Social Media Moves to Make in 2018

Post at least one piece of video content a week.

I am sure you have noticed this, but Youtube is not the only video platform these days. Video makes up for 80% of ALL internet traffic as of November 2017. That number is guaranteed to go up next year.

Currently, Facebook desperately wants to become the top player in video content, so the organic algorithm works in your favor when you post video content. This simply means that it seems like they are putting the highest priority on video. Thus, this is the genre of content most likely to appear in the timeline. Take advantage of that!

Our challenge to you is that you post at least one piece of video content a week. If you are already doing that, double your output. Shorter videos are best, so think of bite-sized content over main-course content (opt for a sermon clip over an entire sermon video).

Think Mobile First on All Social Networks

Facebook will be almost completely mobile.
Mobile is king. People are just not looking at social media on their laptops or desktops anymore. Let’s knock out some stats. There are 1.65 billion active users who only use mobile platforms to access Facebook. Furthermore, 55% of people ONLY access the service on mobile, this is a 23% increase over 2016. This number will rise by at least 15% next year. In Q3 of 2017, 82% of all ad revenue came from mobile ads. I cannot wait to see what those numbers look like for Q4 — which will include most of the Christmas shopping season.

Mobile is not just part of a good communications strategy — it’s almost the whole strategy. Your content has to be optimized for mobile viewing.
• Always check how your page appears on a mobile phone.
• Be sure your landing pages and website look amazing on mobile – especially high traffic pages.
• Post vertical video on Facebook. This has been proven to out-preform horizontal video by far.
• Create content that was clearly made on an iPhone — think selfie-cam videos.
• Highly encourage mobile check-ins, they will make a huge difference in your visibility.
• Have fun with mobile-exclusive design, like these press-and-hold graphics.

Understand that Facebook is possibly becoming Pay to Play

There was a scare earlier this year when thousands of pages reported a dramatic drop in “organic” reach on their Facebook pages. (This is when your content shows up on people’s timeline without you paying for it to be there.) The marketing world freaked out for a bit, but then we saw the numbers steady-out again. Turns out Facebook was doing a test, but we think this reveals the direction of the network.

Facebook is not just a social network. It’s a 350 billion dollar marketing empire.

Getting super high organic reach is much harder now than it was three years ago. There is far more paid content now and the company has to put priority on paid content. We predict that this will only become more difficult in 2018. You will need to run some ads and boosted posts along with your normal content in order to keep your reach strong.

Here are some things you can do:
– Double-down on networks with a better organic reach (twitter, instagram, ect).
– Actually allocate a decent chunk of money to paid content.
– Make highly sharable content — mass-sharing is the best way to improve exposure for free.

Use Youtube as More than Video Storage

Youtube is special. It gets over 30 million visitors per day. Every minute there are over one million videos being viewed on mobile phones, but there is something interesting about youtube that we often fail to address — it has a very dynamic community around it’s content.

Youtube is about so much more than a cloud service that lets you host your video. It is a thriving network of people who interact with the videos they view.

Here is what we suggest.
Go far beyond just posting your videos here. Actually make content specifically for youtube. Encourage comments. Interact with the comments. Grow your subscribers.
You do not do this by just posting your sermons once a week. You need to actually produce for the medium.

Consider starting a vlog. Consider doing a weekly devotional. Consider doing silly game-style content with your staff.
It will all take work, but it will all pay off in the end.

Run a Live Show Outside of Your Service

This one is self-explanatory. Live is available on youtube, instagram, and Facebook.

Live content is both the newest and fastest growing online channel.

But, you can only get the full impact when you do it consistently.

This is the same idea as the above section about Youtube. Churches need to start making content outside just the Sunday morning experience. Do some behind the scenes, do a devotional, read Scripture on live, or even bring the live feed into prominent places in your local community.

Consider Branching Out to a New Social Network

Churches use the big four – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.

As these networks continue to grow bigger and bigger, it becomes harder and harder to be found. This sounds ironic, but this is like being lost in a large crowd. It’s much easier to find someone in a coffee shop than the Superbowl.

Thus, early adopters are winners!

We suggest trying one of these three networks.
    Medium: This new network is sort of like a grown-up version of blogspot. Basically, it’s a blog-style network where you post long-form content. That content can then be interacted with by the thriving community — who can find you based on tags, categories, and popularity.

If you study Medium trends — two styles of content do really well: Simple Life Tips (Five Things that Changed My Life) and New Takes on Divisive Issues (Why I Think the Word “Moist” Is Wonderful).
More on how to use medium.

Anchor: This app is designed to create and share soundbites. It’s been called the “Twitter of Audio.” Since ministries push out a lot of audio content each week, this is a no-brainer for us. This is a way to push out small audible tweets throughout the week.

While, we have seen this network only receive minor growth over the year. If it does boom, then getting ahead will be a major victory.
More on Anchor

If you minister in a community with a large international population, then WeChat is a place you need to be! You will need to be on this App as an influencer (more on this in our next post ), not a brand. WeChat was designed as a messaging application, but that only makes up a small percentage of its daily use. Think of it as if Facebook messenger was the primary function of Facebook, but there was still profiles for people to interact with — that is WeChat.

While most Americans have never heard of this network, it has more daily users than Snapchat and Twitter combined. When I was working in China, WeChat was the only way to interact with people outside of in-person communications. (WeChat was far easier because of the translate function though!) Thus, if you do work in a multi-ethnic community, WeChat is a no brainer.
More on WeChat

About the Author

Jackson Garrell

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Jackson is a pastor, designer, and cheese enthusiast. He lives in New York with his wife and several dozen plants. When he is not building websites, consulting churches, or pastoring, you will probably find him trying to create the perfect omelette.