, I would post what I call, that Sunday Morning Post. You want to make it early, six, seven, eight, before service empty chairs. Empty parking lot. Empty stage. People getting ready, pastor going over his or her notes, anything that’s going to show people when thy wake up, “Look. It’s going to be worth coming to church today. We are preparing for you. Were getting ready.”
You mentioned Elevation earlier, they do a great job of this. On their Instagram stories, and on their actual posts. Every Sunday morning, you kind of see a beforehand; the calm before the storm, and then you see [00:17:00] boom services started and everyone is there. When you do this week after week, what it does is it kind of creates this rhythm of expectation and then execution on what happens on a Sunday morning.
Great things are going to happen. Great things do happen. That’s what I would suggest on a Sunday. The great thing about the way you’re doing things on a Sunday, is you have a ton of content. How can we repurpose that content throughout the week and find new ways to use Instagram natively to share that.
One thing that I do in my Instagram accounts, is that I do quote posts. And the reason [00:17:30] that quote post are so successful, even now, is that they are easy to digest on social, right. Think about the way that we use social media, especially on Instagram and Facebook. We’re scrolling through. We’re scrolling through, and really the goal of a post on social media should be what I like to say, “Stopping the Scroll.” You want to grab someone’s attention just enough to make them stop scrolling and then actually engage with the content that you’re posting out. If we can’t get their attention, it won’t really matter if we post great stuff or even it doesn’t matter what [00:18:00] we post at all, if we can’t get their attention. I like to say, “Attention is the most valuable commodity that your church can possess.” This is true on Instagram like its true in so many other places. You’ve got to make them stop scrolling, pay attention.
Quote post are great for this, because we know after using social media for as long as we have, we know that a quote post and a quote in general is so easy to digest that we might be more than likely to stop scrolling, because we know it’s only going to take a couple of seconds of our time. The amount of time that we invest [00:18:30] in the post, the ROI on that will actually be pretty good, because the quote might give us a little bit of affirmation. A jolt of determination, a jolt of encouragement; what a nice feeling as I continue to scroll through my social feed.
What I would do is … I would have someone listening to what your pastor is sharing each week. I would have someone taking inventory of the podcast. It could be your pastor sharing with the team his or her message notes. The type of stuff that shows exactly; here are the main points. [00:19:00] If you’re going to drag a quote from somewhere, here’s where it might be, because this is the big point that I’m trying to hit home.
Then what I would do, is I would take that quote and I’d put it on top of one of the pictures of your pastor preaching from that week. You’ll see me do this all the time on my Pro Church Tools, or rather on my personal @BradyShearer account on Instagram. I’ll take a picture of me doing a podcast, of me recording a video and then I’ll put an actual quote on top of that. The whole point of the quote, and [00:19:30] to make this work well, is the quote had to actually be pretty good. Right Jonathan?
I see churches do this all the time, where they put on something that is like … The quote is okay, but it’s not exactly something that makes you go “Hm.” You want to have a digital “Hm.” Just like if you’re in Pastor Stephens message and people are shouting him down, you want to have a digital shout down. Something that make someone go “Oh yeah. I really like that.” There are so many different ways to do this. Like I said, if there’s anyone who does this better right now, than Steven Furtick, I don’t know of [00:20:00] him or her.
One I saw recently that I really liked was, “The proof of passion is perseverance.”
Brady: 17,000 likes. Now you can’t expect to get that many, and nobody can you know Steven’s a unicorn, and so is Elevation. We don’t necessarily want to pretend or hope to be something like that, but that quote, what makes it great is obviously the alliteration, right? The purpose, the passion, the perseverance; you’ve got three keywords. It’s also very short and so it’s very easy to read and digest, and [00:20:30] it contains a huge amount of truth. In the caption of that post, Pastor Steve shares an actual verse from the bible that comes out of it. It’s from Revelation. It says, “I know your deeds, your hard work, your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those that claim to be apostles but are not and have found them false. You’ve persevered and endured hardships for my name and have not grown weary.”
What Furtick does, is he takes that verse and puts it into one, two, three, four, five, [00:21:00] six words. Six words, three of which are the letter “p” and he takes that verse from Revelation and summarizes it into six words that are easy to remember and are sticky. That’s what makes a great quote post, right? So you can take something like that, put it on top of your pastor preaching and you can do that one, two, even three times a week. Now, if you’re going to do it three times a week, you’ve got to be really good with the quotes. I’d probably over in next to one or two. Lean more towards that, but that’s another type of post that you can do.
A third type [00:21:30] of post that I love, is called “the fun question post.” I love to do these once a week or once every other week of churches. Basically the hole goal of this post is to stimulate conversation and engagement. Every once in a while, you want to put out a post that has a huge boost in engagement to signal to the algorithms of Insta, and Facebook, that people like what you’re posting. And what that’s going to do is when you signal that boost [00:22:00] to the algorithm of Instagram, you’re more likely to get more organic reach the next time.
Instagram is no longer the way it use to be. Kind of the way Facebook use to be, where chronological order ever post showed up. Now, they’re working with an algorithm. So you want to do everything you can to tell that algorithm, “Hey. You want to prioritize what we post, because we post good stuff. And the people that do see our stuff like it. So you should let more people see it.” That’s what you want to communicate to the algorithm. One way to trick and signal to the algorithm in a good way is [00:22:30] to have a post that has a huge amount of engagement and then again that’s going to be working favorable for you and your church.
A fun question. What you want to do is ask the type of question that is non-threatening, innocent, and will not in any way stir up controversy.
Brady: A question like, “Hey. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” Or a question like,” What’s your favorite summer activity?” These are questions that are really fun and easy to answer. You don’t want it to be like a deep question. You don’t want it [00:23:00] to be a question that requires vulnerability, or personal insight. But if someone asks, “What my favorite ice cream flavor?” I need to tell them that it’s bubble gum, because what kind of grown man likes bubble gum, me, that’s who and I love that stuff.
Look, if you don’t have bubble gum, I will settle for cotton candy, but I only want child flavored ice cream. Don’t bring that strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, Rocky Road, don’t bring that into my life, Jonathan. Give me the cotton candy, or the bubble gum ice cream. You see something like that and you’re just like, “Oh man, [00:23:30] that such a fun question to ask and to answer.” So you feel inclined and compelled to do it.
Jonathan: Question for you?
Brady: Yah, go ahead.
Jonathan: Okay. So what are some of the graphics for those kind of pictures? Is it ice cream posts or is it, wat would you recommend for something like that?
Brady: I would always prefer that you do something that is a photograph.
Brady: Those will always perform better, and the more photographs you do the more that you kind of build your visual brand. [00:24:00] One thing we’ve begun doing here, at Pro Church Tools, is we have a photographer on staff, and I don’t know if you have someone on staff at your church Jonathan, but whoever is taking the photos is doing a great job. Looks like you already have this resource.
Jonathan: Sure. Yeah. We have someone on staff and then we also have a bunch of photographers in our church. Yeah.
Brady: Again, you are just playing amazing resources. You’re ahead of the game. What I would do is I’d create a visual brand the way that we’ve done with photos, where every photo is treated similarly. Whether that’s in [00:24:30] Light Room, or whatever you might use. We takes photos and then we always treat them similarly in Light Room, so that when you see a photo from Pro Church Tools it stands out and it looks the same to all the other ones that you’ve seen.
I would take a picture of someone in your church that either people know or don’t know with an ice cream cone. Super Simple. It could be a fun thing that you could do just over lunch. Take you and the other person, go grab some ice cream at the shop a couple streets over, and take a picture of you eating the ice cream cone.
You could go with a stock photo. You [00:25:00] could go with a graphic, but it’s just not going to have the same impact, you know?
Brady: And because-
Jonathan: We’re noticing that-
Brady: Go ahead.
Jonathan: We’re noticing that from some of our graphics, like we’ll post important graphics, but they’re just kind of still and bland and they honestly don’t get as much engagement as just normal photographs.
Brady: Real photographs of people in your church will always outperform graphics.
Brady: It’s just the way that or brains work. We respond better to people than we do fonts, makes sense right? [00:25:30] It’s not exactly rocket science, and because you have the resources to do this I always want to see you taking pictures. Again, you have the resources to do so, where other churches just don’t.
Other churches need to use a fun picture or a fun graphic of an ice cream cone, because they just don’t have a great photographer. That being said, our phones continue to be better and better. I took a picture, this is coincidental, at a rib fest on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. It was a Sunday, [00:26:00] and I was out with my daughter. It was actually Father’s Day, and we were both eating an ice cream cone. I handed my iPhone 7 plus to my wife, she put it on portrait mode, which meant the background was blurred out on that new iPhone 7 plus ability. She took the picture of me and Lilly, my daughter, eating ice cream and the photo is amazing. Taken on my phone. Looks professional, because of that portrait mode.
We’re getting closer to be able to do this without incredibly expensive cameras, because our cameras in our pockets [00:26:30] are just getting better. That’s another idea. A great way to stimulate engagement and its just fun. It breaks up the monotony of here’s what’s going on in our church, here’s the sermon things. Here’s a spiritual thing. It’s okay to have fun, right?
Jonathan: It’s good, yeah.
Brady: Do you want me to just keep going throughout posts I’ve used, or do you want to stop. I know you had to stop me there, because I was just kind of on roll. What are your thoughts?
Jonathan: You can keep going.
Brady: Perfect. Another type of post that I like to do is, let me think of [00:27:00] another one that I want to share with you. I don’t want to do that one. What have we got so far. We’ve got quotes. We’ve got fun question. We’ve got Sunday morning. Okay, great. Let’s do this one.
Let’s do what I like to call, “The volunteer spotlight post.” Pretty self-explanatory. Basically, you take a picture of someone who’s volunteering. Again, this is someone that you can take on a Sunday and then repurpose throughout the week. I would do this every single week. Take a picture of someone who is [00:27:30] volunteering and then just share their story in the caption.
What I love on Instagram is the fact that you can put in a ton of stuff in the caption. They let you type in a ton of characters, like thousands of characters in that caption. What I would do is take a picture of them volunteering and then share the story of how they’ve impacted your church for the better.
Brady: Don’t take this and make it a huge promotion for volunteering, because that circumvents and undoes the greatness of [00:28:00] what this post template can be. But take the picture and then just tell the story. “Janet started coming to Antioch six months ago, she immediately felt at home when she got involved in the kid’s ministry. The first time she ever did kids, she was really nervous, and she actually came 30 minutes early, because she wanted to make sure she was prepared. It was so funny, everyone had a good laugh. Say Hi, to Janet.” You know?
Brady: That’s the simplest way of doing things, but because it’s story it’s so much more fun to read and interact with. That’s what you want to do, you want to tell [00:28:30] a story. Don’t just say, “This is Janet name and this is where she serves.” Say that, but then write it in a way of a narrative of a story. It can be as simple as, “She was nervous and came early.” Everyone has a story like that, whether it was nervous she came early, or whether she said the wrong thing her first time, or whether she was really afraid and so she didn’t volunteer for a while, but then she finally took the leap. Like there’s so many different things that you can do. To find these stories, all you want to do is just leverage your existing relationships, or the existing relationships [00:29:00] of others.
You can start the volunteer spotlight by taking pictures of volunteers that you know personally. So you could go to one of the student ministers, you can go to one of the young adults pastors. A young adult leader or whatever it might be, because we’re doing volunteers not pastors. That was my bad. You can just start with that, someone where you know and have an existing relationship that you could leverage. But the volunteer spotlight post is again great.
Right now we’ve got, lets say two quotes, one Sunday morning, one fun question, one volunteer spotlight, [00:29:30] this only leaves two more that we need to fill in and these are ones that you can redo again and again. They’re things that are templates. They’re not just “post this once and then you’re running out of ideas.” But you can do a new volunteer every week. You can do new quotes every single week. New fun questions ever single week.
You mentioned Spotify. Anther one that I love is the new music post. It’s always fun to discover new music, ad so you could take a screen shot of a Spotify song that you’re digging or someone on staff is loving and share that. [00:30:00] Again, that’s content that’s valuable on its own, but it kind of speaks to the DNA it sounds like of your church, because you mentioned the music on your own volution.
Jonathan: Yeah. Worship is important for us. We get comments about that every Sunday of how important it is and so it’s a big part of our community.
Brady: Yeah, and you could even use that as you guys are working on new songs, introducing new songs to the church, you could post about that a week or two beforehand. Maybe a couple of people will listen to that song before you actually introduce it to the congregation and then they’re more [00:30:30] familiar with it. They sing along more. The song goes off better. There are so many great side effects of doing social the way it’s meant to be done, that we don’t consider, but happened once we begin doing social the way that it was meant to be done from the beginning.
Okay, do you want to do more social media posts ideas, because we can kind of keep rolling with this if you want.
Jonathan: I feel like I’ve got that down. I’m thinking through Facebook. That’s something that we have had account [00:31:00] have close to a thousand followers, but really don’t use right now. Like I’m committed to posting consistently on Instagram, but Facebook I feel like for younger people it’s outgrown. But we want to grown generationally. What does Facebook look like? Posting daily or that sort of thing.
Brady: Here is the absolute best Facebook strategy that I have for churches in 2017. [00:31:30] It is super simple. It’s free, and it will give you a ton of organic reach that Facebook obviously doesn’t shell out lightly. Every times Facebook launches a new feature, they couple it with giving you an incentive to actually use that new feature. It’s new, not a lot of people ar using it, Facebook says to themselves, “How can we get more people to use this? I know. We’ll give people free additional organic reach if they use this new feature, because we want them to use it. We think it’s important to improving the experience of Facebook. So let’s give [00:32:00] our users and Facebook page owners extra organic reach in exchange for them using this.”
This happened when video first came to Facebook, and right now it’s happening with live video. So what I would recommend you do is have your lead pastor do a weekly or even biweekly, twice a week, five to ten minute Facebook Live session on their mobile device. I’m not talking about live streaming your sermon. I’m not talking about anything extensive or complicated. Vertical video. Take out their phone, open the Facebook app, go live [00:32:30] on the churches Facebook page and for five to ten minutes, do a weekly Facebook Live, where you’re interacting with your actual Facebook audience.
This is going to get more organic reach than a video, a photo or definitely a text post, and it’s an amazing way to show what your pastor is like throughout the week. When it comes to the content of this Facebook Live, what you want to do is you want to focus on something that is different than an average attender of your church would see on a week to week basis. Every [00:33:00] single week that someone comes to church, they see your pastor on stage telling them about what it means to follow Jesus. Telling them about what it means to be a disciple. Well, what you can use Facebook Live to do, especially because it’s potable on your mobile device, is use it to show what it’s like to love God and what was your mission statement again? Love God something, change the world.
Jonathan: “Love God, love each other, change the world.”
Brady: Each other. I knew I wasn’t people. Love God, love each other, change the world. Okay. How can I, as a lead pastor, demonstrate that not just talk about it. [00:33:30] Here’s some examples. Have your pastor, from his or her home, talk about what they’re learning about being a parent that week, and the struggles they’re facing. Have your pastor on date night is spend five to ten minutes talking about being a spouse and being married that week, or don’t do it on date night if that’s too intrusive, but do it from the home.
Have them talk about their health or nutrition goals while they’re eating out getting they’re lunch. Have them talk about what they’re learning and growing in when it comes [00:34:00] to spirituality. What they’re struggling with and have them do that from where they do they’re devotionals; maybe it’s their office. The whole point of this is to emphasize this idea that we talk all about in film that I’m try to translate to social media that is, “Show don’t tell.” It’s so much easier to demonstrate an idea that’s important to someone than it is to just tell them about it. This what makes stories so powerful. Right?
Brady: Story is the most convincing and powerful [00:34:30] form of human communication, because it draw us into a narrative where we see ourselves as the lead character and that’s hat makes it so persuasive. Let’s say your pastor is doing a series called, “Gravedigger.” Which is always the example sermon that I use, because I love to say it like a movie voice. “Gravedigger”, that’s the sermon series that you’re working on, Gravedigger. And the whole idea of the sermon series is bringing dead to life. This is what Jesus does. This is [00:35:00] what being a follower of Jesus is all about; bringing what is dead to life. Both the souls of people, but also physical bodies, but also like in much smaller ways. Like, you use to be dead to joy, but then through Jesus you’ve rediscovered a vibrancy in life that didn’t exist before.
You use to be dead when it came to empathy towards others. You were all about yourself. You were selfish, but [00:35:30] now through ess you’ve com alive to what it means to be selfless and empathize with others. That’s what the sermon series, Gravedigger’s, is all about. So you could do a quote here or there, right But what would be even better is to have your pastor do a Facebook Live and talk about how their experiencing this in their own life. Again, this is where you’re not just telling but you’re showing. You’re at the kitchen table, you’re getting dinner ready. You’re on the couch. It’s Tuesday evening. You do a five to ten minute Facebook Live and all you’re doing is talking about how you use to [00:36:00] be selfish and you were just dead to the needs of others. One example of this was you as a parent, and how you use to … Then you go into a story that demonstrates this.
This is why this is so powerful. One, you’re going to get a ton of free organic reach on Facebook that you would only get in another way if you paid for it. So there’s a huge incentive to do it there. It is 100% free to actually create and produce. You don’t need video [00:36:30] camera to set-up, you don’t need lights to set up, you don’t need audio gear. It’s incredibly and entirely portable, as long as you’ve got you phone, you can just take it out and then do it right from your phone.
Finally, it leverages your pastor’s existing strength of communication. If your pastor is like most, they are skilled when it comes to communication and preaching, just take that skill of communication and then put it into a Facebook Live. So many people are going to see this. So many people are going to empathize, and really hear and see their pastor in a [00:37:00] new light, and it going to take what you’re teaching at church, take the vision of your church, take what you’re trying to accomplish as a ministry and accomplish it in a whole new way that’s going to reach a whole new group of people.
Jonathan: Awesome, I like that a lot.
Brady: What are your thought on convincing your pastor or encouraging them to do something like this? Would they be willing?
Jonathan: I think he’d definitely be willing. He’s not the most tech savvy person, but I think we can teach him a thing or two.
Brady: As long as they have Facebook downloaded on their phone, Live is one of the first buttons they see when they open, and they just have [00:37:30] to click Go Live.
Brady: And you just hold the phone and just … It’s okay if it’s vertical video, in fact it’s kind of preferred right now. You’re more likely to get attention that way on Facebook. It is the easiest thing ever, as long as they can hold a phone, they can manage this.
Jonathan: That’s great. I like that. What else are people looking for on Facebook, because I have Facebook and I don’t use it a ton, but I know everyone’s on it. What are people looking [00:38:00] for I guess?
Brady: Video is obviously the most dominate medium on Facebook right now. You look like your church is pretty skilled when it comes to photography. How good are you … What kind of resources do you have when it comes to video?
Jonathan: Video, we really don’t have anyone on staff. We do have someone at church that do video that we can probably pull from. We always try to figure out, “What do we want? What do I ask for from the people, just because [00:38:30] their volunteers.”
Jonathan: So it’s like do we ask them to do bumper video for a sermon series, or we want to ask him to do something for the website? Just kind of being mindful of what we’re asking.
Brady: Yeah, that makes sense. You also want to leverage your existing strengths. It sounds like you could do quote posts and they would perform well again on Facebook, because visuals are huge on Facebook even if it’s not a video, it’s going to stand out in you’re doing to be able to see it. I love the idea of asking the fun question on Facebook as [00:39:00] well.
What I would do is try to keep things a little bit different on Instagram than you do Facebook. The Facebook Live strategy that I just gave you, that is only going to work on Facebook. You don’t want to do that on Instagram Live; I wouldn’t recommend. At least not yet. Facebook Live is a great place to do that. You want to keep things a little bit unique on each.
One other thing that you could try … It just escaped me. I just had it. Okay Facebook Live, you want to keep the accounts separate. I don’t know where I was going to go with that. [00:39:30] What was the question again? Just to re-trigger my mind.
Jonathan: What’s the strategy and point of Facebook?
Brady: Yes. Perfect. The Macro thing that you need to think about is, finding the intersection between what your church can help people with and what someone on Facebook is going to value already. Okay? Think about you using Facebook, and maybe not think about you, because you said you don’t use it very often. Think about the average use of Facebook. You’re scrolling through, [00:40:00] and what is the stuff that succeeds the most on Facebook right now? It’s dumb stuff right?
Brady: It’s the brth of a giraffe. It’s entertainment. It’s stuff that is very much like, to going back to my favorite ice cream flavor, it’s cotton candy. It’s empty calories right? What you want to do is find what someone will value and then figure out how your church can help someone. Really the intersection there is key, because Facebook, to breakthrough the noise you’re got to find something that people are going to find valuable on its own, [00:40:30] independent of what being advertised. That’ why when Facebook ads happened, what we do is we offer like a free guide, or a company will offer a free coupon, or a discount code, because that can be valuable on it own rather than just saying, “Hey come do “X”. Come do “Y”. Come do “Z”.” That’s kind of the macro level of thinking.
To give specific examples, three things most churches fall on this axis, this intersection between what people are looking for ad what your church could be helpful with; parenting, [00:41:00] marriage, and finances. Any content that would land on those three things can be valuable to someone, because we’re all trying to be better parents, better spouses and do better with money, ad these re three things that church and the bible speak very well upon; speak authoritatively on that we can help with.
So any content that you can draw from those three things will fall on that intersection. When it comes to specific mediums, like I said video and live video are huge. You can also do quote posts and really great photography, [00:41:30] that will stand out here and there. Maybe not photography on its own, but when you couple it with a quote, that can do well also.
Jonathan: Sure. Okay. That makes sense. When it comes to page marketing, do you recommend that? That’s an avenue and we’ve never really tried it. Social media, I know that’s kind of a sponsored ads and that sort of thing [crosstalk 00:41:54].
Brady: Yeah. Facebook ads are really the absolute best [00:42:00] way to reach new people that you’re not yet connected with when it comes to your church. The key is that you need to have a quality top of funnel offer for people. What I mean by that is the way that I just described the way we do it. WE offer you a free guide. We’re like, “Hey we put this guide together. It’s 91 social media tools for churches.” Really all we’re asking for in return for that is just your email address. So it’s a huge value offer to you in exchange for something really small.
You want to find [00:42:30] something that you can offer your community. People that you’re trying to reach, that’s valuable to them but also gives you a little bit of information for you to capture when it comes to your church. You can get someone emails, you can get their contact information, throw them on an email list, but you have to have a strong ‘top of funnel offer’ otherwise it’s very easy to throw money away. So your ‘top of funnel offer’ could be like this amazing kid’s festival that you’re putting on.
It could be something like a free community events guide, where you put together 91 awesome [00:43:00] things to do in Baton Rouge this summer with your family. Every single person that sees that and lives in the area is going to be willing or at least possibly desire to downloading that. Then once they’ve done that then you can talk about how, “One of the best free events is to come and drop your kids off at our amazing kids program that happens each Sunday.”
Because you’re reaching so any college students, you could do something that a bit more focused on that. “25 Amazing Nightlife [00:43:30] ideas in Baton Rouge for less than $10.” Something that a college student would respond to. “We have no money. We want to do something fun tonight, after a long day of school.” And you can talk about the amazing young adults program that you have and how, “Not only is it less than ten dollars, it’s free. These are all the things that you do.”
What great about this is that 90% of the people that download this guide, who will never come to your church, or won’t immediately come to your church, will have strong positive reaction. A positive great first impression [00:44:00] with Antioch Community Church of Baton Rouge. Then, the next time they see something that’s great and as you continue to offer value, they’re going to move down this continuum, this spectrum, getting closer and closer to the place where they’re going to decide to check you out in person.
Then for the initial 10% that do decide to check you out, again, you’ve made a great first impression. They come to you young adults night, and then obviously it up to your church and your young adults experience to convince them to stay, and to become integrated members of that community. [00:44:30] But it all comes down to offering a great ‘top of funnel offer’. Something that is valuable on its own, because most people are going to see that and not respond. The group that do respond, the majority of them, are going to interact with the ad, interact with the offer, but they never take the action that you want. But what makes Facebook ad such a great platform is that the small percentage that do take the action that you want are still wildly under priced when it compares to radio, billboards, direct mail, television, [00:45:00] anything like that.
Like I said, we’ve 10X the size of Pro Church Tools, even more than that, using Facebook ads. The key is you have to lead with value, just like everything with social media. How are you leading with value, because that’s just the way the culture of social media works. It’s informative. It’s relational. It’s entertaining, if you come in just saying, “check us out, check us out, check us out.” You’re going to get ignored, simple as that.
Jonathan: Yeah. That makes sense. I see that Facebook and Instagram, [00:45:30] I guess they’re owned by the same company now, are they connected when it comes to ads? I’ll click on a sponsored ad from Instagram and it’ll take me to Facebook.
Brady: Yeah. We you’re creating ads inside of Facebook Ad manager, and when you’re determining where you want to place your ad, you’re given a couple of different options and Instagram is one of those. You can create a Facebook ad that shows up in both Instagram and Facebook. It’s not something that I’ve begun experimenting with, because there’s an actual problem with my Instagram app that won’t let me do ads for some reason. Just a little bit of a bug, and I’m sure they’ll [00:46:00] fix, but because you have such a huge following on Instagram, that might be something to consider if you put together an ad inside the Facebook ads manager, you might want to use Instagram as a placement for that as well. Because, yes, they are both owned by Facebook. Facebook bought Instagram a couple of years ago for about a billion dollars, and it was an amazing buy for them. Now, the ad software and the ad infrastructure that Facebook had is being able to be shared with Instagram, which is great for both platforms, because the Facebook Ads product is just so phenomenal.
Jonathan: [00:46:30] Sure. This is more of a broad questions, but when it comes to church communication, what are your top communication tools? Whether that be websites, Instagram. In your mind, what are you thinking? We even do a blog and a newsletter, we’re just trying to hone in on what we do so that it is valuable and it’s not just another thing. Can you kind of speak to that?
Brady: Generally, the most important platform is going to be your [00:47:00] churches website. If you’re doing that well, your website should be the most important platform in your digital strategy. After that, you’re going to have Facebook and then Instagram. Then, I don’t know if there’s a direct comparison between those platforms, and then a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, because a video, a podcast, and a blog, those are content pieces. Whereas, Facebook, Instagram, and your website are actual communication platforms. That’s the difference between a medium [00:47:30] and media, like a piece of content.
Those aren’t really exactly comparable, but what you can do is, and I would recommend you do, is take inventory of all the ways that you’re communicating both in person, with print, and in the digital world, and write them all down. Then, using some insight from other who are involved and from your church, you can give each one a grade and then you can rank them by importance. You can do this sometimes intuitively as well, if you don’t want to do a whole big [00:48:00] thing, and you can say, “Okay, great. Right now our best and biggest platform is Instagram. That followed by our website, and then that followed by our bulletin. That’s followed by the app, and then after that is our Facebook account.”
Then you can look and say, “Okay. How can we double down on what’s already succeeding and how can we re-jigger certain platforms that are wildly underperforming? We don’t want Facebook to be that low, how can we get it higher?” That’s the best thing to do. Take inventory [00:48:30] of what you’re already doing, rank it, figure out what’s working great and double down on that, and then you can either decide to abandon the stuff that isn’t working and double down on the stuff that is, which I highly recommend doing. Or you can figure out why something like Facebook, which you know is valuable and you don’t want to abandon, because you know it’s just underperforming, because you’ve been managing it improperly, and then figure out a way to boost it from where it is now to where it should be.
Jonathan: Okay. How do you keep people, I guess [00:49:00] I kind of know that answer to this, but how do you keep people coming to your website. For us, you come to our website once there’s some things that we do update regularly, but mission and values and ministry pages, they really don’t change much. They’re kind of static. I feel like I’m kind of answering my own question, where it’s post new content. But what’s some ways to go about posting new content where you’re not revamping the entire website [inaudible 00:49:23]?
Brady: If you think about it the way we do it at Pro Church Tools, Monday to Friday we’re releasing new content on the website; video, podcast, [00:49:30] video, podcast, video, and so we send out to our email list and say, “Hey, we published new content that you’re going to find valuable. Come check it out.” That gives reason for people to revisit the website for a second, third, fourth, 117th times.
The other thing that you can use the website for, is you can use if for all of your event and ministry registration and sign-ups. That gives reason for people to visit it. If you have all of your small group sign-ups happen on your website, that’ll give people reason to actually check it out. If you have your giving happen on your website, that’ll [00:50:00] give reason for people to revisit your website. Those are the two main things. Obviously, content, but then also events, sign-ups, registrations.
Jonathan: Okay. That’s great. I’m trying to think of things that we talked about. This is kind of a different topic, but when it comes to sermons and podcast, do you recommend [00:50:30] putting everything on one platform? For us right now, we use our website and we use our app through Subsplash, but a lot of churches are using YouTube, or they’re using even the iTunes podcast app. Do you recommend just focusing on one and promoting that one or is it … They’re kind of be broad in that sense.
Brady: Yeah. I think that most churches and up fragmenting their online presence by trying to have both an app and a website. Then when I visit them, both their website and app [00:51:00] are not very good. I think it would make a lot more sense to focus on one and I’m definitely going to recommend using the website. I would recommend hosting it all on there, because that’s where you want … You want to have a platform that you own, that belongs to you. If all you did was only ever put things on YouTube, YouTube can change the rules and then you’d be in a bad position.
Brady: You always want to have your home base and put everything there. If you go to Pro Church Tools, you can find all of our content there. It’s all there, but it’s also in other places, [00:51:30] because we don’t want to just stay where we have ownership, we also want to go to where people are already paying attention. Yes, I would put your sermons on YouTube and I would continue to invest in Instagram. You can even upload your sermons to Facebook. We upload all of our videos to YouTube and Facebook as well as having them on our website, that way when someone searches in Google for something and you come up, ideally your website comes up, but then they could also find it on Facebook and YouTube, which would both also link back to the [00:52:00] main post on the website.
The key is not having two platforms that your own. Two platforms that are your own property. We’ve published more than 300 pieces of content on Pro Church Tools, by the end of the year we’re going to be beyond 600, we don’t have an app, if anyone deserves an app, it’s us. Our audience is like a hundred times the size of every church, our content is a hundred times more than every church, and we don’t have an app, because [00:52:30] our website is good enough for that, and because we focus our time where everyone’s attention already is. We have an app, it’s called Instagram. It’s called Facebook. It’s called YouTube, where people already are.
I would consolidate your efforts into one. I would put it all into the website, and then I’d focus on also being on the outpost of YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, wherever else you want to be.
Jonathan: That’s good, because I think we’ve spent time trying to revamp our website and also spending time revamping the app, and even trying to get people to download the app has been difficult. We already have the website, like you said, “People are already on Instagram. [00:53:00] People are already on Facebook. Why not just utilize those?”
Brady: Yeah, you’re 100% correct. I think that’s a perfect place to leave off, Jonathan, because that’s something that all churches are dealing with. This is just kind of human nature. When we see something’s not working, our natural inclination is to add onto it, rather than improve it. “Are website isn’t working. Well, great. Let’s try an app.” Well no, just fix the website. You’re not alone there.
This has been a blast, Jonathan. I hope that it’s been helpful for you. [00:53:30] I feel like I definitely talked a lot.
Jonathan: This has been awesome, yeah.
Brady: Awesome, my man. Well, thank for booking the time, and thanks for coming on. I had a ton of fun.
Jonathan: I appreciate it.
Brady: Thanks for tuning into the Pro Church Podcast Coaching Edition. My hope is that by hearing what’s happening behind the scenes in another church, you can see that no church has it all figured out and we’re all on this journey together. To that end, if you have a question for me the best way to get it answered is on our weekly question and answer show called, “The Ask Brady Show.” You can submit [00:54:00] your question to [email protected], sending in a video question will put you immediately at the front of the line, and you can watch every episode of Ask Brady at AskBrady.tv.