Fix 3 things and improve your social media results
Take advantage of the time the FFM spends on social media looking at where some accounts go wrong and see if you can improve your social media results with these three fixes.
1. Using social solely to promote events rather than a place for SOCIAL engagement.
Social is powerful. We spend countless hours on Facebook, Instagram, and others. As a church communicator, there’s a ton going on, and you have a decent-sized audience on your social accounts. Logically, you SHOULD be able to reach everyone that follows your page and let them know about your upcoming events. Events are timely, and you need to promote it. I get it. I do.
Take a moment and review your social media posts. Is it mostly promoting upcoming events? Now let’s look at your reach. I’m going to take a guess here. If you’re mostly posting about events, you’ll also find that not as many people see your content as you’d like.
Smaller audience reach takes me back to the amount of time we spend on social. Why do we spend so much time there? Three reasons: entertainment, encouragement, and education.
As communicators, we have to accept that being on social media is like playing a made-up game with a small child. The rules keep changing, and it’s in their favor. Regardless of how long you’ve managed social accounts, the reality for everyone is the same. Platforms now emphasize engaging, quality content that keeps people in their apps and on their sites. Social media companies gauge engagement and quality in multiple ways, including comments, likes, and shares.
So how you can get more out of social? Let’s get back to how you or those you know interact. It’s a way to be entertained, encouraged, or educated. Creating content like this can take more brainpower. However, with a little planning and practice, you can do it! And you can still promote your events because you’ll develop a page with engaging content.
It’s a way to be entertained, encouraged, or educated.
Focus more posts on engaging your audience rather than upcoming events. What does that look like? Here’s a potential framework that leans more on entertainment and encouragement people engage with, so that you can still provide the event information.
- Monday: Pull out a quote or scripture from Sunday’s sermon.
- Tuesday: Ask a fun question. Something timely and with widespread appeal. For example, now that we are in October, you can ask people how they feel about candy corn!
- Wednesday: Event information. Your post could be an informational announcement or a call to action with a link to sign-up.
- Thursday: Invite photo/graphic/video for this upcoming Sunday.
- Saturday: Photo/graphic with Sunday service invite and times.
Social media provides a way to build up relationships, which are all about give and take. Get to know your audience and give them the engaging content they seek. You’ll be on better footing to get the social media results you’re looking for on your pages.
2. Reusing content without considering how the different social media platforms work.
Companies make automation and scheduling tools for busy communications teams just like yours! Reusing content is also a top social media and content marketing best practice. It gets dicey, though, when we mash up automation and reusing content. What works well on one platform may not directly translate to another.
In the last few weeks, I’ve seen this come up on Instagram specifically. In those cases, the accounts had fun content and graphics that invited engagement with photos or gifs in the comments. You can do this on Facebook and Twitter. However, this doesn’t work in Instagram posts.
What’s the solution then? Keep the fun and do something a bit differently to get the social media results you’re looking for from your audience. You can still have the posts automatically go up on Facebook. In Instagram posts, you can tweak the content to ask for responses with emojis or just creative fun comments. It helps to have you or someone from your team respond to demonstrate the kind of engagement you’re seeking. You can also use Instagram Stories, where creative engagement is higher through direct messaging, asking questions, etc.
3. Not paying attention to geographic targeting with social ads.
I’ve also noticed within Instagram that I get targeted for church ads. Likely due to my user behavior and following a variety of churches across the country. It makes total sense! I love to see what other churches are doing for these events, how they communicate, etc.
I’ve also noticed that most of these ads are for churches NOWHERE near where I live. I can speculate about the multiple reasons why and how this could happen. However, I’ll instead point you to the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to your next Instagram ad campaign.
Best practice – run your promotions through Facebook Ads Manager and make sure you’re setting the appropriate geography. Facebook, which owns Instagram, does make it super easy to run ads quickly. However, easy may not give you precisely what you want. Running your Instagram ads through Facebook’s business tools allow you to better focus on your intended audience.
Why does this matter? First of all, we’re talking about better stewardship of your ad budget. You won’t waste money on people less likely to be interested because they live on the other side of the country.
Second of all, you’ll have better engagement just by targeting ads to those geographically closer to you – rather than on the other side of the country. A closer audience is more likely to know you, like you, trust you. They’ll also be more likely to like, share, save, or comment – and respond to your ad in real life. Could someone be in the process of moving and arrive there on your doorstep next week? Sure! However, that’s an outlier. With limited time and budgets, best to put those resources towards growing your local audience.
Try it out and see how your social media results improve!
Review your social pages and see how you can apply these tips. Test different tactics out to see what works for your audience and you’ll be on your way to improving your overall engagement!
Need some help elevating your church communications? The team at Firm Foundations guides churches just like yours from all over the country to better understand their audiences, develop plans, and start building relationships. Fill out the form here, and we’ll be in touch!