Congregational video tips and samples

I’ve been inspired by Peter Bowden’s posts on the UU Growth Blog encouraging congregations to produce videos. “Not having video content in the 21st century is like not having a sign on your building,” Peter writes. “It is now standard operating procedure.”

In another post, Peter makes the point, “You don’t have to go crazy with a complex production. Instead, focus on capturing compelling stories.”

Peter has highlighted this video, from the First Unitarian Church of Providence, Rhode Island, as an example of how congregation’s ministers can introduce themselves to newcomers online:

I’m not a video expert, but I notice many things that as a viewer I find appealing about this video:

  • The video is only a minute-and-a-half long. (Because the length of a video is displayed clearly in the YouTube player, it is one of the things that a viewer sees before deciding whether or not to hit the play button).
  • James and Kathy start speaking immediately; there’s no lead-in.
  • James and Kathy speak clearly, slowly, and with expression. They exude friendliness and warmth.
  • They look at the camera.
  • The video is not shaky; the camera was on a tripod or some other stable surface.

And the video has all of these wonderful qualities without being a “complex production.” It’s filmed in one single, beautiful location. There’s no image slideshow, background music, or special effects.

Now, on to the  “complex production” options, for those congregations that have the resources and need. Below are a few more congregational videos that I enjoy, and that I hope will inspire you to find an approach to video that works for your congregation!

Choosing administrators for your congregation’s Facebook Page

I’ve received many questions from congregational leaders this summer about choosing administrators for Facebook Pages. Below are some tips to help your congregation make decisions about Page administration. Please keep in mind that this advice assumes that your congregation has already agreed to establish a page and that all potential administrators of that page have been authorized by the congregation to serve in that capacity.

  • The person who creates the Page will automatically become a page administrator.
  • The Page administrator can then select other people to serve as administrators. Once someone is an administrator, he or she can also add new administrators.
  • There should always be more than one person serving as an administrator for your congregation’s Facebook page. My recommendation is to have at least three trustworthy people in the congregation serving as page administrators, even if all three are not actively involved in day-to-day management of the page.
  • A person who administers a page can only post to the wall using the page name. For example, if Sally Smith is the administrator for the Page of the First Parish Happyville, all of the announcements that she posts to the wall will appear as coming from “First Parish Happyville” and not from “Sally Smith.” This restriction can be limiting for ministers or others who want to post as themselves. For example, a minister might want to write, “I’ll be at the potluck on Friday! Hope to see many of you there.” It’s awkward and confusing to write that as “First Parish Happyville.”
  • Announcements posted to the Page wall by administrators appear in the News Feeds of people who like the page.
  • Keep in mind that setting up multiple accounts for a single individual is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Use;  a person can either serve as a page administrator or can post as an individual on the wall. Not both (unfortunately!)

The tips above are based on the questions most frequently asked by congregations. To explore a wider range of technical issues related to page administration, visit Facebook’s help excellent section on “Creating, administering and editing your Page.”