What's in this session?

  • 7 out of every 10 Americans adults is active on Facebook (Pew Research) (1:06)
  • Millennials and Gen X spend ~7 hours on social each week (Nielsen) (1:12)
  • The second largest demographic on Facebook is people ages 55+ (Statista) (1:23)
  • Boomers spend about ~4 hours on social each week overall (Nielsen) (1:29)
  • Compare social media to traditional media for a moment. Now, these costs will vary per region, but on average an outreach tool like a billboard will cost about ~$3,000/month. Circulating radio ads will set you back about ~$5,000/month. And if you want to do regional television and run a single thirty second ad just once a day you're looking at north of ~$7,500/month (2:10)
  • This is what makes social media so amazing. Not only is the barrier to entry zero - but even spending just couple hundred bucks a month on your social efforts can actually outpace anything you could do with traditional media that costs 10X-20X more money. (4:24)
  • Rule #1: Attention is all that matters on social media (4:28)
  • Rule #2: Stop The Scroll (5:01)
  • Rule #3: Repeat Equals Defeat (5:14)
  • The “1-in-5 Rule” (6:51)
  • Day #1: The Countdown (7:38)
  • Day #2: The Bible Reading (11:34)
  • Day #3: The Question (16:00)
  • Day #4: The List (18:29)
  • Day #5: The Engagement Booster (21:35)
  • Day #6: The Church Invitation (25:52)
  • Day #7: The Sunday Story (28:38)
  • Question: Is repeating this over and over contrary to repeat equals defeat? (29:30)
  • Question: How do you create these? (30:05)
  • Social program promo (32:18)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: Today, you’re going to learn the ultimate seven day social media calendar for churches. This is the same framework that hundreds of churches around the world are beginning to embrace, and they’re seeing their engagement skyrocket because of it. So, buckle up. Because by the end of this podcast, you and your church will have a complete social media posting strategy for every single day of the week.

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: By the end of this episode, Alex, for everyone that’s watching and listening, you are going to have a complete social media strategy for your church. Let’s dive right in. The first question we need to answer, for those that are still skeptical about social, it’s like why is social so important? Are we just on it because everyone else is on it? And that actually is part of the answer, because all communication requires attention. We have the greatest story that’s ever been told, but it doesn’t really matter if no one is paying attention to that story, and that’s what makes social so powerful. Let’s jump into a few brief statistics. Firstly, 7 out of every 10 American adults is active on Facebook. That’s from Pew Research. Millennials and Gen X spend about seven hours on average on social media each and every week. That comes from Nielsen. But, it’s not just young people that are on social.

Alex Mills: Nope, it’s your mom and your dad.

Brady Shearer: It’s mommy and daddy. Because the second largest demo on Facebook is people ages 55 plus. That comes from Statista. And Boomers spend about four hours on social media every single week overall. If you compare social media to, let’s say, traditional media, you know costs are going to vary per region, but according to Fit Small Business, a billboard is going to cost about $3,000 every month. Circulating radio ads are going to set you back about $5000 each month. And if you want to do regional television, so not like national stuff, this is just that regional television ad spots, run a single 30 second ad just once a day, you’re looking at north of $7500 a month.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: And this is why we love social so much. Because we know that the vast majority of churches are 350 people or fewer, 90 plus percent of churches. So, social is amazing because it is a barrier of entry that requires nothing to get into it. It just evens the playing field, because maybe you can’t do what the big church down the road can, but with social you don’t need to worry about a ton of expensive gear. You don’t need that worry about these huge thousands and thousands of dollars up front cost just to get one billboard with one creative. You get one shot at it. So, if you are able to spend one, two, hundred bucks a month on social, you can easily outpace what you could do with traditional media which costs ten to 20 times more.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and I think you’re starting to see smaller churches make the move towards beginning to embrace social media. We say it every episode: we’re in the midst of the biggest communication shift in the last 500 years. I would say that it’s unprecedented, the biggest communication shift of all time. And about this point last year, I was kind of just looking at our audience and talking with churches every day. I was having the thoughts, is the church about to miss this moment? Are we gonna be too far behind here? And at this point last year I was concerned because I saw a lot of churches in our audience still resisting social, but today, in June of 2019, I’m so excited because I’m seeing churches, especially in our audience and smaller churches, saying, realizing, this is where the audience is and I don’t know anything about social media. I’m pretty much convinced that it’s the devil’s playground, but I’m gonna jump in anyways. So we’re seeing churches all over say, hey, I got this Instagram handle. I’m jumping in.

Alex Mills: But if you’re one of those churches listening or watching to this video, it’s like, I have the handle, I have this account, I don’t really know how this platform works, and I definitely don’t know what to post. So this episode, you’re going to get a social media strategy, a calendar, so you can look at this calendar and say, it’s Tuesday. What kind of post should we be posting today? We’re gonna lay this out for you and really help you get started on your kind of journey into using social as a ministry.

Brady Shearer: The opportunity is huge, the barrier to entry is essentially zero, but to make waves on social you still need to understand what you’re doing, and frankly most churches do not, and they usually don’t even have a problem admitting that they do not. Let’s first start to understand social truly, you need to know these three basic rules. The first is that attention is the most valuable commodity on social media. Think about how we use social. It is one of the noisiest places that there is. You log on to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and your feed is littered, cluttered, chock full of any and every possible thing that you could see. So just being on social and posting isn’t enough; you need to focus on earning the attention, first to get someone to follow you, but then also earning their attention within the feed. And that’s the first rule. How do you do that?

Brady Shearer: That leads us to rule number two, and that is stop the scroll. Stop the scroll is important, because understanding the behavior of social. You log onto Insta, you immediately start scrolling. How do you get somebody’s attention? You need to stop their scroll. How do you do that? That’s rule number three. Repeat equals defeat. It goes contrary to what most of us would believe. A consistent, visual branding on social media is one of the most detrimental things that you can lean into as a church, because what it does is it conditions the people that are following you to actually ignore your social posts because they all look the same. If you wanna stop the scroll, you need to zig when everyone else is zagging. You need to be visually different. And that’s why if your visuals are looking the same over and over again, if there is repetition, repeat equals defeat.

Brady Shearer: So those three rules for understanding how social works, one more time. Number one, attention most valuable commodity. How do you get attention? That’s rule number two. Stop the scroll. And how do you stop the scroll? That’s rule number three. Repeat equals defeat.

Alex Mills: So good. People should be taking notes here. That’s important stuff.

Brady Shearer: But I will still say, people are still thinking, okay, great, those are some nice conceptual rules, guidelines. It’s a nice framework. But now what do I actually post? Cause what most churches do is they use social to redirect to their in person experiences. They use social as basically a billboard to say, we’ve got a Sunday service coming up. Or we’ve got small groups coming up. Or we’ve got a men’s barbecue coming up. That’s not what social is for. In fact, we looked at the most successful and high engaging churches on social, the ones with the most followers and the ones that are not just banding the metrics, puffing up, but are actually getting engagement within those numbers. And we found that those churches, less than 20% of the time, for every single one that we looked at, posted about their in person services and events. So we call this the one in five rule. At the very most, one out of every five social posts should be promotive. An upcoming service, an upcoming in person event.

Alex Mills: The very most. Say that one more time for the people in the back. The very most, if you’re posting Monday through Friday on social, only one of those at most should be posting about a promotional event that you’re doing at your church.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, because we use that one in five rule and 20% rule, but none of the churches we actually tracked even met that. I think on average it was 14%. So it was like at the very most, one out of every five. What are you posting the other days? That’s what the seven day social media calendar is for. You know why social is important, you know how to understand the ins and outs, the behavior of users on social, what are you posting?

Brady Shearer: Day number one, we call this the countdown post. We all know how much of a time waster social media can be. We mindlessly scroll through our feeds, just looking for something that’ll interest us for a second or two, but what if we can redeem some of this time? That’s where the idea for the countdown post comes from. Essentially we’re using the time spent on social to provoke spiritual practice. So in this first example we’ve got a video. It’s a 60 second video in length, and the symbol call to action on this video simply says: Take 60 seconds right now to pray for your spouse. We all know how important prayer is in your churches. We have prayer events. We have prayer meetings. We have prayer groups. But people are spending, even Boomers, four times as much time on social than they are in your church building. So why are we gonna always say, come to our church to pray? We can provoke people to prayer right on social where they are right now. In the second example we use this prompt where we say, “What’s one thing you’re grateful for today? It can be anything. Got it? Awesome. Now take 30 seconds to thank God for it.” So that’s a 30 second countdown instead of prompting someone to pray for their spouse, we’re saying, just choose something that you’re grateful for today.

Alex Mills: That’s invoking spiritual practice.

Brady Shearer: Absolutely. You’re just grateful for maybe the home that you live in, for the country that you live in, for the friends that you have, the fact that you’ve got food on the table today. Whatever you’re thankful for or grateful for, and that’s gonna quicken the mind of people differently, and then individually they can respond to God and thank him for it. Another example, spend the next 60 seconds praying for a person in your life who has yet to encounter Jesus. We saw great responses when we shared that post. And then finally, it doesn’t have to just be prayer. We did this with a meditation practice where here’s a prayer exercise for you. Breathe in the love of God, breathe out your worries. Breathe in the life of God, breathe out every frustration. Breathe in the hope of God, breathe out all past regrets. And then finally, breathe in the love of God, breathe out any lingering resentment. We close it out, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen.

Alex Mills: My church really, really loved that one. They connected with that. I remember when I saw this type of post for the first time. It was on a Facebook page. Actually the way we found it was this Facebook page, you’ve gotta forgive me, I forget what it’s called, but they used our footage from story tape, our social media, or sorry, our stock footage website. They used some of our footage and created this countdown that said, “Take 60 seconds and pray for your spouse.” And I remember seeing this and kinda had my mind blown, because I was like, “Oh, this is a really practical way to use social media as a ministry and promote spiritual practice.” If I were to see that in my feed, it would be unlike anything I’d ever seen, so it’s gonna stop my scroll. Once you have my attention, I’m going to do this. And I find myself on social getting frustrated with how fast I’m scrolling and sometimes with the mindless stuff I’m doing.

Alex Mills: So to be able to give me that opportunity to use social in a fruitful way, and you can double down on this. I was thinking when we were just giving that example of the gratefulness one. If you’re doing a sermon series on Sunday about the fruit of the Spirit and you’re hitting thankfulness or whatever, you can double down on that. Do a callback to what you were talking about on Sunday. So this is an opportunity on Tuesday night to give the people in your congregation, in your community, a chance to put what they learned to practice. It’s like where that rubber meets the road. And that’s how you’re going to see real life change in the church. And the fact that we can use social media for that is just incredible.

Brady Shearer: We often talk in church about meeting people where they are. Well, where they are is on social. And you don’t just need to go to social. Meet people where they are and then invite them to come back to where you are. No, they’re already there, and you can start accomplishing your church’s mission, provoking spiritual practice, then and now. Well I guess it wouldn’t be now if it was then. There and now.

Alex Mills: there and then.

Brady Shearer: Day number two.

Alex Mills: Here, today.

Brady Shearer: Is the Bible reading template. The idea behind this post template is to promote biblical literacy. That’s something that our churches definitely care about.

Alex Mills: We could all use a little more of.

Brady Shearer: That’s for sure. Did you know that more than half of all American adults, not just Christians, but all American adults, this is from Barna, say they wish they read the Bible more often?

Alex Mills: Give them an opportunity.

Brady Shearer: Give them an opportunity online. This first example we took a long form Bible passage from Matthew 19 and we turned it into an iMessage back and forth comp. So it starts with, “Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?” And this is that back and forth with Christ from Matthew 19, but instead of just putting a picture of the Bible, we turned it into a comp where it’s like this iMessage, like two people texting back and forth. And the reason that we did that goes back to rule number two of understanding social, which is stop the scroll. One great way to stop the scroll with your visuals is to use your familiar design in unfamiliar places.

Alex Mills: So good.

Brady Shearer: So someone’s on Facebook or Instagram and they’re scrolling through their feed and suddenly they see an iMessage that says, “Teacher, what must I do to gain eternal life?” First they’re gonna be like, “What’s that doing here? Why is there an iMessage on Instagram?” And they’re not gonna consciously think that of course, but that’s what stopping the scroll is all about. Putting something that’s unusual that sets you apart from every other thing within the feed, because once you’ve stopped their scroll, now you have the opportunity to actually engage them with the content that you’re sharing. And what I love about both the countdown template and the Bible reading template is that they’re very long-form. We usually deliver these through the video media because we can make them anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds in length. Once you stop the scroll with a perhaps familiar design in an unfamiliar place, now they’re actually paying attention to what you’re sharing.

Brady Shearer: And if that individual, that user, hovers on your post for those 30 to 60 seconds because they’re reading through that long form Bible passage, or because they’re engaging in the countdown, the prayer, the meditation, now that individual is signaling to the algorithms of social, not only was this post worth stopping my scroll, but I stayed on there for 30 to 60 seconds. You’ve gotta understand the behavior of social platforms. Their entire goal is to get people to spend more time on their app. Facebook wants you to spend more time on Facebook, more time on Instagram, more time on Twitter. That’s what Twitter wants. So if you as a poster are creating the types of posts that people spend more time on than average, that signals to the algorithm, hey, hey, show more people this church’s posts because they’re doing the things that we like. And that’s what these first two posts do especially well at.

Brady Shearer: A second example of the Bible reading template, we call this the Bible lottery, where essentially we ask church volunteers and leaders to share with us their favorite Bible passages. Now comment below with a number from one to ten and we’ll give you a passage of Scripture to read today based on their suggestions. It’s like Deal or No Deal for Bible passages. In this envelope, we don’t know. A final example, we like to call this the Myth or Fact version of the Bible reading template, where basically we purposefully misrepresent a Bible passage that people are probably familiar with and this is a great way to stop the scroll as well because you’re reading through and you’re like, “Wait a minute. That’s not how that verse goes.” So in this example we have Jesus’ words from Luke 6, “Love your enemies. Do good to them. But keep a watchful eye.” Well that’s not how that verse ends. So we scratch out that final “But keep a watchful eye” stance and we replace it with “Love your enemies, do good to them, but put your country first.”

Alex Mills: No.

Brady Shearer: That’s not it either.

Alex Mills: Scratch it.

Brady Shearer: No nationalism here. Love your enemies, do good to them, lend and expect nothing back.

Alex Mills: There it is.

Brady Shearer: Within our social program where this post was distributed, people loved this post. And that’s because it does something unusual. Again, it’s all about misdirection. It’s about stopping the scroll. It’s about expecting one thing and getting another, which makes you hover for that much longer. And the nice thing about this type of template is sometimes it just takes a different lens. Seeing the scriptures in a different way. And so by mirroring what they actually say with the opposite, showing the antonym to what the scriptures say, what we know in our hearts what it’s meant to say, is a great way of helping to understand. When I was in school, when you’re learning English, a lot of times when you’re trying to understand a word, it can be difficult to explain, but if you’re like, “Okay, the opposite of this is this,” it can help provide greater depth to the true meaning of the original word.

Brady Shearer: On to day number three. We keep this going. We call this the question post. The point of this post is to get a bunch of engagement, get some meaningful conversation going. So we like to ask questions pertaining to church generally, but you can go beyond church questions with this as well. In this first example, why did you start attending our church? Share your answer in the comments below. This post was gang busters, to use a throwback term. Here’s a second question. How old were you when you first started attending church? Here’s one that’s kind of church related because it’s like the church family and community, but it’s not necessarily spiritual. It simply says, do you have a good dog or any good pet? Take a picture and tell us your pet’s name. Share it in the comments.

Alex Mills: Hey, God created those pets.

Brady Shearer: All dogs go to heaven, right? That’s in the Bible? It might be from Warner Brothers. If you’re listening to this episode and you’re not able to see the visual examples here, you might wanna go to YouTube.com/prochurchtools and watch through this, but what’s important to know even if you watch it or you don’t is that every single post that we’ve shared so far, and I think we’ve got ten examples thus far, there is no visual carryover, any consistency, any congruency, between any of the visuals for each of the posts. That goes back to rule number three, repeat equals defeat. One of the questions we get a lot is, is it bad to do multiple countdowns? Because repeat equals defeat, right? Why would we do a countdown, let’s say, every Monday? The point there is not that you can’t do the same types of posts. It’s that you don’t wanna repeat the visuals.

Alex Mills: Yeah, it’s the visuals that’s gonna stop the scroll, not the actual content itself. So you can repeat the archetype of the post. You can do a question post every Friday if you wanted, or we used to do a music post every Tuesday. You can repeat that context, but not the same content.

Brady Shearer: Absolutely. So you always gotta be thinking as you’re sitting down to design these, to spec them out. What design can I come up with that’s different from all the others that is gonna make … shows no consistency so people won’t ignore it? And frankly that’s a tall task. If you wanna do social well, this is what it comes down to. If you want to rise above the rest and break through the noise on that feed, you’ve got to be able to stop the scroll, and that all comes down to repeat equals defeat. You’ve gotta be different. You can’t get stuck in a rut, and that’s one way to shine and rise above the rest.

Brady Shearer: Day number four is the list post. So many different ways to manifest this type of post. Everyone loves list posts because they’re easily digestible. [crosstalk 00:18:38] Feels like you can take a ton of information and you get to consume it in a short time. Literally. A multimillion dollar platform Buzzfeed was created upon this idea. We’re taking that listical idea and we’re putting it in a social post. One example of how to do this, we call this the 20 second Bible lesson.

Alex Mills: This one’s gotta be one of my favorites.

Brady Shearer: Well thank you, because I came up with this just two months ago. That means I am not over the hill yet.

Alex Mills: Well it goes back to the biblical literacy thing. Especially as a teaching pastor, that’s one of the things I struggle with on Sundays. It’s like there’s not a big opportunity during a Sunday service to engage back and forth. That’s a lot of people sitting and listening to me, which can be fine but can also feel really limiting. And so if you’re just listening to what I have to say about the Bible, I’m not sure how much that contributes to biblical literacy. So to take this on to social and open it up for some engagement and some discussion. We have this example post here of the 20 second Bible lesson. So this is like did you know that many of the world’s most popular names come from the Bible? So we list some, like Jacob, Sarah, and James. And did you also know that the longest word of the Bible is also a name, and I’m not gonna try and pronounce that name, but it’s got a bunch of letters that don’t really look like they go together. But on social …

Brady Shearer: Mehershalah Hashbaz. Like Prophet Isaiah said.

Alex Mills: You can see Mehershelah in the beginning, and then after that it’s like, did that many consonants really belong beside each other?

Brady Shearer: Can you put an H next to a B?

Alex Mills: I don’t know. But you can post this on social, this short list. Somebody can learn something. But then they have the opportunity to respond and comment and engage and take that conversation in a place maybe you never thought it would. And before you know it, your congregation’s gonna be more biblically literate than you ever thought they could. We’re using social this way and we’ve made these interactions on social we never really thought we were gonna be able to make, and we’re finding that they also kind of carry over to the Sunday morning gatherings. You find us talking about these types of posts on Sunday morning before the service when you’re having coffee. And so, and this is definitely one of my favorite types of posts.

Brady Shearer: Within our social program for churches, here’s one of our all time best performance posts. It’s three things Jesus never said. In list form. Number one, your life will be without setbacks. Number two, I will answer every prayer exactly how you want me to. And number three, following me will be easy. Again, the same idea, the Myth or Fact Bible template, where your purposely incorrectly fill out the scripture. Show the opposite of what Jesus said. Sometimes it just shows us in new ways what his words actually mean, and then finally, this is actually probably the all time best performing post. It’s another list post. I’m telling you, people, people love list posts. Just simply says, “Love thy:” and then there’s a list. Homeless neighbor. Muslim neighbor. Black neighbor. Gay neighbor. Immigrant neighbor. Christian neighbor. Jewish neighbor. Atheist neighbor. Addicted neighbor. Just extrapolating upon the greatest commandment.

Brady Shearer: Day number five in the social media calendar, that seven day structure: the engagement booster. What about the engagement accelerator?

Alex Mills: Ooh, I like the alliteration.

Brady Shearer: The engagement exaggerator.

Alex Mills: There it is. Nice.

Brady Shearer: This first one, one has to be eliminated. Number one: pizza. Number two: tacos. Number three: burgers. Number four: chicken wings. Go.

Alex Mills: Chicken wings.

Brady Shearer: Yep, get them out of here. These posts are great. Winglets, drumlets, whatever they’re called.

Alex Mills: These types of posts, these engagement boosters, I find, and we have these on day five which is I guess would be Friday.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, I purposely set it up that way.

Alex Mills: We post these kinds of posts on Friday as well because it’s like everyone’s looking forward to the weekend, it’s 12 p.m. on a Friday, you’re pretty much checked out anyways. You’re on Facebook when you’re not supposed to be. It’s casual Friday. You’re wearing shorts to work. This is the kind of mood you’re in. This is a great post for Friday, tons of fun. And often it doesn’t have a lot to do with spirituality or biblical literacy, and that is so okay. We find some churches when they first encounter this type of post maybe a little bit resistant about it, but this is the kind of life that we’re all living. These are the conversations you’re having at the office, you’re having around the dinner table, so why not bring that on social as well and gather as a community there as well?

Brady Shearer: If you were in a small group and people started discussing, what’s your favorite Marvel movie?

Alex Mills: Shut it down.

Brady Shearer: You wouldn’t shut down the conversation …

Alex Mills: We’re here to talk about Romans 12.

Brady Shearer: Okay, look. We have a sheet. You have to answer the questions on the sheet.
Alex Mills: Stick to the sheet.

Brady Shearer: How dare organic conversations like this come out of nowhere. This is not okay.
Alex Mills: Especially about Marvel films because wow.

Brady Shearer: Disney, wow. We can see your true colors now.

Brady Shearer: Also understanding the behavior of social and how the algorithms work. It’s important to have posts like this that will generate a ton of response, a ton of engagement, because if all you do is only post “spiritual” stuff, it’s just not gonna earn as much engagement, and you’ll kinda get into this distending spiral where posts continue to get less and less engagement. It’s just like pastors. Why do pastors share funny anecdotes at the beginning of sermons? They do that to grab your attention so that when they get to the meet or the “deep spiritual stuff” later in the message, you’re more likely to respond, and this is the exact same thing. You post an engagement booster type of post on a Friday, it gets a ton of engagement, well maybe when you post that countdown post the next Monday, the social algorithms are more likely to show people that post so they’re more likely to respond to it and engage in the spiritual practice. But it’s all part of an overall strategy. Now if all you did was post the high engagement stuff, your church could just become a meme account and you might get a ton of likes and a ton of followers, but there wouldn’t be any depth there.

Brady Shearer: But if all you did was only post the deep stuff, you probably wouldn’t get as much people so the width wouldn’t be there. What we’re trying to do is trying to maximize width and depth. As many people as possible going as deep as possible. You need these both. You need a full holistic strategy. So don’t shy away from these types of posts because if you do, you’re gonna leave a lot of width on the table, and that’s just not something that I would recommend you doing. Let’s talk about additional examples of this type of post. We’ve done the emoji Bible story. Can you guess which story from the Bible this is? Post your answer in the comments. So this example, we’ve got a man emoji followed by a man emoji followed by a man emoji followed by a prayer hands emoji, a king emoji, and a finger point emoji, and finally a fire emoji.

Alex Mills: What’s awkward about these ones, we make them pretty simple. If you’re biblically literate at all, you should be able to figure these out. But it’s awkward when somebody comments and they got it wrong.

Brady Shearer: An opportunity to learn.

Alex Mills: And everyone else is getting it right. So how do you gently respond and be like, “Close, but this is not Daniel in the lions’ den. There’s no lions here.”

Brady Shearer: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. That king emoji, that is of course King Nebuchadnezzar. Final example, the would you rather post. Number one, would you rather name the animals or would you rather build the ark. That’s just a fun one as well.

Alex Mills: Love it. You know I’m naming the animals.

Brady Shearer: Of course you’re naming the animals. You love the animals.

Brady Shearer: Day number six is the church invitation post template. So gone through every single weekday, we’re heading into the weekends. We love to use Saturday as a church invitation post. Just kinda remind people, church is coming tomorrow. We’re excited. And I love these posts because if you post them on a Saturday, and of course every single one is different because you’re following that repeat equals defeat mantra and rule of social, you’re demonstrating to your church how much you care about the upcoming service, which over time will signal there’s no such thing as just another Sunday. You wanna be here every single Sunday. If you look at how much effort we’re putting into this social post, promoting this upcoming service, you’re gonna wanna be here.

Alex Mills: You’re gonna wanna be here.

Brady Shearer: And this is where the one in five rule comes in. Because day number six, the first five there’s no promotion whatsoever. We’re promoting spiritual practice, we’re provoking meaningful conversations online. None of this is like, we’ve got a brunch coming up. But comes to Saturday, we like to use Saturday as a church invitation post day. This first example is a breaking news alert. We use the cheesy news insignia, and once that comes across, what’s the breaking news? Church is tomorrow. Can’t wait to see you. In the second example we have taken everyone’s favorite online activity, the captcha form, where you have to select all the images with storefronts.

Alex Mills: The words.

Brady Shearer: With a crosswalk.

Alex Mills: I rarely get it on the first try. Be like, I don’t know if you’re defining this as a chimney or not. I don’t know. I’m just guessing here.

Brady Shearer: In this example we made it a bit easier. Select all images with a church building. And so people are clicking through. This is a church building, this is a church building. You click verify and then it says success: church is tomorrow. See you there. If you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see one of the most outrage inducing online user interfaces, how can you not stop scrolling?

Alex Mills: You have to stop.

Brady Shearer: We’re redeeming the Captcha with this church invitation post. Final example, we took the classic graphic design of Jeopardy when you select. Alex, I would like Raptor’s championship curry trivia for 200, and it comes up and it says simply this, not Raptor’s trivia in this case, what a shame: an assembly or gathering happening tomorrow with a seat saved just for you.

Alex Mills: Alex, what is church?

Brady Shearer: Correct. See you tomorrow.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: So again, all of these are gonna have a completely different visual. They’re all gonna be a little bit cheeky, a little bit fun, because the whole point is just to have a fun reminder, the church is upcoming tomorrow. And then what do you do, day seven, on the day for church? We call this the Sunday story post, and this is where we encourage you to get a little bit into your freestyle game. You can post a memorable quote from the pastor, perhaps a photo of fellowship in the hallway, people holding their road signs, people parking, photo of church life, whatever that might be. Something to just commemorate what happened on that Sunday in a fun way. And for those that aren’t at church, it’s also just to set a reminder, on Sundays we have so much fun. You gotta be here. We want you to be here next week. There’s no such thing as just another Sunday. And you can mix it up. So again, memorable quote, photo of a bunch of people talking in the lobby, photo of worship, raised hands, whatever it might be. The Sunday story. Some way to recap what happened on Sunday.

Alex Mills: So good.

Brady Shearer: I wanna respond to a couple of questions we get a lot about social media. Question number one, is repeating over and over the types of posts contrary to repeat equals defeat? I wanna emphasize this again because it’s one of the questions we get the most. Repeat equals defeat refers to the visuals. It refers to the graphic design, what the posts look like, not necessarily the content. We’ve given you this seven-day framework that you can revisit over and over and over again. So that is comforting, that you can fall back on that. Your job is going to be how do I take this post and find a new way to reimagine it where the visuals are different?

Brady Shearer: Second question is how do you create these? We get that a lot in the YouTube comments. We create these posts firstly in Photoshop. We’ve got a couple of different designers that will mock these up. I create the ideas. I’ll usually give some design inspiration, I’ll put in the aspect ratio that I want. I’ll say, okay, I think this is the length of the video that we want it to be. Usually we create both a video version and an image version. And as an aside, similar to repeat equals defeat with what the visuals look like, the content mediums that you use, repeat equals defeat applies there as well. So I would recommend posting just as many videos as you do images. Posting slide shows, experimenting with the different types of mediums that these social platforms are offering you. Don’t just get stuck into only images. We see churches do that a lot. Again, you’re leaving a lot of width on the table when it comes to reach and engagement by only using a certain type of post in a single medium.

Brady Shearer: So again, I had this Google sheet, I’m writing up the content, some visual inspiration, aspect ratio, the length, any footage that we wanna use, any specific design notes that our designers will get into Photoshop. They’ll mock these up, they’ll bring the designs to life visually. We then send it over to our animation department. We’ve got a couple of animators. They take the Photoshop template, they bring it into after effects, and that’s where they start adding the motion graphics. They’re taking these static design elements and they’re turning it into motion itself. We add some music, we export it, and then we deliver it. So a lot of times people are like, “Hey, is there a free app that creates these?”

Alex Mills: Not quite.

Brady Shearer: I compare this a lot to a trades worker because the designers and animators that we use are professionals at their job, and me as the content creator, I’m a professional in that job. It’d be like saying to a professional architect, I suppose, “How do you create this?” Well there’s a lot of moving pieces and there’s a lot of different employees that make this happen, and everyone has their unique role. There isn’t just like, download Bisco and create a free filter. It’s not that simple, at least for how we do it.

Brady Shearer: But for instance, day three, the question post. You don’t need to have some spectacular design to simply ask the question, when did you start attending our church? So these ideas will work in any context; we just like to be more elaborate and extravagant because we’re trying to deliver to our churches the best of the best, and we’ve mentioned our social program a couple of times so far. That’s where all these ideas come from. For about a year now we’ve been creating daily social media content for hundreds and hundreds of churches where every single day they get a new video post, they get a new image post, they get a new Photoshop template, after effects template if they want to do customizations. And then we also offer them all unlimited customizations if they want them to get changed. So if we used a Bible reading post template and they wanna change the translation, we’ll make that change for you. If you wanna swap out different footage that we use for custom footage for your church or just a different image because you think it fits your church better, we’ll do that for you. If you want some of the colors tweaked, we can do that for you as well.

Brady Shearer: If you want more information about this you can email us, hello, at prochurchtools.com, because it’s not publicly open so we’d have to send you a private link if you want to join the social program. But if any of these ideas, if they’re exciting to you, like yeah, I’d love to have this just done for me, because that’s what it’s meant to be for, done for you social media, you never have to worry about. We’ve created the structure; it’s upon you to come up with the ideas. Unless you don’t want it to be on you, and then it’s on me and our team, and we’ll deliver all of those files for you, and you don’t have to worry about creating them in Photoshop and after effects.

Alex Mills: There you go. Couldn’t be easier than that.

Brady Shearer: Couldn’t be easier. Hello at prochurchtools.com. Shoot us an email if you want that. If you have any questions about social, please put them in the comments below on YouTube. This is kinda meant to answer all of your questions on how we approach social from a strategic standpoint, but if you are still fuzzy on some things, let us know and I’ll make sure that I’ll answer as many as I possibly can. And that’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Tools. We’ll see you next time.



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