“How many social media posts should a church post if a church could post posts?” It sounded like a tongue twister in my head so I tried! I’m sorry. However I do love this sort of data. It can tell amazing stories. Sometimes it tells you nothing. Sometimes everything. For me, the information collecting side of data can be a little maddening but then when you look at the results and start looking for trends it becomes much more interesting.
So I thought I would look at social media use by significant churches in a number of countries. I see a lot of questions asked by church communication teams around social media. How much should we post? Where should we post? What things should we post? Do we have to post? That last one makes me giggle.
I wanted to have a fairly unscientific look at how much you should be posting. This will be based on looking at how much these churches have posted in the last week.
Posts Across Platforms
So here is my data collection. This is looking at significant churches in the US, Australia, the UK, and New Zealand. I wanted to see how much they were posting and where they were investing their time. Here is what I found for the 7 days from the 15th of June 2020:
|North Point||13||7||6||1 (3)|
|Willow Creek||16||10||12||2 (4)|
|Church of the|
|St Martins||25||15||4||0 (0)|
There were a couple of standout things for me when I looked across this. Most churches were investing time in Facebook. As the number one platform for social media worldwide it makes sense. The variety of posts were quite interesting!
For Life.Church, Elevation, Church of the Highlands, HTB and Lakewood they all had their strongest posting day on Sunday, closely followed by Monday. It was interesting to note that predominantly Hillsong’s Facebook content was primarily videos where the other churches had much more of a mix.
Newspring and Hillsong both stood out as reaching over the 20 instagram posts in this time period. I think it is interesting to note that they also had made significant use of Instagram Stories. The demographic of Instagram users tends to be younger so I did wonder if that was more of a target group for Newspring and Hillsong.
There was fair amount of similar posting across platforms for all of these churches. I found myself looking at the same pictures just on the different platforms. Twitter in many cases was just a duplicate of what was on the church’s Facebook page. The question I then asked myself was are these the same audiences or different? Does this mean the approach most churches are taking is more of a brand awareness campaign.
I think the most under utilised platform is YouTube. Most churches researched had long form sermons as predominantly what was posted on their YouTube channels. Very few of them were making use of the 10 minute format that you see used regularly by YouTubers.
Saddleback were doing 5-7 minute daily devotions that were averaging around 2.5k – 3k in views. They has also gone to the effort of colour coding their different content, sermons were in blue, daily devotions in green making it easier for the user to click on the right thing. I liked it.
For Lakewood I think I may have hit a special event, however they averaged about six videos in other weeks still making them a high user. Their videos were all 30 minutes + usually averaging over an hour.
The highest number of comments, after tallying all comments on videos within the week, was Elevation Church with over 600. Elevation were quite active in the comments, posting replies, adding comments to other peoples statements. It looked to me like they had deliberately gone about building a YouTube community where some of the others were posting but not interacting on the same level.
In The End…
In general it was an interesting process but it has left me with some further questions. Do churches need to be on all the platforms? Are we getting unique users across the platforms or mostly getting the same people? Do churches attempt evangelism through these platforms or are they primarily for church members? It made me wonder about whether they are also doing advertising on these platforms. What does that look like? Is it event based? So many questions!
I would love to hear your thoughts and reactions in the comments below.
Was there anything that stood out for you? How often does your church post to these platforms? What has been the most effective for community building or outreach?