Engaging your Followers with Sermon Hotspots

Jessie Garcia

By 

Jessie Garcia

Published 

Sep 2, 2022

Engaging your Followers with Sermon Hotspots

Social media without engagement is like a car without a driver — without it, you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! 

When we consider what growth looks like online, social media is one of the most integral ingredients. Social media is where we can share our message, interact with our supporters, and build relationships that expand far beyond the Internet alone. 

But what exactly is engagement?

A standard definition of engagement includes the following: 

  • to offer (something, such as one's life or word) as backing to a cause or aim 
  • to bind (someone, such as oneself) 
  • to do something to induce to participate 
  • to pledge oneself or make a guarantee 

Being engaged in something means that you will willingly offer your life, time, and resources in support of a cause. Engagement goes beyond simply attending or enjoying something — when you are engaged in something, you are all in.

Engagement is not a “one and done” type of thing. It is a process that exists on different levels wherein one level builds upon the previous. When you can engage well at the lower levels, you will naturally begin to transition to the other deeper levels of engagement.

Our blog “Understanding The 5 Levels of Digital Engagement” and the 5 blogs that coincide with it go into great detail about the engagement through:

  1. Design
  2. Discussion
  3. Discovery
  4. Discipleship
  5. Deployment

We highly recommend reading up on these 5 levels of engagement to get a better understanding of this concept.

In a nutshell, engagement is multi-faceted and needs to be intentional at every single level. The reality is that not every single person we engage with online will move through all levels of engagement, but when we strive to engage well from the get-go, we have a higher likelihood to see substantial (and healthy!) growth.

We want to talk a bit about one incredible tool we can utilize to kickstart more engagement online: sermon hotspots!

If you follow a church or pastor on Instagram (which we recommend!), you’ve seen these unique videos. Sermon hotspots are snippets of a particular sermon that are repurposed and used for social media content.  These videos give the follower a main point from the sermon, provide encouragement (or a challenge), and even redirect them to the full message.

Part of what makes sermon hotspots so effective is that they play well with the current trend of short-form video content. Social media channels across the board are prioritizing the use of video content on their platforms. Most algorithms are specifically emphasizing video content. Sermon hotspots are beginning to replace some of the more long-form captions paired with static images.

There are a few attributes to keep in mind when utilizing sermon hotspots that will be key to maximizing their engagement.

 

  1. Keep it short

Our attention spans aren’t what they used to be. Studies show that our attention span sits at just around 8 seconds. This means that we have just a few moments to grab our audience's attention. If we are unsuccessful in capturing attention off the get-go, viewers are unlikely to stick around for the entirety of the video.

Once we’ve gotten their attention, the remainder of the video must keep their attention. As a rule of thumb, sermon hotspots should be 1 minute long or less. There is a lot you pack into just 1 minute of content, but we must be intentional about what minute of the sermon we choose. 

Not every person will go to listen to the full sermon, so make sure that the 1 minute they do see is full of clear and concise material. As the saying goes, keep it short, sweet, and to the point!.

 

  1. Add captions

This characteristic is pretty self-explanatory: make sure you add captions to sermon hotspots! This characteristic is far less about trends and much more about making your content accessible to people from all walks of life.

First off, closed captions are essential for those who are hearing impaired. Many churches nowadays actually include a live ASL interpreter that serves this group of people. Using closed captions is just another way to ensure that these people can receive the fullness of the message.

In addition, closed captions help to cater to people in various scenarios. Let’s say a tired mom wakes up at 3 a.m. to feed her newborn. Instead of her phone speakers blasting a loud sermon, she can watch the sermon hotspot and read the message instead. 

Closed captions also help to add additional clarity to the message. They also can look awesome when paired with an epic graphic design on the video!

 

  1. Eye-catching graphics

Sermon hotspots are unique because they can be a fun way to incorporate stellar, yet subtle, graphic design. You can get away with adding captions and calling it a day, but the first level of engagement speaks to the importance of design. 

Design is one of the most important methods the church can leverage to reach people and authentically engage them. Design is where digital engagement begins.

Through great design, we can “stop the scroll” by capturing our audience’s attention through captivating and beautifully curated design pieces. 

Our sermon hotspots should be no exception to abiding by great design principles! The ways we go about spicing up our sermon hotspots will vary depending on the video.

We should be intentional about the fonts, colors, and other graphic elements we incorporate in the video. We should make sure the font is readable, the colors coincide well with the stage/background of the video itself, and the graphic elements don’t distract the viewer from the video content.

A great way to bring things together with the sermon hotspot is to add a graphic overlay from your current sermon series and overall church design theme. For example, Mercy Culture of Fort Worth, TX does a great job at incorporating its church branding and logo into its sermon hotspot videos.

 

  1. Play the music!

Although not required, adding in some music can give your sermon hotspots just the right amount of oomph. Social media channels across the board have highlighted musical elements in the makeup of their content. Trending sounds and music can be helpful to play well with the algorithm, which in turn can do wonders for your engagement.

If you are adding your own music in the editing process, you will want to make sure you either use free-source music clips or create your music. It is also smart to use music that is fully instrumental and doesn’t distract from the words being spoken in the sermon snippet. Overall, music isn’t totally necessary, but it does add another fun element to the video!

 

  1. Consider the need

When utilizing sermon hotspots, one of the most important things is to consider what your audience needs. What are their concerns? What season of life are they in? Prayerfully consider which portions of the sermon are the most relevant for your particular audience at this moment in time. 

In just 1 minute, you could radically transform someone’s life. They may hear the message of the Good News of Jesus for the first time through your sermon hotspot! We must use this time wisely knowing that it could touch someone’s life in an incredibly impactful way.

Sermon hotspots are just one way you can utilize design to kickstart engagement in your church. These videos serve to “open the door” into your church before the viewer even physically steps into your church. 

Our team at Pro MediaFire is pretty much the sermon hotspot gurus. Our team works with churches to create eye-catching and engaging videos for their social media channels. Here we have highlighted some of our favorites they’ve done:

  1. Destiny of Faith
  2. Beebe Memorial Cathedral
  3. Dare to Imagine Church
  4. Turning Point Church

Do you want to include sermon spots into your church’s digital strategy? Reach out to our talented team today to get started!

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