What's in this session?

  • The Tap-Tap-Taparoo (2:04)
  • #1: Puts your audience in control (4:03)
  • #2: Crazy high completion ratio (4:23)
  • #3: Do it from anywhere, anytime (8:14)
  • Strategy #1: Annotate screenshots (8:55)
  • Strategy #2: The double take (9:24)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: Believe it or not, stories on social media are set to overtake the newsfeed as the primary way you and I engage on social media within the next year. Is your church ready for this? If not, in this podcast I’ll share with you my absolute number one stories’ strategy, along with precise examples and techniques that you can copy and use yourself.

Singers: Amen.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Tools, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’ll get a dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while we navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, Brady Shearer. 

Brady Shearer: Alex, the absolute biggest trend on social media right now is stories. It’s growing 15 times faster attention-wise than the newsfeed and Facebook itself has predicted that within the next year, attention being paid to stories will overtake the newsfeed as the primary way that we engage on social media.

Alex Mills: Wow. 

Brady Shearer: I wanted to share in this episode a strategy that churches can use to create content for stories, because it’s something that surprisingly we haven’t covered too much here at Pro Church Tools, even though we spend so much of our own time dedicated to creating stories on our own channels. We wanted to share a strategy that I’ve been using for close to a year now and the results are nothing short of remarkable and it’s incredibly easy to do.

Alex Mills: Yeah. I mean, you’re seeing the stories’ format everywhere on almost every platform now. Even YouTube has a stories feature, which I’m interested to see where that goes. But kind of starting with Snapchat and then evolving into Instagram and Facebook, I find myself even watching Facebook stories now, which is hilarious because when it first came out I’m like, “I’m never going to be watching stories on Facebook.” But I am and I think there’s something unique about the way that we interact with them, but also just how humans connect with storytelling and with one-on-one interaction. Like you said and like researchers and even major media moguls like Facebook and Instagram are saying, stories are going to take over the newsfeed. This is what’s happening, so pay attention. This is how we can use it in 2019.

Brady Shearer: I call this the tap, tap, taparoo strategy. 

Recorded Voice: Just tap it in. Just tap it in. Give it a little tappy. Tap, tap, taparoo. 

Brady Shearer: Because that’s an ode to the way that we use stories, unlike the newsfeed in which we scroll through. With stories, you’re tapping through. The basis, the foundation for this strategy is to tell a story, or share a rant, or break down a technique in five to 10 stories using only the Instagram story tools. When it comes to the way I use this, I’m usually using only the type tools and the annotation editor.

Alex Mills: You’re not even filming yourself talk? This is just text?

Brady Shearer: Correct. There’s a number of reasons why I do this that we’ll get into in just a moment, but to make this strategy clear, we wanted to show you a visual example of what this looks like. If you’re listening to the podcast, it might be worth heading over to the YouTube channel. YouTube.com/ProChurchTools fast-forwarding to this moment in this episode to see. I have an 11 slide story here that I’ve compressed into a single image that we’re showing on the screen right now and what I want you to pay careful attention to is that you will not see my face in any of these stories. Not-

Alex Mills: Or hear your voice.

Brady Shearer: [crosstalk] Yeah, that’s actually a good point. If you were watching these, it’s not talking at all. These are single still slides, which might seem a little bit unusual because stories, a lot of the time, you point the camera at yourself selfie-mode style, hold that record button, and you talk. I’m not suggesting that you don’t do that, but the interesting thing about user behavior in that instance, and this is actually a very key distinguishing factor. If Alex records a story where he’s talking, I am at his mercy-

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Shearer: Waiting until he stops talking until I can go to the next slide. Whereas, on a slide, the tap, tap, taparoo strategy-

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: Like this, you are giving control and autonomy to the user, because they’re reading and when they’re done reading they get to tap to the next story.

Alex Mills: Move along.

Brady Shearer: The reason this is so important, and I see this in the data when it comes to the completion rates on my stories, right now I’m getting anywhere between two and 4,000 views per story and the completion rates on even an 11 slide story like this one are 75 to 85%. 

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: Which are unheard of. What that means is that people are starting these and they’re going all the way to the end. Whereas, a lot of the times if you have 15 second, which is the limit on Instagram right now, stories that are video where you’re watching and listening to someone speak, what happens is, you get through slide one, slide two, and then you abandon and go to the next one. Because we are so vain and we are so attention deficit, terrible at listening, and then we just are like, “Eh, 15 seconds? That’s a long time.” There’s a reason Vine was six seconds so that-

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Shearer: Almost all of us could get through it, #BringBackVine.

Alex Mills: Yeah. It’s frustrating when we look into the insights, and you can do that just by kind of swiping up on your own story, you can see the insights of when people dropped off, if they tap forward, if they tap back, if they exited your story all the way. It’s kind of frustrating when we feel like we have something important to share, and so we take the time to film it, and then we see people dropping off. It’s like, “Oh, why didn’t you listen to what I had to say?” This is such a great way to, like you said, put the control into the trigger happy followers that we all have who are just eager to tap and move along to the next story and they can consume what you’re saying as quickly or as slowly as they want. 

Brady Shearer: A couple of things to take note of as you’re looking, again, at this example of these 11 different slides, is that every slide looks different than the slide before and after it. The reason I do that is to create visual difference. I want you to tap to the next slide and it to look different. What’s great about Instagram is that the Instagram story editor provides a myriad of different-

Alex Mills: Oh yeah.

Brady Shearer: Options when it comes to type, and fonts, and backgrounds, and then even if you feel like you’ve run out and you’ve used too many, you can just take a photo of where you’re at and then just add text on top of that screen. Another thing I’ll do is I’ll draw arrows a lot and I’ll circle stuff that I want to emphasize, because within the Instagram text tools, I don’t believe there’s a bold or italics feature, and so I’ll actually draw emphases so to make up for the lack of bold or italics. I’ll also try to … We talk about talking from stage and the idea of pitch and pace where you want to change up the speed of how you’re speaking, slow down to emphasize, but then speed up because you don’t want people to feel like you’re talking too slowly. 

Pitch and pace is important. I take that same idea, apply it to the visuals of Instagram. On one side I’ll put in a bunch of text. You’ll go to the next one and it’ll be like five words. That’s great for big, small contrast. The opposites, the ying, the yang. That’s helpful as well to create visual variance so you don’t lull people into this kind of predictability. Again, on social always, repeat equals defeat. I wanted to talk about three kind of advanced strategies that I’ve been using on here. Anything else before?

Alex Mills: I was just thinking, you do this as well and I’ve started to do it because you do it. You can also take the advantage to open and close some loops. It’s like using this literary tool. You can say, “But here’s the problem … ” And encourage someone to find the answer to what you were saying by tapping to the next story, kind of hook them into that story so that they can’t just drop off and exit the story, so that they can hear exactly what you’re there to say.

Brady Shearer: Absolutely. Three reasons why the tap, tap, taparoo strategy. I don’t regret naming it that way, but you can’t say it and feel serious, that’s for sure. The tap, tap, taparoo strategy, three reasons why I love it. Number one, the powerful mechanism of putting your audience in control. They don’t have to sit through you, they get to take control of their own experience. Do not overlook how important that is. I cannot overstate how important it is. Number two, the high completion rate. Because the audience is in control, they are going to finish what you have to say. At the end of the day, I want them to hear what I have to say and if they would prefer to read it, rather than watching me say it, great. Whatever they want. It’s what they want that’s important. Then number three, I love this, you can do this from anywhere, any time. The example I’ve been showing you, I did that at the gym. I was inspired. I’m not going to film myself at the gym talking. I’m all sweaty and everyone at the gym would be like, “Why is he talking about Instagram?” [crosstalk]

Alex Mills: You don’t have a shirt on.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, it’s just … I’m wearing a shirt at the gym.

Alex Mills: Oh, I thought you lift shirtless.

Brady Shearer: I’m in my tankini.

Alex Mills: Right. 

Brady Shearer: I love that I can do this any time, anywhere. Maybe I don’t feel like I … I haven’t had a shower yet today. I’m at the office. It’s early. My eyes are all sleepy. But I can still do it from any time, anywhere and [crosstalk] I won’t draw attention to myself as I’m doing selfie-mode, which is another good benefit. Then two advanced strategies that you can experiment with. The first is annotating screenshots. We’ve talked about this before, but when someone sends me a DM that I think will benefit everyone, I will take a screenshot of that. I’ll anonymize them by crossing out their name and any avatar they might have and then I’ll add that to my story, annotate it, and share that with everyone. You can do that with emails, you can do it with DMs. You can do it with anything where you take an external conversation and then you welcome everyone else into it. 

People love that because they feel like they’re getting a behind the scenes look that maybe they shouldn’t. Then the second thing I like to do is, I’ve called this the double take strategy, where basically you have a story that you’ve posted. If you save that story to your camera roll, you can upload it again, and then add a second annotation and save that one, and add a third annotation. To show you an example of this, again, I was at the gym. I took a photo of my shoes, because I wanted to make reference to a new year’s resolution because I’m at the gym and a lot of people have that as a new year’s resolution, and then talk about how, “Hey, you should make some social media resolutions as well.” I posted that to the story and then I was looking at it and I was like, “Man, my legs are hairless.” 

I was like, “This is a great opportunity to make a joke.” I uploaded it again, then added a second annotation so as you tap through it as a user, you’re looking at the same image, but it just keeps adding different text bubbles. The second one I added, I was like, “Yes, these are my natural legs. What’s the problem?” Then I added a third one. I was like, “Yes, all the sixth grade boys made fun of me, okay?” This is just a fun way to gain more attention. I think the adding on over and over, the double take strategy is just an interesting thing. There’s so much that you can do with the Instagram editor. There’s no shortage of creativity. I love this strategy. Give it a try. The tap, tap, taparoo technique.

Alex Mills: Nice. 

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

Singers: Amen.



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