In today’s episode of Lunch and Learn, Kenny sat down with Nils Smith and Casey Fulgenzi and discussed their different strategies for content marketing for churches.

Kenny further mentioned an important update about Instagram that will change the way everyone will view this platform going forward: IGTV

Discover what Nils and Casey suggested on how to approach this Instagram update and how it can better your church’s social media strategy.

To check out the previous Lunch and Learn episodes, here are the quick links on all our platforms. iTunes/Apple Podcast, TwitterBlog, YouTube.


Social Media Church podcast

Gospel in Life


Kenny: Hey friends, it’s Kenny Jahng here with the Church Butler Lunch and Learn podcasts. What’s happening right now? I’m in New York City, Madison Square Garden area, the Rock and Reilly’s rooftop. I’ve got the pleasure of eating breakfast with Nils Smith. Nils say hello.

Nils: Hello.

Kenny: And the one and only Mr. Fulgenzi.

Casey: Hello.

Kenny: We’ve got a couple of minutes here for our Lunch and Learn and thought we’d share some wisdom of what’s going on in the social media world.

One of the things today that I’d love to talk about is engagement. One of the things that people are constantly e-mailing me and messaging me at Church Butler is about what type of content can people be putting up to find more engagement, more likes, more shares, more reads. It’s a challenge.

I think finding content and posting is one half of the equation, but curating that content is another. I personally think form factor is also something you need to think about. It’s not all the same. You can’t post the same image or the same video in all different areas and channels.

And so, maybe today, gentlemen, we could share what you’re seeing. What’s the one place that people should be focusing on in terms of publishing content? Is it the Facebook newsfeed, groups, pages, stories, Instagram, Snapchat? Where should people be focusing their time? This is the summertime. We’ve got some time to rejuvenate and re-assess our strategies for contents.

And so maybe, Casey, I’ll let you go first. What are you seeing for Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s content. What’s working in some of the other churches that you’re working with as well?

Casey: I would say I think the biggest thing right now is Instagram Stories. I think that’s still a huge opportunity that a lot of churches aren’t taking advantage of. And there’s so many things that you can do on there from the easiest place to find content would be from your weekly sermons, staking that and cutting out 15-second clips and putting out on social. And, it works great for stories. The other thing would be, I would say behind-the-scenes, so like it going around just even at your church offices and talking with the staff, doing quick things. We did something a couple months ago, it was National Pizza Day and I literally went around and just ask a different staff people what their favorite pizza place was and then tagged the location of wherever their pizza place is.

Kenny: Okay, let’s stop right there because I think that’s a great example of engaging content and people get pushed back all the time where the pastor or other managers might say, “Hey dude, that has nothing to do with church. It has nothing to do with Jesus. Why is the church channel posting about National Pizza Day?” It’s something that we talk about all the time at Church Butler. You have to do more of, as we go forward in time. Did you get any pushback? What’s your rationale, et cetera?

Casey: I’ve got pushed back a little bit in the sensitive as silly and some people just didn’t understand it. But, I think it was… In my mind, I think as Christians we’re called to be involved in our communities, supporting local businesses, in whatever ways that we can and I think that was just a very simple way we talked about significant different local pizza shops and also by showing it to our audience and I hope, I don’t know if it did, I don’t have any stats that show that it did, but I hope that maybe a few people that watched it, it was a couple hundred people watched it actually maybe went to those restaurants, whether that day or sometime down the line where maybe they hadn’t heard about that and it happened to be a restaurant that was nearby and this was all throughout New York, so it could have easily been some places to go. But, I think we’re called as Christians to support local businesses whether they’re Christian or not. But, I think it’s a great witness. I think it’s just good for the culture, good for the city. It’s waiting to really show that you’re involved in the community.

Kenny: I love the fact that you’ve got such a well-respected, established brand like Redeemer Presbyterian Church, looking at social and using this as an opportunity to engage the communities and neighborhoods that you’re living around with, so it’s not just about the building or the church or the pastor, but it’s about community.

Casey: Yeah, I think it’s. I mean for us, we have multiple churches throughout the city and they’re each their ideas that we can be really involved in the neighborhoods and the different churches are unique in a sense that our Upper West Side Church is very unique to Upper West Side and it’s going to be focused on that community. That’s where the people are. Ideally, that’s where they live. That’s where they’re doing life. That’s where they’re eating. That’s where they’re going out on spend their time and that’s where their kids are hanging out with and go to school, so you’re doing everything else there. You should be involved in all those ways and there’s no reason church has to be separate from that. Instead, it should be just as involved. A

Kenny: And those posts definitely got engagement, right?

Casey: Yeah, absolutely. We had people. People responded and told me places that they liked even though we didn’t ask that. And they were fun. I, basically, in most of them I did like a Boomerang of whoever the person I was asking, so, people also got to see the staff person that was recommending it and I did a Boomerang and they were usually doing something silly or wrote on a sticky note like what their favorite place was and like throwing that at the camera or something. And so, there was also a good way for people to see our staff and like, we’re just like you. We like these. We’re silly, it’s not all buttoned up and, you know, suit and tie on a Sunday. We’re personal. So, they showed some of that aspect.

Kenny: Definitely. I recently, if people are following my blog and obviously shared, a G.O.O.D. framework. G.O.O.D. framework for content. And the second O is for oddities or personalities. You want to give your staff visibility, your volunteers visibility, to humanize people by sharing their personalities. And sharing a boomerang video visually, I think is great. Nils, you travel the world jet setting, looking at churches high and far, what’s working in your world? What do you see on the social media world that people are using that are getting engagement today?

Nils: Yeah, I think Facebook is still the place to primarily focus and I think you’ve got to be diversified on Facebook. It was everything on a page. Now I think you’ve got to be diversified in your page, your Messenger box and your group, I think. So, our content strategy we use for clients is inspiration, information, conversation, connection and celebration. And so, we say that now where you put all of that in your page content, that you diversified that with your page, primarily being inspiration, your Bot being primarily information and your group being connection, celebration and conversation. And so, really focusing even the majority, at least 50% of your energy on that group. But, don’t ignore those other two because they feed into it. Your page builds your awareness. Your Bot engages around direct information and then your group is what you’re building community.

Kenny: Nice. I love that framework too. One of the things that caught my eye personally is that there’s I think there’s a new research study just came out on teens and where they’re spending all their time and as we know, as we all get older gentlemen and Facebook is still the dominant force, but the young ones like my daughter and my son, they’re spending more time on Instagram and Snapchat. And so, the one place I’m trying to get everyone to focus on is Instagram particularly. And I think I’ve said it over and over again. Video is the new black. And so, you’ve got to look at video content. Stop looking at the prices for the latest DSLRs. Just pull out your iPhone and start taking video and posting and see what happens. One of the things I’ll flag right now that’s going to be I think a game changer, and this is where everyone starts to, needs to start putting their thinking caps is that Instagram just announced that they’re changing the length of video that’s going to be allowed on Instagram. I think it’s going to be up to one hour now, I believe. I don’t know who’s gonna sit there and scroll and stop because that’s not our normal behavior. I think all the youth are going to Youtube every day for concept, but I think that’s what Facebook’s move is. Facebook is trying to counter Youtube being the default place to get long form video content and keep it in their ecosystem. And so, I don’t know what will you do with that. I think the default reaction is going to be let’s put up our whole sermon onto Instagram and my gut tells me you can start there, but you cannot stop there. And what would you do with long form video? So, just one last question as we close this out, I guess brainstorm. What would be one idea for long-form video content for Instagram that you guys would think would be appropriate to test out and try once this comes down the pike. Casey, you first.

Casey: I think one-on-one with the pastor especially to buy into doing daily devotionals or even if it’s just a weekly devotional, I think that’s an easy thing that could work great as a five, seven minute thing. I know a lot of churches are doing that already on Facebook and Facebook live. I think that’s a natural thing to do on Instagram, as well. And the good thing about all of these changes and stuff that like Snapchat and Instagram stories is, as you suggested, Kenny, is like the quality doesn’t matter as much anymore. We’re used to people just recording on their phone like we’re used to that quality. So, the quality, there’s no longer quality barrier. I need to invest a thousand plus dollars and do a nice DSLR camera. Actually, you can just use the camera you already have on your phone and people expect that and they’re fine with it. So, there’s no reason you can’t just pull out your phone and do those type of quick like what we’re doing right now with the Lunch and Learn or anything like that. But, you can do those things, video, in your pastor’s office and just do a quick devotional recap from the past week sermon or even doing a kind of a breakdown of what’s to come in the next week sermon.

Kenny: Awesome. Nils, any great brainstorm ideas for you for long form video content on Instagram?

Nils: Yeah, so I would do interview style as well. I would do kind of like a meet Tim or meet Pete and meet Church members and just do the interview style with Church members every day, once a week or often you do it. Just get to know church members, interview them with the same five questions.

Kenny: Kind of like the Humans of New York type series.

Nils: Humans of New York. Humans of First Baptist.

Kenny: That’s a great idea. You want to humanize the experience, show the peers that are going to the church or just like you and me. I’m not some weirdo going to this church. And I think your idea of standardizing the questions is an interesting one. What’s one or two of the questions that you would ask?

Nils: What is your favorite color? Just like Casey shared earlier, what’s your favorite pizza in town? People like to know, like things that are relatable to other people in the congregation. That is standard. Everyone has a favorite color. Everyone has a favorite slice of pizza somewhere.

Kenny: It’s almost like where do you go for comfort food in town, right? What’s your favorite joint or something like that?

Nils: In New York. It’s easy to do what’s your favorite coffee shop or favorite podcasts we’re doing or asking any favorite music, venue or something like that. New York had a lot of those options, but there’s plenty of stuff locally. Favorite Taco shop. Whatever you want.

Kenny: Awesome. So, we’re closed out today’s Lunch and Learn. There you have some great ideas for engagement. Love for you guys to loop back some feedback on your ideas below and also let us know. I’ll end with a question for engagement. What’s your favorite podcast? What are the places that you’re listening to other than this one? Because we’re always on the lookout for and to discover new, fresh, vibrant, energetic content that we can fill our podcast feeds with. So, leave that in the comment section.

Nils: Social Media Church podcast.

Kenny: Can you preview the podcast that you’re going to come out with soon?

Casey: Yeah, we’re working on Redeemer’s Gospel in Life, the resource that I run or working on. We’re trialing right now few different podcasts. Right now, we’re working titles for the city? And so, hopefully that’ll be coming out. I think we’re planning on launching in the Fall, early Fall, actually.

Kenny: Okay. And as we sign off, your deets, gentlemen, your contact information. How do they get to you? What’s the best way to get to directly?

Casey: and handles @caseyfulgenzi everywhere.

Nils:, @nilssmith

Kenny: And this is Kenny Jahng signing out for the Church Butler Lunch and Learn podcast. Thanks for checking in today. Hopefully, you got some nuggets of information that you can test out and get inspired with to use your social media feeds creatively. Just check back here every week for the next Lunch and Learn. Remember, be social and stay social.