What Happens When You Personalize Your Social Media (A Case Study)
There are a lot of easy social media creation tools. I’m impressed by the number of pre-packaged resources that you can use for your church’s social media. Need Instagram graphics? Check our SundaySocial.tv. It’s just one of the many tools out there designed to help make your job a little bit easier.
Of course, while these tools are great at decreasing your workload, they do come with a price. While your audience will love the graphics, there’s a point where your social media can look like everyone else’s. So how do you stand out in a sea of internet memes and inspirational quotes? Personalization.
Personalization is the key to make your audience feel like they have a part of your social media. When they share a post with their friends, they’re saying “This is my church and you should check this out.” It makes them feel a part of something larger than themselves. People want to feel like they are a part of a tribe.
Okay, so how do you “personalize” your social media? Well, there are some basic principles that you can follow, but first I want to show how one piece of personalized social media performed for us.
Our Pastor’s 25th Anniversary
Recently our team was tasked with celebrating our pastor’s 25th anniversary at the church. We’re in Nashville, so it wasn’t too hard to find local celebrities (e.g. country music artists) to say thank you to our pastor on video.
However, we knew that while our pastor would be appreciative of whatever we did for him, we needed to do something that he would find meaningful. This meant focusing on what was most important to him: his family.
So we (our amazing video team of Mallory Clark and Alex Lyons) decided to secretly film his mom playing piano (a favorite memory of his childhood) and then overlay it with audio from an interview we did a few years ago with his father before he passed away. Here was the final result:
Needless to say, the video went over well when we played it live at the 25th anniversary celebration.
But how would this video perform on social media? Our assumption was that it’s a highly personalized video that requires context in order to understand it.
Well, let’s look at the stats on Facebook.
As you can tell, this video easily outperformed all of our other content for Facebook during the same time period. You’ll also notice that all of this reach was through organic traffic. We didn’t need to boost the post because our audience was willing to share it.
Now, have we had pieces that have performed better than this? Yes. However, what separates this content from the others that have done well is that this piece of content is highly personalized. It should only work if you know our Pastor or you were at the live event where this was played. However, it far exceeded our expectations.
What We Can Learn from This
Video is still king. Video on Facebook still outperforms every other medium. While we’ve seen our external links, images, and long form text take a dive in numbers, our video is still performing well.
Personalization Doesn’t Mean Your Content Won’t Spread
I was worried that this content was too personal. That if you didn’t know our Pastor, you wouldn’t care about the content. While there is some truth to that, it doesn’t seem to have affected how our content performed. Instead, I would make the argument that the personalization is what makes this video even stronger.
Key Principles of Personalization
Branding: If you’re using a third-party service like Sunday Social, take the time to add your church’s logo to the graphic. While this may seem like a small thing, this gives the impression that the graphic is just for your church.
This increases in importance as more people share you content on social media. As much as you want the content to travel, you want your brand to travel along with it.
Keep It About the People: People love seeing their friends and family on social media. Don’t believe me? Just look and see how many baby photos are in your Facebook news feed. When you include the faces of your people on social media, you instantly give your audience something to care about.
Get Personal: One of things that worked for us in the video above was the fact that we got personal. The entire audience feels like they’ve shared an intimate moment with each other. This intimacy is something that you can do when you make your social media personal.
Do It In Real Time: Social media is designed to capitalize on the fear of missing out. Use that to your advantage and publish content in real time (i.e. Snapchat, Instagram stories) so that people will know if they’ve missed something. This will feed into the urge to catch up and not feel left behind.
Ready-to-use social media is still a great tool to keep your social media flowing and avoid content drought. But to keep your audience engaged, you need provide them content that will make them feel like they’re part of a larger tribe.
Yes, personalized content is difficult to pull off, but its lasting impact can help you grow your presence in the long-run and make your church better for it.