The start of every year is a good chance not only to reflect on the previous year, but to look ahead at the coming year to anticipate how we can make the most of emerging shifts or trends. Sometimes when I’ve anticipated a new trend and acted on it in my communications it has paid massive dividends. I hope these can do the same for you too.

1. Social Media Video

Social media videos, and particularly Facebook video is just going to keep on increasing and your church needs to leverage it to the full extent. Read ‘Seven Compelling Social Video Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Video’

2. Facebook Watch

It’s had a slow start, but Facebook Watch is growing more and more. It is also being pushed by Facebook and will become more central to how people use Facebook. Read more about Watch parties here.

There is a subtle shift which all major social platforms are making currently. Not only do they want to be the place where you are social. They want to be the place where you consume longer form video content. For example Facebook knows that people don’t watch long-form video on its platform (but we all do on youtube). It will eventually release a paid Netflix style video streaming service. But needs to change the way people use Facebook.

With a global audience of over 2.5 billion people that would very quickly make them the biggest streaming service in the world. Bottom line is that they are looking at another way to increase their bottom line (revenue). But want their audience to get use to them being the place to watch TV series or movies. Because they are all about the user first (apparently).

3. Paid Social

Social media has been free for many years. Since each platform introduced ads/sponsored posts organic traffic has dropped (yes, they throttled it back on purpose). Which means the smart play is to leverage social ads.

What that means for your communications budget is to allow some ad spend budget in your 2019/2020 budget.

In my opinion Facebook ads are the best way to reach your community.

I know of many churches and ministries who are leveraging Facebook ads. I know because I’m working with them.

If you are interested in learning how to leverage Facebook Ads for your church join my Facebook Ads For Churches Course. I’ve put in all of my experience using paid social for churches into this course. So there is no theory here. I will be emailing my email subscribers with an early access pass this Thursday. Update: Here is My Facebook Ads For Churches Course

4. Your Communications Budget Should Shift Digitally

I remember the days when a lot of the communications budget was spent on printing. I see church communications budgets shifting massively towards the digital space over the next 5 years. You need to prepare your leadership for this change and lead up on the reasons why you are shifting.

5. Personal Is The New Communication Tactic

In a world where everything is automated, the personal touch will become more and more of a successful way to cut through the noise of the bombardment of messages that a person faces every single day.

When was the last time you picked up the phone to call someone? Or write to someone to thank them?

If you are looking to build a team the personal touch will get you a long way.

Want to read more on leading and growing a team? Read 21 Tips That Will Help You Lead Creatives. 

6. Growing Churches Will Become More Missional In Their Marketing

Churches have always invested the vast majority of their communications and marketing budget into internal communications.

I think this will change. If a church is a smart, they will see the value in having the weight of their budget externally directed towards their wider community. It’s no longer enough to only be in touch with your community at Christmas and Easter. You need to share the positive contribution that your church is making to the community throughout the year.

Your Turn

Back in 2015 I predicted social video would dominate social media in the future, while it was just starting out. I don’t always get it right, but I’m willing to look ahead. How about you? What trends are you seeing in 2019?