Is your Church Social? Part 2: ?Using Video Sharing for Church Marketing and Online Church Outreach?
I’ve started looking at ways churches can use social media to market their church online and reach others for Christ. One of the areas social media has really exploded over the last several years is video sharing. With websites like YouTube and Tangle.com, Internet users have found a place where they can share videos, be they funny, informational, outrageous, or uplifting, and people have taken to video sharing and viewing shared videos like a dog to a plate of bacon.
According to a recent document from Google (owners of YouTube), video sharing and viewing have become a regular activity for all demographics. Men and Women of all age groups and all education levels use video sharing websites like YouTube. YouTube has become the most popular entertainment site on the Internet and the sixth most popular website on the web. Here are some interesting stats from a few months ago:
• Hundreds of millions of videos viewed daily
• 10 hours of video uploaded every minute
• 72M unique monthly visitors
• 31% of home Internet users watch video on YouTube weekly, 10% daily
• The average US visitor spends 4 hours every month watching videos on YouTube
So, with so many people using YouTube and other video sharing websites, why wouldn’t your church want to get in on the action? It’s free, it’s pretty easy, and it can be very effective for getting your message out and with church marketing.
There are many aspects to Online video sharing that make it a great online church marketing tool:
• Online video sharing can be a great way to reach people who may not otherwise find your church’s website. By posting videos that link back to your church’s website and have your church’s URL in the video, you are able to direct people back to your site and help with search engine marketing.
• You can also reach people who would not normally even search for your (or other) churches by posting videos that are not “church-related” videos. This could be a funny (non-churchy) video or an informational video about something not related to church at all.
• Online videos can also be a means of changing the image non-churchgoers have of what church is.
In an article on Caller.com, Pastor Michael Eaton of Holiday Hills Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas said:
“We are getting more traffic because we are running the same video on our Web site as (our) commercial on TV,” he said. “We also use this same video on our Myspace page.”
Many churches are starting to use websites like YouTube to market their church and reach the unchurched for Christ and are finding it to be a very effective church marketing tool.
“But We Don’t Have Thousands Of Dollars For Video Production!”
You don’t have to. Sure you can spend thousands on producing a professional quality video. You can hire actors, use special effects, and use the best cameras available…or you can use the hand-held video camera from one of you members and not spend a dime. Professional videos can work very well and depending on what message you are trying to get across, it may be best to spend a little money to make a more professional video. However, YouTube is about community and the regular Joe sharing videos with his friends and the world. So, a lot of videos on YouTube are just home videos. Your churches video can be as well. In fact, in some cases, you would do better to use lower quality home video. One of the things that attracts a lot of people to video sharing sites is the truth or real-to-life character of the videos as opposed to the Hollywood fakeness they see everyday on the TV.
Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, TX has been using video sharing as a marketing tool for a couple of years now. In an article on Caller.com, they talk a bit about some of the videos they have shared, including more professionally done videos like their “Churchgoer vs. Christian” series (a take off of the popular Mac commercials) and less professional personal testimony videos. One of members, Brandon Lewis, who works on their video production, had this to say about using less than professional videos:
“Even if it’s not the best quality, people love YouTube because so much of it is people just being real”
So, it doesn’t matter whether you have a video budget of ,000 or , your church can produce videos and post them on the web. Many churches already produce videos for other uses and many of those videos would be able to be digitized and posted on YouTube.
I encourage you to start considering how you can use video sharing to promote your church online and reach the lost for Christ. In the coming articles I will talk about ways you can increase the benefits of posting your videos and give some ideas for videos you can produce.