As live streaming has proven, we live in an incredible time where we can reach and build relationships with more people at less effort through the power of technology. Creating and sharing that content for your church has the potential to reach any of the nearly 13.7 million Twitter users in the UK.

Building followers of any significant amount takes time, there is another number to watch that in many ways has more meaning than your follower count. This is your engagement rate. 

What is Engagement and Why Does it Matter?

Building followers of any significant amount takes time, there is another number to watch that in many ways has more meaning than your follower count. This is your engagement rate. 

Engagement is when someone actively interacts with your content. Your audience engages with likes, retweets, comments, mentions, and clicking on the links you share. Most important for your church, engagement is an opportunity to deepen relationships. 

Monitoring your engagement rate is going to give valuable insight into how relevant your content is to your audience. This is essential for building community and relationships. Retweets and replies offer incredible opportunities to start conversations and interact in meaningful ways.

Data to Fuel Your Engagement Strategy

You measure engagement rate as a percentage of your audience interactions against your total audience. This averages over the course of a time period as you track engagement. Users who are not your followers also influence engagement rate if they interact with your content.

Checking your engagement rate is as simple as navigating to analytics.twitter/yourpage. 

A few things worth noting about engagement rate for benchmarking and planning purposes:

  • Average engagement on Twitter is 0.45%. This low threshold is due to the speed at which competing content is posted on Twitter every second.
  • Nonprofits and higher ed, the two closest adjacent industries that are closely tracked, tend to do better on Twitter with an average engagement rate between 1.45-1.92%
  • Tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement, and a best practise is to use only one or two hashtags per post.
  • Tweets with images or videos have high performance rates

Tips to Increase Engagement on Twitter

You don’t have to have a social media influencer or be a marketing professional to build an engaging, authentic experience on Twitter. Here are a few key tips:

We Like You Too. Show your congregation that you are engaged with them and interested in created community on and offline.Engage Directly with Your Congregation

Be a part of the conversation even when the content isn’t yours. Engaging with other users will make them more likely to pay attention to you. It also shows that you are listening and paying attention to what is going on in the lives of your congregation. Like their content, comment, and retweet. 

Not sure who is on Twitter? Ask your parish to share their twitter (and other social media) handles. You can add this ask as part of your regular communications, such as email or newsletters.

Keep Your Tweets Short and Sweet

While 280 characters might seem short, multiple sites recommend you keep your content extremely short. Like 80-100 characters short. This is partially because shorter content is more likely to remain clear offer value.

When you are posting Bible verses, consider the Twitter handle @VersesFromBible which posts daily verses. Meaning these meet character count requirements!

With over 106,000 followers, you could retweet their shared verse and add additional thoughts in the comments space. This action will probably offer a unique opportunity to engage a larger audience.

Tweeting Bible verses is just one way your church can and should use Twitter as a regular part of your ministry. 

Share Useful Links

You’ll want to share links that offer the most valuable content. Links to your upcoming services and blog posts are a great way to drive traffic to your site. But you can also share great content you find on other sites. Sharing inspirational news or accounts you find valuable adds authenticity. 

Provide Value with Thoughtful Content

Value will keep your congregation coming back and staying interested in what you are sharing. Follow the 80/20 rule, which states that only 20% of your posts are promotional. For the remaining 80% there are many great ways to provide valuable, relatable, and intentional content your congregation and followers will enjoy. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Interesting facts about significant figures in the history of the Church 
  • Readings or thought-provoking ideas that you will follow up on in an upcoming service
  • Thoughts of encouragement or inspiration
  • New, relational content from your church website 
  • Prayers, prayer requests, and answered prayers.
  • Links to useful resources or interesting content from around the web
  • News or storeys of your parishioners 
  • Behind the scenes—personalised posts from vicars or other members of the church

Use Common and Custom Hashtags

We’ve already covered that hashtags are important for engagement above. Hashtags help your audience find you when they search for content by hashtag. Relevancy is important here.

Pick your hashtags wisely, since you should also use them sparingly (only 1-2) in your tweets. Too many hashtags may feel spammy and also make the text unreadable.

Popular hashtags on Twitter for church live streaming may include:

#ChurchOnline

#ChurchatHome

#ChurchLiveStream

#ChurchWithoutWalls

#MorningPrayer

#PrayTogether

#SundayService

You can use a free tool like Hashtagify.me to discover other relevant hashtags and gain clarity around a popular hashtag. For instance, you may notice that the popularity of #SundayService is tied to Kim Kardashian, whose husband Kanye West was staging gospel choir services of his songs in a series called “Sunday Service.” Which is to say, context matters.

Creating a custom hashtag for your church—such as the name of your church or a phrase that epitomises the vision your church has for its mission. Check that it isn’t in use, or at least popular. You will want to make it easy to remember, short and as simple as possible. Hashtags are easy to mess up and spelling or autocorrect can play a role here.

Why use custom hashtags? Because you are building a unique community both online and offline. It also gives you an opportunity to follow the hashtag and see members of your congregation interacting with one another. 

Increase Twitter Engagement with Photos that are personalized or show scripture or quotesShare Images and Videos

Posting images is a key part of social media and have a big impact on your engagement. Some case studies have shown that tweets with images can earn 313% more engagement. Ideally you would use images that blend personalised scenes from your church and images with text. Just make sure these images with text are easy to read so they remain accessible, with strong contrast between font and background colours.

Videos are not Twitter’s strength as a platform, but sharing video has proven to be a great way to reach and engage your audience. Twitter has a 30 second limit for videos, so posting snippets from services is a great way to use content you are already creating in new ways. 

Ask Questions

People love an opportunity to share and respond. Asking questions is a go-to for marketers on social media for good reason. Questions don’t have to be too deep. In fact, asking something your audience can answer simply is an easy way to build community and promote a relationship with your congregation online.

Final Thoughts

These free strategies can result in big changes in how your congregation engages with you online. As you drive engagement and build relationships, you have a chance to reach a wider audience with the message from your church, broadening your congregation and even connecting with other faith leaders. 

Do you use any of the strategies above or have you found other strategies that worked? How do you earn engagement on Twitter? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!