Churches and Social Media

Some good points in this post regarding churches using social media as outreach, particularly for youth. It’s important to keep in mind the “how’s” and “why’s” and “where’s” of different age groups and social media use as well.

I tell my clients all the time that just like we don’t all listen to music or watch “TV” the same (in the Spotify, Netflix, and Hulu age), we all don’t use social media for the same reason to accomplish the same things. Not to mention the often overlooked variable of geography and place when using social media. Churches really need to think through their approaches and goals with these in mind.

Setting up an Instagram account is easy. Using it in a way that authentically tells your story and engages current members is tough. Figuring out if its targeted towards youth or adults and why that matters is even more difficult. Don’t put all of that responsibility on a youth minister or Associate Pastor in this age of data-driven accountability.

So do the math and don’t believe in “build it and they will come.” That philosophy might have worked for ballparks in the middle of Iowa to attract the ghosts of the past, but it won’t work to attract engagement with very socially alive people in 2018 and beyond.

“I encourage you to count the cost,” Carey said. “It’s going to take time and effort to do this.”

Churches and ministries also must focus on storytelling to foster relationships between viewers and churches.

— Read on baptistnews.com/article/churches-must-count-the-cost-of-pursuing-youth-on-social-media/

Facebook ads prices are too high and companies are shifting to Instagram

The impression-based market on Facebook ads haven’t resulted in a solid and stable pricing model for most direct-to-consumer companies (or nonprofits, churches, community groups etc). The targeting capabilities are exciting, but the pricing costs for ads have to match up with the returns.

So now we’re all flocking to Instagram Stories…

Digiday spoke with 10 direct-to-consumer companies, and all of them report their marketing mix has de-emphasized Facebook for other digital alternatives — including Facebook-owned Instagram — but seven of them also say they are expanding into traditional vehicles. The reason: Prices are getting high for audience segments and the feed has become a very cluttered space.

— Read on digiday.com/marketing/pivot-traditional-direct-consumer-brands-sour-facebook-ads/

Teens Have Officially Moved Beyond Facebook

Wow, these stats are really quite something. Facebook dominates the social media landscape for older Americans, but teens have moved on to YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat over the last 3-4 years.

Astonishing changes in usage percentages and something Facebook, and marketers, should really be concerned about (yes, Instagram is owned by Facebook but the Newsfeed is still the bulk of $$ for Facebook).

It’s hard to earn back users once young people start leaving, as Friendster and MySpace found out.

The social media landscape in which teens reside looks markedly different than it did as recently as three years ago. In the Center’s 2014-2015 survey of teen social media use, 71% of teens reported being Facebook users. No other platform was used by a clear majority of teens at the time: Around half (52%) of teens said they used Instagram, while 41% reported using Snapchat.

In 2018, three online platforms other than Facebook – YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat – are used by sizable majorities of this age group. Meanwhile, 51% of teens now say they use Facebook. The shares of teens who use Twitter and Tumblr are largely comparable to the shares who did so in the 2014-2015 survey.

Source: Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018 | Pew Research Center

How Instagram’s algorithm works

My clients often don’t realize that Facebook, Instagram or Twitter place content directly in front of users eyeballs based on when things are posted.

We live in the “attention” era and you have to not only produce worthwhile content to get noticed but also maintain interest and relationship.

Three main factors determine what you see in your Instagram feed:

Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher ranking for what matters to you, determined by past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post.

Recency: How recently the post was shared, with prioritization for timely posts over weeks-old ones.

Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.

Source: How Instagram’s algorithm works | TechCrunch

Owning your own platform is important, and valuable

I often get the question from clients of why I mostly recommend having your own website on WordPress or a self-hosted platform in the age of Facebook. As companies who built their businesses and traffic flow on the back of Facebook over the years have found out, that can be a very precarious decision. Audience and perceived impact are good, but long-term value is much better. Don’t cheap out and build your house on someone else’s property.

For instance, Medium is an interesting platform for bloggers and writers. We see everyone from politicians to celebrities to tech pundits using it as the place of record for their writings. While there is an audience there, or on Facebook, we’re already seeing Medium making changes to the way it handles its publishers in an attempt to figure out monetization (something which its founder Ev Williams knows about since he also founded Blogger and then went on to co-start Twitter… both of which faced their own monetization issues). This is going to be a constant and something you or your business or your non-profit should take notice of before you let your roots get too deep in a particular platform can change its EULA at any time.

Owen Williams writes the excellent Charged newsletter (you should subscribe) and makes this point about Medium, Facebook, and web presence in general that I highly agree with:

All of this is to say: Medium is great, but be wary! Owning your own platform is important, and valuable, even at this point in the internet’s maturity cycle. It’s a bit more work, but you are no longer at the mercy of the platform, a lesson we can learn from Facebook all too easily.

Source: #167: Medium.com feels like it’s forever. What if it isn’t?