By Chris Bonts
Ed Stetzer shared a humorous line on Twitter last week:
“Based on my vast and excellent research, either: (a) more than all America attended church this weekend or (b) many pastors are loving that Facebook “People Reached” number and confusing it with those actually watching the service. :-)”
I have made the same mistake myself. The first time I preached at First Baptist Middleburg last year, I was blown away when I say a stat under the Facebook post revealing that the video had over 2,000 views. Then I discovered that by “views,” Facebook was measuring how many times that video had played for at least three seconds in someone’s newsfeed, even if the video was auto-played with the volume muted while someone scrolled through their newsfeed.
The real number of views was probably quite different.
Which raises an interesting question for all of us to consider during our time of social distancing: how well do we understand social media metrics and analytics?
Our content is out there for more people to see than ever, but are they really seeing it? Are they really hearing it? Are they really acting on it? Is there any way to tell?
In the past month, we have all been forced to rely on electronic means of communication more than ever. A great portion of that communication is happening via social media. For many of us, the first couple of weeks were devoted to learning how to use the various platforms to post sermons, announcements, host small groups, etc. Most of us have that figured out.
Now it is time to learn how to measure the effectiveness of those efforts and to prepare ourselves to apply these lessons once the social distancing requirements are lifted.
This season is a GREAT opportunity for all of us to grow in our proficiency in this area to engage our communities in meaningful ways moving forward.
With that in mind, here are Seven Helpful Resources to help you as you seize the moment.
11 Facebook Metrics Every Brand Needs to Track – A helpful article that introduces the reader to a number of different terms and metrics used by Facebook that can help any organization improve their effectiveness.
How to Write a Blog Post (with Free Templates) – Don’t reduce your social media efforts to publishing sermons. Write something! Whether you call it a blog post or a newsletter article, questions like “Who is my audience?” and “What will make them come back for more?” are valid questions to ask before you start to write.
Email Newsletter Resource Pack – Speaking of newsletters, here is the definitive collection of free resources on the topic. Discussions of best practices, templates, and calendaring are all discussed at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Check it out. It will be worth your time.
Social Media Demographics to Inform Your Strategy – Should I focus on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to communicate with my people? Who uses which platform? Are younger people using Instagram more than Facebook? Isn’t it enough to just use one platform? Great questions are answered here.
Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Instagram: What’s the Difference: See article above, this link is a helpful companion to that discussion.
8 Ways to Use Facebook Video for More Engagement – Just because someone didn’t watch your sermon video or worship service the moment you uploaded it, doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t watch it later in the week. Have you thought about using a brief video to introduce your sermon? What was your big idea? How will this message encourage them at this time? If you spent hours preparing your message, you should spend at least a few more minutes figuring out how to maximize it’s effectiveness.
The Ridiculously Awesome Guide to Facebook Live – While, you may not be using Facebook Live for your sermon delivery, you can still utilize it to host Bible studies and church wide discussions. Some of our JBA churches started doing this long before the pandemic and have seen some amazing results.
If you know of or discover other great resources of which you think our network needs to be aware, feel free to share them with us so we can pass them along.
As you begin to grow your social media expertise and expand your church’s employment of these free communication resources, don’t forget your resources at the JBA. We are always available for coaching and consulting on this and a host of other issues.
We are all praying you make the most of this opportunity! Let’s all seize the moment for God’s glory.
Chris Bonts is the Missional Strategist for Church Planting with the Jacksonville Baptist Association.