Church Social Media: YouTube

YouTube is a go-to for many people, and it’s the second largest search engine, behind Google. Knowing that many people are searching YouTube to answer their common questions, how can we as the Church best utilize this platform?

YouTube Strategies for Churches

  • Use short-form videos to drive people to long-form videos. Find ways to create engaging short videos and then link them to longer videos to keep people watching your channel. For example, create a four-minute video of a highlight from your weekend message and then link to the full-length message also posted on YouTube. According to some churches, four to seven minutes is a good sweet spot.
  • Add your church website URL near the beginning of each video’s description to maximize visibility to your site.
  • If you’ve had a YouTube channel for a while, go back through old videos and update the thumbnails and refresh the titles. You’ll keep the playcount and comments of the original uploads while freshening up the look of your channel.
  • Use consistent thumbnails and titles that reinforce your church brand.
  • Link to next steps you want viewers to take so they can act on what they’ve just watched. For example, link to your small groups signup page if your video highlighted small groups.
  • When you create a YouTube channel for your church, fill out the About page and use links so people can easily engage.
  • Use the YouTube feature of adding a “Subscribe” button watermark to your videos. This is a clickable button you can add to every video to encourage people to subscribe to your church channel so they’ll be notified of new content.
  • Add your church social media handles to your description so people can engage with you on Facebook and Instagram, too.
  • Create a robust list of tags for every video to boost discoverability of your videos. You may even include common misspellings of your pastor’s name so people can find your videos even if they spell the name wrong.
  • Create a short YouTube specific intro and outro video bumper where someone greets people, thanks them for watching, and directs them to any action steps they can take.
  • In everything you make for YouTube, remember that genuine content fares better than overproduced content.
  • Build a volunteer team who can engage with and respond to comments left in the community section of your videos.
  • Ask a conversation-starter in the comments section of each video and pin it to the top to boost engagement.
  • If you don’t want to create a full-fledged outro video, use a static end-screen and include a voice over with something like the following: “Thanks for joining our church today. We hope you loved what you saw. If you have questions or need prayer, let us know in the comments. And be sure to subscribe to get our other videos.”
  • Create an FAQ video or a “what to expect” video for people to learn more about your church before they attend.
  • Do search engine optimization research about the words and terms that would generate the most engagement and name your videos accordingly.
  • Post content in addition to your sermons. Extras could include devotionals, kids videos, worship videos, and leadership videos.

If you’re not already using YouTube, it’s relatively easy to create an account. Focus on publishing consistent content that accurately represents the voice of your church and points people toward Jesus and you will begin to build an audience.

These tips were gathered from the Church Social Media Roundtable, an event featuring twelve of the most creative and innovative churches. Special thanks to the churches who attended for sharing key learnings with the Church. View more resources from this event here.

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