Hey Church Communicators. We all love Facebook, right? What's not to love? It's easy to engage users through comments on posts and Facebook Messenger. Content on Facebook is easily sharable. Facebook Events make it very easy for churches to publicize outward facing events to the surrounding public. All this, and I haven't even gotten to the explosion of churches who are now broadcasting their services on Facebook Live. On the outside, Facebook is doing a lot right on their platform.
But, all is not right. Pew Research Center released some research recently. Unfortunately, all is not well. According to those surveyed:
- 42% of Facebook users have taken an extended, multi-week break from the site in the past year.
- 54% have adjusted their privacy settings on Facebook.
- 26% of deleted the Facebook app from their phone.
If you're curious, the younger demographic is leading the way, with 44% of the 18-29 demographic deleting the app from their phone. Similarly, 47% of 18-29 have taken at least one break for multiple weeks from Facebook.
What does this mean? Well, Facebook at one time was the catch all platform. You could use Facebook to reach everyone. Those days are gone. We can debate what caused the mass exodus, but we'll leave that to the social media sociologists. Millennials are done with Facebook. The rest of us? Well, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, Church, it's time to do what we often struggle to do... change. Many of us have depended upon Facebook, but now we must adjust our strategies. Those exiting Facebook today are paving the way for others tomorrow. Honestly, in my own household, my wife and I (not millennials) have constant conversations about whether it's time to abandon Facebook or not. Like the sinking of the Titanic, the exit ramp off Facebook will be driven over by more demographics than just the teens. But where do we go from here?
Recent Pew Research gave us the answer as well. According to another recent survey:
- 85% of teens use YouTube, 32% saying they use YouTube most often.
- 72% of teens use Instagram, 15% saying they use Instagram most often.
- 69% of teens use Snapchat, 35% say they use Snapchat most often.
What about stalwarts like Facebook (51% use, 10% most often) and Twitter (32% use, 3% most often)? They've quickly aging out of relevancy.
What's next? YouTube and Snapchat. While not considered a search engine, if it were YouTube would arguably be the second largest search engine in America today. Snapchat? Well, how do you feel about selfies with computer animated dog ears? I kid. Kinda.
Remember, the rules of Snapchat and YouTube are not the same as Facebook. You're not going to be able to insert your 45min sermon into Snapchat. And YouTube? The average YouTube vid is under 5 min. To embrace these platforms, the Church needs to learn the platforms strengths and weaknesses, and develop a Digital Communications Strategy to utilize them effectively..