What's in this session?

  • Who is Gen Z? (0:38)
  • Key Distinction (1:35)
  • The Stats (2:39)
  • Marketing (5:16)
  • Don't Overdo It (8:01)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: There’s an emerging social platform that Gen Z has surprisingly latched onto, and when you understand how to use this social tool properly, you’ll notice how easy it is to communicate with the young people and teenagers in your church. In this podcast, I’ll reveal what this social platform is, and it’s probably not what you’re thinking, and how to properly use it to reach the first generation to truly grow up on the internet.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Tools, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’re gonna get a dose of tips and tactics to help your church 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 the boss man, Brady Shearer. 

Brady Shearer: Alex, Gen Z is the generation that’s coming after millennials right now, really the first generation to grow up on the internet and grow up on social media.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Now, when it comes to defining Gen Z, usually with all generations the endpoints are up for grabs.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: But generally, when we’re talking about Gen Z, we’re talking about those that are born in the mid-1990s through the end of the first decade of the 2000s, so ’95 to 2010, let’s say-

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: -which means that the oldest Gen Z individual is around 23, young 20s, and the youngest are right around eight years old. They’re not even 10 years old yet.

Alex Mills: For your church, this is your youth and young adults kind of age group.

Brady Shearer: Exactly, the youth and the teenagers in your church. One of the questions that we get all the time, maybe the question that I’m seeing the most frequently, lately anyway, is, “Okay, we wanna reach this generation, but they seem like they use social a little bit differently. How do we do it?” They do use social differently, Alex, because the key distinction you need to understand when it comes to Gen Z versus even millennials and pretty much anyone else that uses social is that Gen Z uses social for one to one interactions.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Whereas most of social up until this point has been used for one to many interactions. What do I mean by that? Messaging apps. For the most part, Gen Z is going to be relying heavily on messaging apps like Instagram DMs, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, whereas when we were growing up and we first got on Facebook, it was like, “I’m gonna share this post to all of my friends.”

Alex Mills: Oh yeah, and “I’m gonna get as many friends as I can.”

Brady Shearer: Yes. “What’s the limit? 5000? I’m gonna burst through that limit, Mark.” What’s amazing about Gen Z is that they like these one to one interactions. They’re taking social and they’re making it more personal. The problem is that how do you market? How do you reach these one to one? Because you can’t scale one to one interactions, until now. That’s what this podcast, this video, is all about. We talked about messenger apps. The most popular messenger app, even amongst, surprisingly, Gen Z, is Facebook Messenger. 80% of those ages 16 to 20 have Facebook Messenger, making it the most popular messaging service in the world, even more popular than Snapchat, even more popular than Instagram.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: Which really sounds surprising, and I wasn’t entirely sure if I even believed that statistic. If you do end up using this strategy, it is worthwhile to consider your unique audience, but I do wanna push back a little bit on the assumption that teenagers hate Facebook. They probably don’t use it as much as other apps, but Messenger is different because it’s like WhatsApp, it’s like iMessage, where you can just talk back and forth between your friends privately, not publicly to the world, and seems that Gen Z is actually using that a lot more than we may think.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and it’s funny. In my own personal life, I was a late adopter to installing Messenger on my phone. I was even a late adopter to installing Facebook on my phone. I just didn’t want those notifications, especially when I started working here and working with Facebook more often. I installed Facebook on my phone and it wasn’t until months later that I actually had to install Messenger on my phone because a lot of the people that I was communicating with, whether it was in church or outside of church, this was one of their primary means of communication. 

Alex Mills: I had to cave because that’s where the attention was. I had to go it because if I didn’t, I’d be missing out. Like you said, there’s actually billions of people using Facebook Messenger. What is it? 1.3 billion users as of late 2017? There are so many people using Messenger. I wasn’t one of them. I am now because the people I’m doing life with are using it and I have to stay in communication with them, so I had to do it out of necessity.

Brady Shearer: 50% of US teens use Messenger daily. One out of two.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: Not an insignificant number. How are we gonna use Messenger to communicate with our youth, communicate with our teenagers, and truthfully this strategy can work for everyone in your church.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Millennials are the largest living generation in the American-Canadian workforce. You combine that with Gen Z and we’re talking about the majority of people on Earth.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: You can use Messenger, Facebook in particular Messenger, because of the robust marketing tools that it has not just for your teenagers, but you can adopt this as a strategy for communication and broadcasting churchwide. Now, the reason we’re recommending Facebook Messenger is because unlike Instagram, though there are rumors that it’s gonna get something similar in the next year or so, and unlike Snapchat, not only is Facebook Messenger extremely popular, but it offers us robust communication tools that allow us to scale these one to one interactions en masse. 

Brady Shearer: We’ve recently begun experimenting with a tool called ManyChat, Many as is “many people.” You’re reaching many people. ManyChat.com. This is a Facebook bot that will allow you to use Facebook Messenger to communicate with as many subscribers as you can get.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: What we’ve been doing is we’ve been running this Facebook ad where it’s me, it’s Brady talking on a video, I’m talking about social media, and at the end of the video I say, “Look, it’s been great talking. I don’t wanna take up too much more of your time. We’ve got this amazing social media case study. If you just enter the word ‘social’ in the comments below, I’ll send you this case study immediately.” 

Brady Shearer: We’ve only been running it for about 10 days right now. We’ve had almost 2000 comments, I believe, and we’ve got close to 2000 now Facebook Messenger subscribers because what happens, Alex, is when you enter the word “social” in the comments, I send you a Facebook message saying, “Hey, are you sure you want this case study? Enter ‘yes’ and we’ll send it to you right now.” That’s them confirming their subscription. 

Brady Shearer: Then we send them the case study right away. We tell them “here’s how to unsubscribe if you don’t want to continue subscribing through Facebook Messenger.” Now what we have the ability to do is communicate with this list, now thousands of people, similar to an email broadcast but it’s in Facebook Messenger. The key distinction here is that on our best day, our emails are getting maybe a 30% open rate. We’ve sent one broadcast and this is industry-wide. I looked into the statistics. We’re right in line with what’s expected. 80% open rates on the first broadcast that we sent out.

Alex Mills: Am I the only one that when I get a Facebook message I feel obligated to open it?

Brady Shearer: Exactly. That is the key behavioral difference between email and Messenger.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: You feel like, “Okay, I got this. I have to open it,” whereas email, you’re like, “I gotta delete these all as fast as I possibly can.”

Alex Mills: Exactly, it’s not all about getting the inbox to zero. You see that red notification, you’re interested, you click on it, you see a message from someone, and then if you don’t read it then it’s got that different opacity because you know it’s not read.

Brady Shearer: Not good.

Alex Mills: Then once you read it, you know that they can see it so you feel obligated to respond. There’s, like you said, this different level of interaction open rate, kind of unprecedented, that we’re seeing using this tool, using Facebook Messenger, that we just couldn’t dream of with email.

Brady Shearer: I think this is perfect for youth groups, for student ministry, because what you can do is you can build this list of- I almost said email. I’m so used to it. Messenger subscribers using a tool like ManyChat, which, by the way, you can start using for free and then up to 500 subscribers, it’s only $9.00 a month.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: It is an extremely robust tool when it comes to marketing, but $9.00 a month. If your youth group is bigger than 500 people, you can afford going up to 1000 and then it’s only $20 per month.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Extremely affordable and what you can do is you can communicate now with your youth group through Messenger. The key here is that you don’t wanna be overly promotional. You wanna be conversational by nature. You wanna put in that first name tag so it says, “Hey, Jonas, how’s it going? Just wanna let you know that we’ve got a big youth event coming tonight. It’s at this time. Hope to see you there. If you have any questions, just let me know. I’ll answer right here.” You can use this to get your information out to your student ministry. But again, the key, don’t be overly promotional. Be conversational.

Alex Mills: Love it.

Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Tools. If you want to see our Facebook Messenger tool in action, go to Checklist.church. It’s also gonna be linked in the show notes. Enter the word “social” and you can see how we’re using Facebook Messenger right now to communicate through Messenger marketing. That’ll do it. We’ll see you next time.



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