What's in this session?

  • Step 1: Using the text tool on Facebook (5:00)
  • Examples (6:15)
  • Step 2: Respond to every single comment/interaction that you get (10:35)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: Today, you’re going to learn the absolute easiest social media strategy for churches. Even better, you don’t need to create any graphics or produce any videos. You don’t even need to post every single day. And yet, despite how easy this strategy is, the best part is that it still gets results. So follow along. By the end of this episode, you’ll have everything you need to start using this strategy right away at your church.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Tools, the show to help you share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift in 500 years. I’m your host Alex Mills, joined as always by Brady Shearer.

Brady Shearer: Social media is still a struggle for so many churches. And the reason is because social as a discipline, as an endeavor, is very multifaceted. It requires graphic design, video production, copywriting. It’s customer support, it’s communication, it’s branding, it’s-

Alex Mills: It’s like we need a worship leader. We don’t have the resources for a graphic designer, nevermind a worship leader.

Brady Shearer: Absolutely. Social encompasses all of these things. It’s not as simple as create a nice design in Canva and post it. It’s so multifaceted. And that’s why everyone loves it so much because it is complex. And it’s so pervasive in our lives in good and bad ways. And so, churches struggle with social, because first, it’s hard. And then next, we’ve got to consider who in church is working on social. It’s probably the worship pastor [crosstalk 00:01:25].

Alex Mills: Once we get that worship pastor, it’s like, “Oh, and by the way, can you post every day to all six of our social media platforms? Thank you.”

Brady Shearer: I have my degree in youth ministry and theology. I was in that youth ministry track at school and so I know that every single time one of my friends got hired in full-time vocational ministries, he’s like youth pastor/media. And media was still just an umbrella term that included social underneath that. So their umbrella term secondary role was encompassing of social. That’s who’s in charge of it.

Alex Mills: And they only got paid for the worship part.

Brady Shearer: Oh absolutely, and that’s another part of it because social is hard. They’re very multifaceted. The people in charge of it are not necessarily prepared for it. They didn’t go to school for it. And then how are they equipped to do this job? What resources are they given? Money, time, creativity?

Alex Mills: None of the above.

Brady Shearer: Absolutely. So you can see why most churches struggle. The foundation for this episode is that we want to give you the easiest social media strategy that I truly believe any single person can accomplish. And that strategy is to go to prochurchtools.com/products and sign up for our social program.

Alex Mills: And we’ll see you next time.

Brady Shearer: And that’ll do it for this episode. No, no, no, okay, okay. Seriously, that is the easiest way, but it does require a financial commitment. So if at this time you are unwilling or unable to make that commitment, though do check it out, prochurchtools.com/product. We’ll give you a new post every single day and a caption. We’ll even post for you, if you want to. You don’t have to do anything, unlimited customization. Seriously, the easiest thing. There is an alternative though, if you’re unable, unwilling to make that commitment at this time.

Alex Mills: It’s the next easiest thing. And I think anyone, just like you said, anyone can sign up for the social program. I think anyone can literally do this.

Brady Shearer: And it still gets results because the easiest social media strategy is just to promote your church’s upcoming events and use word swag to automatically generate a post for it. That’s not going to get results. We get a lot of emails from churches that see our countdown posts from our social program, or they’ll see a pastor or a church they look up to create an amazing sermon video post that has transcribed the words that the pastor is preaching in this cool dynamic animation. And they say, “Brady, how can we do that?” And I say, “You’d need someone pretty skilled to accomplish that, or you’d need to spend a lot of money, maybe a couple of hundred bucks to get a single post like that if you’re going to pay a motion designer to create it for you,” which is just out of the realm of possibility. It’s not sustainable for virtually every single church.

Brady Shearer: So this strategy kind of bypasses all of that while still getting results. And when we say results, what do we mean by that? Well, with social, we want to start meaningful conversations and we want to provoke spiritual practice. It’s not just about getting likes and getting followers, though those can be indicators that you’re doing social well. On their own, they don’t really mean anything. We want to provoke spiritual practice. We want to start meaningful conversations.

Brady Shearer: That is kind of the lead up into this strategy. It’s important to understand why are we doing social, what are we trying to accomplish, what’s great about this strategy. You don’t need to create any graphics for it. You don’t need to be a video production wizard, and you don’t even need to post every single day. The framework for this strategy is to post thrice per week, so Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and it’s only two steps to actually get it done. Ready? Okay. That’s all the lead up. There’s the people in the comments. Why did it take three minutes? We’re sorry. We’re not sorry. Step one-

Alex Mills: I mean, for the ultimate-

Brady Shearer: Good, good, we’re going to delay it even more.

Alex Mills: No, but I’m saying for the ultimate, most simple social media strategy ever, we’ve got to set it up, and here we go. We’re about to deliver. Here it is.

Brady Shearer: But before we do … No, okay, okay. Step one. Using the text tool on Facebook, just create a post, start typing it and then you can even choose a colored background. They give you a ton of different colored backgrounds. I always recommend doing this. It’ll take the text that you’re putting into Facebook and automatically generate an image for you on a big red background or a pattern background, and these are great because they take up so much space in the Facebook news feed. They really do stop the scroll, which is, of course, crucial for social.

Brady Shearer: If you’re doing this on Instagram, you can go into your Instagram stories. This is where you’d want to use this strategy, and use the questions sticker because all we’re doing here, Alex, is we are asking our followers a question.

Alex Mills: That’s it.

Brady Shearer: That is step one. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Now, what kind of question are we asking? Well, we recently did an episode that included 39 copy and paste question posts for churches on social media. So there’s 39 for you. Go take them. You can steal them. I made them. I’m giving you permission to take them. And if you’re posting only thrice per week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday-

Alex Mills: That’s like a third of the year, already.

Brady Shearer: 117 days, so the next quarter of the year … no, more than that … the next four months basically are covered for your entire social media strategy. Some examples of questions that we could include, what was your favorite childhood show growing up?

Alex Mills: Love it.

Brady Shearer: How did you first hear about our church?

Alex Mills: Love that even more.

Brady Shearer: What’s your favorite old worship song? Those are three of the 39 questions from that episode, and you’ll notice that sometimes we ask questions that are quote unquote spiritual in nature, but other times we’re just asking questions that will yield responses to help your church learn more about other people.

Alex Mills: What’s one topping that doesn’t belong on a hamburger? That’s a great question.

Brady Shearer: I’m going to say pickles.

Alex Mills: I’m going to agree, but in relish form.

Brady Shearer: Right.

Alex Mills: I don’t like relish.

Brady Shearer: Every time I get a hamburger from a fast food place and they put it on the pickles, I give them to my wife. She eats those pickles on their own a la carte.

Alex Mills: Just by themselves.

Brady Shearer: Oh, she’s a pickle fan.

Alex Mills: Oh wow. Okay. Did you see how that just organically happened?

Brady Shearer: We didn’t know that.

Alex Mills: We didn’t set that up.

Brady Shearer: We are extremely close friends and our families are extremely close, but he had never known that.

Alex Mills: Now I know that about Brittany, so next time I’m with her, I’m going to bring that up and I’m going to shame her.

Brady Shearer: Next time you have a hamburger with pickles and you’re like, “What am I going to do with these?”

Alex Mills: I’m going to mail them to Brittany.

Brady Shearer: Just throw them over and she will consume them because that’s the way she be.

Alex Mills: But it’s those kinds of … We talked about that in that episode, which is going to be linked in the show notes so you can get those 39 questions. We talked about it before that it’s those kinds of conversations that, yeah, maybe are a little less spiritual than some other kinds of conversations but don’t have anything less to do with life, right? And so it’s fun. And those kinds of conversations, I find at least, really carry over to the church lobby. They carry over to small groups.

Alex Mills: When we start talking on Facebook about hamburger toppings or sharing photos of our pets or whatever, next time I’m at a small group, I end up talking about that instance, that interaction I had with that person on social in our next church atmosphere moment. And that’s what using social as ministry, that’s what using social to engage meaningful interactions is all about. So that’s why this question framework is the best because it generates engagement. It’s not a ploy to get the most likes. The likes here are honestly a little bit irrelevant, especially if you’re posting to stories. There’s no likes at all. It’s just how can we promote some engagement here to learn more about each other as a church community?

Brady Shearer: Yeah. And if you’re doing this specifically on stories, what happens is you’ll ask the question, people will respond and then you have the opportunity when you’re perusing the responses that you get to share those to your story. And that kind of creates this cycle of engagement. You’ll ask the question, you’ll get responses that only you can see. We want to encourage you to then share those responses, and it will be done anonymously. Share those responses to your Instagram story so that those that are viewing, because there are always going to be those lurkers and they’re not going to be engaging, but them lurking is actually just as important because they’re never going to be the type of people that probably comment, but they’re still intaking all this information. They’re still hovering over these posts for 20, 30, 40, 50, a minute long, 50, 60 seconds. And so getting these comments that are private on Instagram and then sharing them with the stories is important. You don’t want to keep those to yourself.

Brady Shearer: So the first step, ask the question. Step two, respond to every single comment and interaction that you get. The whole point of this social strategy is to start meaningful conversations. A conversation by necessity needs to be two ways. It can’t be one way, and again, if you’re a church, you are in the business of people. People are what we care about. That’s everything that we do at church, and so we want to encourage you to not only ask quote unquote spiritual questions, because what that does is it kind of pins you down and says, “Okay, we care about the whole person, but we’re only going to ask questions that pertain to this small area of their life,” which kind of seems a little bit nonsensical, especially because I think if you showed me your church’s calendar, I would see some events on there. I would see some itinerary that is not necessarily only prayer, worship or listen to a sermon. Why would you do that? Why would you include that? That’s not spiritual. Oh, you run a coed basketball team?

Alex Mills: You get a bunch of guys together just to eat bacon?

Brady Shearer: Wow. Now tell me, what’s scriptural about bacon? I know some stuff in there, and it’s not so good.

Alex Mills: There’s some verses about pork in there.

Brady Shearer: And you’d be like, “Well, okay, why are you being so annoying?” And I’d be like, “Oh yes, I understand that question. Get into the comments.” The point is you want to respond to every single interaction. Go back and forth. If someone goes out of their way to leave you a comment, because most won’t, for those that do, you want to acknowledge that every single time.

Brady Shearer: And the final point I’ll make on this, because that is the strategy. That’s it. And we’ve seen churches do this because we’ve been doing our social program for a year now. Hundreds and hundreds of churches that are taking these questions that we’re giving them in post form, again, the easiest option, and then publishing them, and I will go, I’ll look through our customer list of the churches that are subscribed to the program and I’ll go to their Facebook page and I’ll just look through all of the comments that they’re getting and I’ll see, “Okay, people are responding to these types of questions and these types of questions,” and I’ll see, “Oh wow, these question posts are doing better than almost all the other posts,” even some that are more designed and more quote unquote creative.

Brady Shearer: And I think that a lot of churches … This is a hot take … will overlook a strategy like this, think it’s beneath them because all it is is asking questions and getting responses, because the celebrity pastors that we look up to and the big churches, they do not employ these strategies because they are operating in a different atmosphere and a different sphere than 99.99% of churches. Because if you have a Chad Veach or Rich Wilkerson or Erwin McManus that are leading your church, their sphere of influence and their charisma can be the entire social strategy, just their charisma and their personal brand, and you as a person that attends that church, you want to know about the upcoming worship album and the really cool services that you’re having and the merch and the pop up shops and the books. But that is not the reality for 99.99% of churches.

Brady Shearer: And so if you as a church are taking a social strategy from an organization that is unlike you in almost every way that matters for social and replicating their strategy, that will not lead to the results that you want. And so I want to really encourage you, church, to not look down on this and say, “Well, we don’t want to just ask questions. We want to be an influencer,” and you wouldn’t use that term, but the way that you approach social, I know that’s still the underlying motivation. And there’s nothing wrong with that motivation, but I just don’t think that the average church will be able to get the results that we talked about earlier using that strategy because we’re just not set up in that way to begin with.

Alex Mills: I think when most listeners or viewers saw the title of this episode, they were probably expecting like, oh, some really great design tools, some really cool apps, some really advanced techniques. And I think that we’re in this very strange … I could not have foreseen this, almost golden age of social where the bar for design is so low. I remember a couple of years ago when minimalistic design first came to the rise and was the standard. I just critiqued everything with a fine tooth comb and design was kind of at a zenith. And now with all these tools we have in Snapchat or Instagram where everyone can design anything with their fingers, it’s like the bar is so low for what I care to see.

Alex Mills: It’s all about the content now. And so it’s all about the meat of the question, not how it’s presented. So there’s no shame in posting these posts from the Facebook text editor or the Instagram text editor, because I don’t care anymore. I would have cared a few years ago, but not anymore. I’m just here for the conversation, for the content, not for the way that it’s delivered to me. And I think that’s good news for churches like mine of 100 people who don’t have a graphic designer on staff, because I don’t need one anymore. I just need that Facebook text tool and some good questions like you’re going to get in that episode that’s linked in the show notes, some good content, and you can have some really meaningful interactions on social.

Brady Shearer: Alex, a self-proclaimed apathetic, indifferent young person that doesn’t care. What else is new? Hashtag millennials. We think this social strategy is easy. It drives results and it aligns with what your church is trying to accomplish as a ministry. It directly aligns and then what you’re doing on social is working in steps with what you’re doing as a church. That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Tools. We’ll see you next time.



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