Have you heard about the #JoyToTheWorld campaign? Is your church thinking of getting involved? Here’s everything you need to know, courtesy of Daniel Taylor, our Communications graduate:
The #JoyToTheWorld campaign is a wonderful opportunity for churches to grow their presence on social media and reach a new audience. More information on the campaign is available here. Churches and visitors are being encouraged to post about their experience of church Christmas services and to post pictures of them under the #JoyToTheWorld to get people through the doors. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the message out effectively during the campaign – and beyond!
General social media advice
Website first It helps to have a focal point of your social media use, think of it as the church website being the centre of what you do and you are using social media to raise your profile and to get people to the website, where they can learn more.
Have fun! Social media which looks forced and corporate is more likely to get ignored.
Gamify Make it into a game or competition. People are more likely to engage with a post if there is something in it for them such as a prize.
Know your audience 35% of social media users are over 55 and that percentage is growing, so don’t fall into the trap of feeling you need to be ‘down with the kids’ to be successful.
Weekends Posts on the weekends get 17% more engagement than those in the week as people have the time to react – don’t neglect Saturday and Sunday. You can always schedule posts.
Be visual Use photos, GIFs and short videos when you post to draw people’s attention. Facebook posts with images see 2.3x more engagement and visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media. (Buffer)
Be up-to-date People take notice when content is regularly updated. If a site is full of recently-updated visual content it tends to have more active users.
Christmas campaign advice
The Joy to the World campaign is all about sharing the celebration of the Christmas story with as many people as possible, this involves advertising the schedule and joy of local Christmas services. In order to do this a website has been created which stores when Christmas services are taking place and matches people with their nearest services. To support the website a social media campaign has also been planned on Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag #JoyToTheWorld. As part of this, both churches and visitors are encouraged to share photos of churches celebrating and to share their experiences of church Christmas services on social media.
Why not try…?
Prize Use your own hashtag in addition to #JoyToTheWorld and then offer a prize for the best photo posted with a certain hashtag.
Collect During a competition it is possible to use sites such as Storify
Evite Take pictures of what will be going on in the next service, for example a photo of some mince pies if they will be on offer, and pre-emptively post them on social media with the #JoyToTheWorld and invite people to come along.
Say cheese Get a novelty photo frame for people to take pictures in such as this one here. They are a cheap and entertaining way to get people to take a picture.
X-mas Factor Have a carol off – video people singing excerpts of carols as a talent showcase.
Social media sites advice
Please RT Ask for retweets and shares, it doesn’t affect how people see it and makes them more likely to. A retweet and share are Twitter and Facebook’s terms for when someone shares someone else’s post on their own account.
Lifespan of a butterfly The lifetime of a tweet is 7 minutes – it’s a good idea to share something more than once.
Tweet Tweet Aim for about 1-4 tweets a day – use hashtags, pics, videos and gifs.
Twitter + Food Lunchtime and 7pm are good times to post.
Add to your audience Follow related people on Twitter – it is considered polite to follow back which makes it a great method of growing your audience.
.@c_of_e Don’t start a tweet with @ - it restricts the number of people who see it , use .@ instead.
The ol’ 1, 2 combination Guidelines suggest that pages with fewer than 10,000 likes should aim for roughly one post per day, another recommends two posts per day as a maximum. This will keep your page fresh in your audience’s mind and keep them coming back.
Page vs Group Facebook groups offer more for a church community – it’s good to have a group and also a public page.
One of the most important resources to use is the inbuilt analytics in the website you are using. For instance if you have a Facebook page you can find out important facts about your audience which can help to tailor your content. This is available in the ‘Insights’ tab of the page.
On Twitter you can also find out key facts about your audience in the ‘Analytics’ page, accessible by clicking on the profile picture in the top right of the page. Click on the image for a closer look.
By using these insights you can see what content gets a good response from your audience and learn when they are most receptive to your posts. From there you can tailor your content and improve. A number of useful websites for use with social media are listed below.
- IFTTT – connects accounts on different platforms so that you can share Instagram pictures on Twitter as a twitter picture rather than a link
- Buffer– connects accounts on different websites and allows scheduling of posts
- Tweriod– Twitter analytics which show when your followers are normally online
- Hashtagify.me – shows related hashtags to ones which you use
- Storify – Stores all the tweets which use a specific hashtag
- Picmonkey.com – free to use image editor
- Canva– free to use image editor
- Hootsuite– Twitter manager
- Tweetdeck– a website which functions as a dashboard for your Twitter, enabling you to see new updates as they happen and breakdown your screen into lists of users.
- Sproutsocial– social media manager that lets you schedule, queue and publish messages to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Offers a free trial but having a membership costs
- Unsplash – free to use pictures
It should be noted that social media comes with its own hazards, so proceed with an element of caution and abide by the social media guidelines of the Diocese of Guildford, available here.