Growing Your Facebook Audience

Dear Christian Radio,

We were excited to be nearing 100,000 followers on Facebook. Our hope: to hit our goal by Thanksgiving. Then, something crazy happened. We hit the 100K mark before November. Our challenge changed! Could we see 200,000 by New Year’s Day?

It’s hard to believe, but that’s exactly what happened! What’s more, just nine months later, we had surpassed 500,000 “likes” to our page. “What page?” you ask? Joy FM, a Southern Gospel network of stations owned and operated by Positive Alternative Radio. When you consider our older demographic—known and often parodied for being late- or non-adopters of new technology—your surprise can only be equaled by our own.

We were not satisfied with our surprise success…we needed to confirm our method and how we arrived at such a remarkably delightful position. The findings were fascinating…they were also amazingly simple. There’s a universal application we discovered:

  • Seek to understand those whom you are targeting.
  • Meet their needs.
  • Stay true to your calling.
  • Be consistent.
  • Wash, rinse, and repeat.

As a PAR station, our mission is clear: “…change the world by creating and delivering experiences that will inspire people to live passionately for Jesus Christ.” Everything we do must fall in line with that statement. What happens on Facebook is no different. We treat it and its content with the same critical importance as our on-air programming. While you may not appreciate Facebook or value other social media platforms, chances are your audience does. Therefore, don’t underestimate the importance of these platforms to your ministry.

Now, I am keenly aware most stations lack the resources to dedicate a full-time staff person to something like Facebook. The good news is that your social media presence can flourish with the staff you have on hand. Implementing a systematic approach to your station’s workflow will improve overall efficiency, freeing up time for someone to attend to your online presence each day.

Consider this…

When an on-air personality hits a home run with a break, repurpose it for use on Facebook.

The same can be done in reverse…

When a Facebook post goes viral, garnering a high level of comments, shares, etc., repurpose it as a break for an upcoming air-shift. If it was good once, it will be good twice.

One supports the other, increasing the consistency of your brand’s message and improving overall efficiency without having to reinvent the wheel at every turn.

Chasing “likes” on Facebook may seem like a vain goal, but the cause of Christ knows no borders, format limitations, or even language barriers! For that reason, view your postings as another mission field given by our Lord for the encouragement of the saints and pursuit of the sinner. We lead others as we follow Him, knowing He meets us all wherever we are — including our online and ever-connected world!

I want to encourage you to try new things. Create an online plan for your Facebook account and execute it daily. After 6-12 months, review your results and adjust accordingly. Be sure to pay special attention to your “Insights” page, as it will become your biggest window into what is and isn’t connecting with your followers.

You should also note that in the world of Facebook, what worked last week may not continue to work months down the road. This is because Facebook likes to frequently adjust its algorithm. Facebook and other social media platforms use a variety of algorithms to ensure their users remain happy. This can be challenging for users trying to deliver on consistency. However, don’t let this technical work intimidate you. Instead, break it down like this:

  • Al – As in the proper name. Simply put get to know your audience…folks like Al.
  • Go – Post now! Don’t hesitate…jump in with both feet! You can course-correct (if needed) along the way.
  • Rhythm – Develop your schedule and stick to it. You’ll quickly discover the habits of your audience.

Algorithms or not, creating content that connects with your followers will always remain relevant. So in that vein, I leave you with the wise words of Valerie Gellar, “Never be boring.”

Dear Christian Radio…

     1. Know your audience. Social media is a living experiment. Learn who your audience is and what they like.
     2. Find consistency. Facebook rewards consistency. Discover what time(s) and day(s) work best for your followers.
     3. Break it down. Break down algorithm into: Al / Go / Rhythm.

ENCW–

Daniel Britt
Vice President of Culture Integration
Positive Alternative Radio
General Manger, Joy FM

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