10 Tips To Grow Your Audience
During 2020, most churches were forced to enter the world of live streaming their services. When everything shut down, church live streams went up. This happened during a time when live video streams have never been more popular.
Chances are high that your church has either started a live stream or seriously considered adding one. For those who have had a live stream, you probably upgraded it or thought about ways you could expand your web presence.
You want to grow your audience and engagement so that people can hear the good news. Interest in church live streams is not going away. In fact, they are twice as popular as they were before March of this year. There is a multitude of people who can’t or won’t come back to church service in person. A live stream could be the only form of church that some people engage with for years to come.
This means that it has never been more important to create engagement and expand your audience for your services. Here are 10 things you can implement within the next month to help your live stream get to the next level.
1. Expand the options for viewing.
One of the best ways to expand your audience is to stream your church to multiple destinations. Many church streams are only available at one destination, whether it’s Facebook, Youtube, or an Online Video Platform (OVP). However, expanding to multiple destinations could make it much easier for people to locate your stream.
If you’re not streaming on Facebook, consider adding it. If you’re not streaming on Youtube, consider adding that. Different viewers have preferences of where they watch their live stream content, so the more destinations you have, the more unique viewers you can reach.
2. Incorporate Social Media Advocates/Ambassadors
There are people out there who might watch your church’s stream but simply don’t know about it. Grassroots marketing on social media could help.
When your church goes live, you can have a few people from your congregation begin a watch party on Facebook that their friends can see. Additionally, it will help to have a few people reference your stream on their Instagram stories. This is a chance to get your live stream in front of people who don’t know about or don’t follow your church on social media.
3. Pay for advertisements targeting your region or demographic.
In order to gain traction, consider investing in a targeted advertisement. Your ad should give people a sample of what your services are like, and invite them to your website or streaming destination.
4. Incorporate Chat Moderators
For in-person services, most churches employ a volunteer team of greeters and ushers. This is sometimes known as a “First Impressions” ministry. The question is, do you have a First Impressions ministry online?
Boost engagement on your live stream by having volunteers represent your church in the chat. You can think of them as digital ushers and greeters, meant to improve the overall experience of somebody watching. People tend to keep watching when they see the live reactions of fellow viewers.
5. Acknowledge the online crowd from the platform.
When churches are new to live streaming their services, they don’t always acknowledge that some people are tuning in online. One of the best ways to make people online feel important is to recognize them from the platform.
Have your teaching pastor look at the live camera as well as the in-room congregation. When you’re doing announcements, have some that are tailored to the online crowd. Whoever speaks from the platform should reference the fact that people are watching online. This could include how your worship leader introduces worship.
6. Include camera shots of the in-room crowd.
One of the downsides to an online experience is that it’s easy to feel a disconnect from the other people participating in the service. One way to counteract this is to include camera shots of the audience. When viewers see other people participating, it will encourage them to participate as well.
At the time that this is written, not every church is back to gathering in-person. If that’s the case, then you may need to lean more heavily on chat moderators and social media ambassadors.
The next few pointers can get really technical. If any questions come up, you can schedule a free chat with us to get an answer the applies to your environment.
7. Consider lighting differences.
Lighting is one of the main factors for overall video quality. If you want more viewers for your church live stream, make sure that you have good lighting.
Lighting that works well for the in-room experience may not be best for your stream. Generally speaking, you will want to have fewer shadows and more brightness when you’re filming for the stream.
Also, for in-room lighting, you must consider multiple viewing angles and lines of sight. When lighting for video, what matters most is the viewpoint of the camera.
It can be tricky to find the harmony between lighting for in-person and lighting for your stream using the same space. Here’s a quick guide of things to avoid for your lighting set-up.
8. Consider audio differences.
Just like with lighting, the rules for sound are different for online viewing. There are different speakers, the audience is typically closer to the speakers, and there are different kinds of background noise and acoustic features to their environment.
You should have a dedicated audio mix just for your online viewers. This can be accomplished through a separate audio output on your soundboard, or through a separate soundboard altogether. You should not rely on the microphone built into your cameras.
9. Tailor your graphics to the online crowd.
One mistake that many churches make is using graphics that were not designed for online viewership. Or, they don’t use screen graphics at all.
In general, online graphics require a smaller font size, and they should only take up the lower third of the viewer’s screen so that they can still see the pastor or band. Depending on your presentation software and video switcher, you could send one version of your graphics to your main sanctuary display, and key another version onto your stream at the same time.
10. Consider upgrading your equipment.
Certain audio, visual, and lighting gear functions better for an in-room experience, while some gear works better for online. If you are new to live streaming, it is important to select the right gear for the job. At the minimum, you want to have the right camera, lighting, and microphone.
There are different options for different budgets. Don’t think that you need to break the bank on high-end gear if something more cost-effective will work for your context. The best way to determine the gear that’s right for you is to talk to an expert that you can trust.
At ALTA, we’re committed to seeing church leaders succeed in the world of tech and live stream. You can schedule a free, 15-minute consultation with us to go over your needs and set up your next win.