When you think of a live stream, what automatically comes to mind?
- Usually, a video window playing sort of content, be it music, teaching, preaching, comedy, Q&A, or anything that you can think of.
- Some sort of description and possibly some links below the video.
- And then, off to the side or even further below the live stream, a chat box.
Normally, chat is something that is hit or miss. In places like Twitch, chat is used to really make you feel like you’re part of the culture and conversation, especially with streamers that are doing it well.
But in the church world? Engagement seems to be limited to only a few churches who have been able to truly get the idea. It can be filled with someone labeled “host” simply talking to themselves, sharing Scripture messages and points all while everyone remains silent.
It’s the digital equivalent of an echo chamber.
But what if you could transform your chat into a place that is LIVELY and ENGAGING? A place where both frequent visitors and first-time guests can feel warmly welcomed?
In our latest episode of the Online Church Blueprint, Mark Lutz (of Lux Digital Church) and I sit down to actually hash out some of the best tips that we can think of to make sure that your church uses its live stream chat effectively. It’s chock full of a bunch of good ideas, but here’s a couple of highlights:
- During your live stream, try to get your person on camera a view of the chat so that they can read names, engage with questions, and start a real conversation.
- Make sure to ACKNOWLEDGE anyone there. Preferably live on camera, but at the very least in the chat. This lets people know they’re not alone, that there’s a live human on the other side, and that there is a chance to actually TALK through some of the things that are going on around them and in the stream.
- ASK QUESTIONS! I know this is a well-worn path for veterans of digital chat areas, but a well-placed icebreaker question can be the difference between an empty chat box and a place that is FILLED with meaningful connections and conversations.
- CREATE A TEAM. And then, make sure your team is engaged in chat.
- CHANGE YOUR HOST TAGS for most of your team. Change your HOST tags to something else (or think about getting rid of most of them) so that it doesn’t look like an echo chamber of only church volunteers. (PRO TIP: changing them to something like CONTRIBUTOR or TOP CONTRIBUTOR makes it seem like there is a vibrant community chatting at one time. For a visitor, this may help them feel a bit more comfortable).
These are, obviously, just a few tips to get you started, and we would LOVE to hear any other tips you may have. Comment below or send us a message to get the conversation started.
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What do you think? What are some other ways you can Chat effectively? Share your ideas below or on social media.
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