Christmas is here! Churches across the country are prepping final details for their Christmas Eve services, making sure that everything is right. After all, churches will see a significant increase in attendance Christmas weekend... But, what about Church Online?
In my experience I've seen Church Online have mixed attendance over the years during the Christmas holiday... there have been times where it wasn't well attended, but there have been times when we intentionally focused on Church Online. These seasons saw growth that eventually became a tent-pole allowing for future growth in subsequent years. So, what can you do the Christmas to gain exposure for your Church Online?
1) Broadcast on More Platforms - Take advantage of the Christmas season to expand your Church Online to more platforms. Are you just broadcasting on your website? Expand to Facebook Live! Just doing Facebook Live? Start working on YouTube! Periscope/Twitter is still a viable option online as well. Once you get the new channels connected for Christmas, don't stop there. Continue to utilize these channels after Christmas. Use Christmas as an excuse to step up the social media channels you broadcast on.
2) Simulated Live Service Broadcast - In social media right now live video is king. Facebook and YouTube algorithms push live video posts above others. Simulated live is a way to cheat the system. Sim live is when you take a pre-recorded video and schedule it for live playback online whenever you want. Essentially, your Christmas Eve service can be broadcast Christmas Day on social media as a live video. Interested in an easy (and inexpensive way) to set this up? Check out Restream.io, and don't forget to look at their scheduling feature! (Note: if you're not using sim live regularly, you really should. Why not re-broadcast your services on a Thursday night? Or pre-record "facebook live" content without the stress of having to do it in one take. Check out Restream.io - you're welcome.
3) On Demand Video with Ads - Once your video has gone live on Facebook, go ahead and keep it on your feed, but create an ad campaign for the video. Create a targeted ad campaign reaching friends of friends, or a specific demographic within a geographic region. You create the audience of who you want to reach Christmas Day. A little money will go a long way for views and exposure. Oh, and when people like your video post, use the Facebook Pages app to invite them to like your page! This is a great way to increase likes for your church.
4) Ask Physical Attenders to Share - Want to see your online service expand? Ask the people who attend the physical services to invite people to watch online. Imagine if a Pastor said this at the end of your service: "Wasn't today a great service? You probably have friends and family who you wanted to come to this experience today. Well, this service is on our church's Facebook feed right now. Take a moment right now and share that video with your Facebook friends, or tag some family/friends from out of town so they can experience this online."
5) Become Part of Family Traditions - It's Christmas Day. If you're like me, after the presents are open, and there's that lull where there's nothing to do before the official Christmas Dinner is served. Sure, we can watch the 24 hour broadcast of "A Christmas Story" on TBS, but.... what if we hosted a church service in our homes? Church, encourage your attenders to let their family members or friends who are already over at their house watch the online service. It's relatively easy to Facebook Videos to TVs at this point. Or, maybe the attender wants to create a Facebook Watch Party where they can play the service on Facebook and invite friends and family to join in. What better way to share an experience with people who live far away!
At the end of the holi-day (pun intended), the bigger deal you make Church Online this Christmas, the bigger deal Church Online will be in 2019! Take one of these steps this Christmas to grow your Church Online.