Around ¾ of U.S adults, or 73%, say they use Youtube according to a 2019 survey from Pew Research Center. People use Youtube to listen to music, watch their favorite influencers, get answers to questions or help with things like recipes, hacks and more. Religious institutions can use Youtube to reach a larger audience and share their faith this way. Before creating a Youtube channel, here are 10 Commandments every religious institution must follow:
1. Thou Shalt Not Have More Than One Brand For Your Channel and No Other Brands Above It
When creating a channel for your church it is important to brand yourself to show your identity. When people find your channel you want them to be able to get a sense of what your church is like. Some ways this can be done is by making a personalized, unique channel icon, channel art, and an intro and outro for each video.
2. Thou Shall Embrace Youtube’s Features to Your Own Advantage
Youtube has many features that can help viewers navigate your channel as well as make it stand out. The playlist feature allows you to organize related videos together and then a viewer can watch them in order one after another without having to find another video. Youtube also allows channels to feature a playlist or video that can welcome new subscribers
3. Thou Shall Love Your Subscribers As Thyself and Engage With Them
Just like any social media page, religious institutions need to interact with their viewers in order to grab their attention and encourage them to subscribe. Some ways this can be done is through replying to comments on videos, or doing a live stream to interact with the viewers.
4. Thou Shall Create Content That is Tailored for Youtube
It might not always be appropriate to post a full service on your channel, but instead post shorter videos highlighting the most important messages from the service. Other popular videos on Youtube are live Q&As and podcast-type interviews.
5. Thou Shall Make Videos Easy to Find
Youtube is the second largest search engine, next to Google. Videos need to be searchable by using keywords in the title along with video descriptions. Also, each video should be tagged with the location where the church is. Another SEO tip for videos is to tag the video with popular keywords related to the topic. Youtube also allows each video to be categorized to group to other similar videos.
6. Thou Shall Create Content Viewers Trust
Religious institutions need to create content that invites its viewers into its life in a sense. The videos need to be personal and relatable. Churches and other religious institutions should not just stream services, but also post content that is attractive to a large audience.
7. Thou Shall Personalize
Videos that personally relate to the audience will help the channel be successful. Some ideas for videos are highlights from past events like mission or service trips, youth group, retreats, etc. Religious institutions can also post their worship music for their audience to enjoy.
8. Thou Shall Provide Answers to What is Being Searched
People go to Youtube to watch videos to answer questions they might have. Religious institutions can take this to their advantage and post content with topics that people are interested about and question. One way religious institutions can find topics to make a video about is to interact with the audience and ask them what they are wanting to see.
9. Thou Shall Build Connections with the audience
It is important for a religious institution to build a connection with their audience in order to encourage them to subscribe and eventually become a member of the church. Youtube should be used to promote services and attract people to come to in-person services. By building a personal connection, people are going to be more willing and feel more comfortable to be vulnerable with the community.
10. Thou Shall Embrace Discomfort
Anything that you want to accomplish in life requires failure, discomfort and difficulties before it can become successful. This is the same when it comes to building a Youtube platform. It is important for religious institutions to not become discouraged if their channel is not successful at first. Fail and fail fast! You can only learn and grow from your failures and turn them into successes.
Want to learn more about social media strategies and how your institution can connect with your congregation via youtube and other platforms? Attend the upcoming Virtual – Social Media Faith and Worship Strategies Summit scheduled on October 20th-21st.
Be part of the digital reformation!