Best Growth Strategy for Your Online Audience

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Church Juice provides congregations with free resources, articles, and opportunities for training and consulting on church communications. Church Juice is a ministry of Back to God Ministries International, the media mission of the CRCNA.

You see the question arise often in Facebook Groups geared toward communications. Maybe you’ve posted something like it yourself. “How do I increase the likes and shares of my posts on the church Page?” “What types of posts will help me improve engagement on my church Page?”

Many church communicators are searching for that magic post that will cause people to engage with their content. That’s not a bad thing. However, even if we follow the “best practices” (like posting engaging content, sharing videos, posting at certain times, using Facebook Live, or asking questions) that doesn’t guarantee engagement or more Page likes.

Sometimes we do all the right things and still get nothing. No shares. No new likes. This is frustrating. We followed the “rules,” what else can we do?

You might be surprised to find out that one of the best ways to grow your audience is to stop trying to build your audience. Instead of focusing your attention on trying to get your audience to do something, try doing something for them instead. 

Here are four ways to minister to your current online audience:

BE A DIGITAL LISTENER

Kevin Fontenot, digital marketing expert and self-described “professional interneter,” believes that digital listening (paying attention to what your audience is saying or posting online) is an effective way to strategize content creation.

CREATE RELEVANT CONTENT

Once you know what your audience cares about, concerned about, and likes to talk about, you can create better content that meets their needs. If you notice many people in your audience are posting about being busy during the holidays or are searching for a good new year’s resolution, you can post created or curated content on those topics.

ENGAGE WITH THE AUDIENCE

Sometimes we are so focused on getting our audience to engage with our posts we forget to engage with theirs. If someone is in need of prayer, post a prayer request for them. Did they just have a birthday or anniversary? Celebrate with them by posting a comment or a gif on their wall. Remember if you do get a comment on a church post, respond with either a like or a comment. Once your audience knows you are really there, they will engage with you more.

SET UP FACEBOOK GROUP

By creating Facebook Groups for specific ministries, you are providing a more personalized experience for each audience. As people begin to engage with the group, they are more likely to see and respond to your page posts.
When you begin serving your online audience with the goal of meeting their needs, the result is more engagement, more likes, more shares, and more comments. When people feel like they are receiving a benefit from a Page, your church, they are willing to share that with others. This, in turn, will increase your reach and also increase the likelihood that your audience will grow. People share things they find valuable and have made a connection with. Listen to your audience, provide content that addresses their needs, and let them know you are there for them, whether they like your post or not. This is engaging content; this inspires growth.

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