In our fragmented world today, we rarely have 81% of American’s doing similar things. There are so many choices for an online platform! And the internet has given us access to all the choices.
It used to be that we’d have commonality in what we watched when we had limited channels to watch. Now, I don’t even look at 90% of my TV channels. And on top of that, we have Hulu, Discovery+, Netflix, and the list goes on and on.
With social media we used to assume that “everyone” was on Facebook. But according to the latest Pew survey of Americans (2021), there are only 69% on that channel. Instagram has 40%, Pinterest 31%, with LinkedIn at 28% (the sampling was big enough to have a plus/minus of 2.9%).
But which online platform saw an 8% growth (since 2019) to a whopping 81% of American’s using it? Google-owned YouTube (across all demographics). 18-29 year olds were at 95% using YouTube!
New to the Pew study? Snapchat was 65% and TikTok at 21%. Here’s what the church can learn:
- We love video. Since the transition from radio to TV, we prefer to “watch” content. Movies just aren’t fun to listen to since the emotion needs to be seen. But all video content doesn’t work. That’s why the movie industry invests in a story, shoots controlled video, and focuses on excellence. Then editors and post production add effects, music, and b-roll. Finally they remove all that’s not important to the overall story. No wonder we love well-produced video content! YouTube doesn’t require that level of content — but the material captures attention is edited, well lit, sounds great, and ultimately tells a story we need.
- Every church needs a videographer. It’s all about content. Your church needs to be capturing a lot of content about everything. On something as simple as a phone or high-end on a DSLR. But you need to have someone dedicated to getting the video content. They need to know what they’re doing, backing up and tagging the content so it’s easy to find clips later. Many churches struggle moving from text posts to visual graphic posts. The leap to video is just as difficult. Get someone on your team who can help you — it’s that critical.
- You need a YouTube strategy. With so many YouTube viewers and a ton of content being uploaded and consumed on that platform, there is a YouTube paradigm that you must follow. Your church needs a Channel with organized content that builds your brand. And your content MUST master good Google SEO standards. Every piece of video must have titles, keywords, etc. so you can attract followers. Plus that strategy must work with your other communication channels too. Point your social followers and church attenders to your YouTube content regularly!
- Editors need to focus on video too. Edit. Edit. Edit. The moment people get bored online, they click away. And it’s more difficult to get them to return (ok, that’s similar for written content too). Never post anything that has unnecessary content. Always better to keep it brief until you have a dedicated following. Best practice? Focus your content to their needs!