How I created viral social media for my church

Steve Fogg —  March 19, 2013 — 2 Comments


I recently created a post for my church’s Facebook page for Saint Patrick’s Day that went off the charts virally (in our own modest way). To be honest it wasn’t a post that I thought would travel that far, but it was clearly a message that has resonated with ten’s of thousands of people throughout the social media space. It’s certainly no Gangnam Style, but it is punching above its weight virally (The statistics are at the bottom of this post).

There are no rules or strategies that automatically get you into a viral sharing of your content. But are some tactics you can follow to ensure that you have done everything you can do so that your content will be shared more widely. Here are some of the principles I try to live by when it comes to social media content strategy:

1. Be brief

Our attention span on social media is very short. We have about 2-3 seconds to capture someone’s attention. If we are asking people to do too much they won’t interact with our content. In this case all I was asking for was a like. But because it resonated so much people shared the post.

2. Optimal viewing experience

Your image size should suit tablets and more specifically mobile phones. If it appears at the right size and is fully legible then it will have more of a chance of being RT’d, shared or liked.

3. Post at the right time

You will need to test your optimum traffic posting time. Some questions you need to ask yourself are: When are your audience online? What kind of posts do they interact with the most at that time of the day. I’ve figured out what ours is for our own social media presence and we seem to be getting a consistent set of data back.

Another point I would add here is be consistent and post your content regularly. Many people are creatures of habit and check their social media at certain times in the day. If you are there when they are consistently with good quality sharable content, they are more likely to engage with you.

4. Aim to hit solid runs every post and the occasional post will be a home run

Wayne Cordeiro uses this metaphor when it comes to preaching but it is the a good metaphor for social media. Keep posting good quality content and eventually one post will be a home run. You can’t always predict which one, but sooner or later a post will travel further than you thought it would.

5. Global time sensitive seasonal content

This is a big factor in why this post travelled so far. Saint Patrick’s day is celebrated throughout the western world and the content was applicable in all these countries.

In Australia we are ahead of most people in timezones so our content is likely to appear in timelines before many others will.

6. Tell ‘truth’ but stay positive

Saint Patrick’s Day has morphed into this global day of celebration that is about green beer, shamrocks and leprechauns. What I tried to do was to restate what the day was really about in a positive way that would resonate with our online audience.



The viral juice is clearly in the number of times it was shared. Much more powerful than ‘likes’.


Got to love analytics! While the Crossway page says that 149 people like it, the true reach is that 2,060 “likes” it so far and 147 comments. The message is spreading rapidly beyond the Crossway Facebook page.

How about you. What have you found that helps the talkability of your social media content? Do you have any questions in general about social media? Drop a comment below.



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  4. 12 Social Media Tips For Church Leaders

2 responses to How I created viral social media for my church

  1. Steve –
    I read this yesterday and decided almost immediately to give it a shot myself. I pastor a church in rural, South-Central Pennsylvania. We average 40-50 on a Sunday morning. Only a handful of our mostly older attendees are even on Facebook, but as a 30-something pastor with a heart for this community, I have chosen to not think within our means when it comes to effective ministry.

    I made a quick graphic yesterday ( ) based on the artwork I designed for our Easter Invitation cards and posted it on our church Facebook page ( Almost instantly it had its two likes (one was from my wife). I then quickly shared that image on my own Facebook timeline.

    Last night, my page-insights noted that the image had nearly 600 people had seen it. As I’m typing this, we’ve crossed over the 800 people mark. Previously, our most popular post was under 300-views.

    Thanks for the post yesterday and the encouragement I needed to jump in and try it myself!

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