Today is another wonderful episode of Church Butler’s Lunch and Learn podcast with special guest Nils Smith, the author of The Social Media Guy. He will share to us the ways on how social media, and technology in general, doing videos and podcasts and how excuses can hinder churches in doing so.
Moreover, Nils shares how social media can be an effective way to minister. Kenny Jahng together with Nils rants about some of the common excuses of other churches on the improvement of the community. Both shared their “addiction” on vlogging, recording their preaching and how effective technology is that it is very accessible to anyone.
To gain more information and knowledge about effective ways on videos and recordings, you can purchase the book The Social Media Guy by Nils Smith in Amazon.
You can listen to the podcast episode below:
Kenny Jahng: Hey friends, Kenny Jahng back for another episode of the lunch and learn. And you know what? I have a confession to make. I am addicted. There’s an addiction that I’m going to profess here.
Kenny Jahng: It’s to my friend Nils Smith. I just can’t get enough of Nils and I hope that you are in the same boat everybody. Welcome back to the program, Nils.
Nils Smith: Kenny, thanks for having me. I feel the same. This is a mutual addiction that we have in our relationship.
Kenny Jahng: I feel like there needs to be a support group and I’ll be the president of it. So one of the reasons why I’m having you back, the last time we talked about LinkedIn video versus YouTube video, we got into the conversation. As everyone hears, follow along, probably knows that I’ve doubled down on daily vlogging. You can catch me the #DailyKJTV and see the journey I’ve committed to doing years worth of video. Already up to episode 35 and we’re well on our way and even after a month into it, it’s been crazy in terms of the feedback and the insights I’ve learned and just encouragement.
Kenny Jahng: So there’s no slowing down. I just came back from Las Vegas conference called Grow with Video Live with Sean Cannell. Put this on 200 plus people, great environment to meet other. You know what, they are called creators, Nils. Did you know that? They’re not just bloggers. They call themselves creators. I feel like you and I, we should change our business card.
Nils Smith: Halfway. Kidding. You got a lot of business cards for the conference.
Kenny Jahng: Yes I do.
Kenny Jahng: For those following along on video. I print cards for every, every event. And so this was my card for the events. It was a YouTube themed, a business card for the event. But yes, I feel I should’ve put instead I wrote digital strategies, but I should’ve put video creator, which is what everyone else calls them. So this term creator, right? Instagram, when they launched IGTV, they call them creators and now I’m doubling down on Linkedin and that term is popping up out LinkedIn creator effect.
Kenny Jahng: You know what? I’m going to change my LinkedIn bio profile and add that as one of my titles. Linkedin Video Creator. So anyway, I want to talk about video because I can’t get enough of it. We are literally trying to upper game in a very practical way. I think this is one of the things that I give you credit for and I’m trying to live out my life here. We’re trying to be practical. We’re trying to do practice what we preach, right? That’s the phrase. And you’re one of the few guys out there that are actually doing it. And that’s what I like. I feel like we’ve talked about all these strategies and tactics and tips and tools, but, you know, at the end of the day, it’s, it only comes down to mindset Nils, right?
Nils Smith: Yes.
Kenny Jahng: Talk about that from your perspective. Right? What does it take? What is there? There’s a mindset that needs to change to go from not doing it, to doing it. And once you unlock it, something happens.
Nils Smith: I mean, yes, you nailed it. There’s the mindset to do it. I think the reality is we all have the tools to do it when it comes to video. And we all have good excuses not to do it. We’re all busy. We all lack the idea. I’ve got one friend, maybe two friends that have like a black magic camera or a red camera that’s like the pro level deal. So anybody with a Canon could say, well, I don’t have a red camera. So until I get that, I really don’t want to put myself out there. Everybody has an excuse not to do video. And I think at the end of the day it’s, we all need to get to a place of not making excuses. And I think back when I started my vlog, I had the idea for it a year before I started. I’m embarrassed that I waited a year because literally Kenny, I said, I need a DSLR to do this. And I just can’t afford it right now. I can’t justify it. And I made an excuse.
Kenny Jahng: 1 to 10, how silly was that inertia waiting for the camera?
Nils Smith: It’s a 12, an extra one to 10. It was ridiculously silly, because, you know what, I did have a camera. I had a good camera. And, you know what, I decided to do it before I actually launched my blog and I used, you know, I had this camera and I had a GoPro camera and I had a web camera. I had three cameras and I tried to make, I tried to make a few videos with those cameras. My first three videos I’ll never published publicly. They were terrible, but I learned by just doing it and then we found a solution. My solution ended up being a $35 webcam, a which is the best solution for me and I didn’t need lights because I had the sun and I used a window. I didn’t need a professional microphone because I already had a podcasting microphone that I figured out how to use that and so I pieced together what I had and have made what, something. I’m pretty proud of my vlogs now. Do I wish I had a DSLR cameras still? Yes. Do I wish I had maybe a professional audio setup beyond the Yeti microphone that’s little more hidden. Yes. And I hope to get there with it, but so far I think I’ve put out about 30 vlogs. I think I’m over 3000 subscribers. I’m redistributing it and I’m getting good engagement because I just started doing it and I’ll tell you my vlogs today are so much better. My gear hasn’t changed, but my vlogs have improved significantly because I’m doing it and when I do have that gear, I’m going to be that much further along than if had I have waited for it. So you just got to do it.
Kenny Jahng: What do you think it takes to change that mindset?
Kenny Jahng: A shoutout: Nils is the author of another book called The Social Media Guy. Mine is you’ll never have this one. This is a premium copy. It’s fine. It is autographed and signed for me, but The Social Media Guy, you have to pick it up and go to Amazon right now. In fact, I give you permission to stop the podcast, stopped the episode, open up a new browser window. Go by the book. Look up: Nils Smith, The Social Media Guy. It’s a great book, great primer to get into all the networks. You’ve met a lot of people. People are writing to you. What does it take? What is it? Have you diagnosed? What’s the tip of the sword to get someone to flip the switch.
Nils Smith: You mentioned the word creator. The term, this is not a creator issue. This is a, I would almost call it like a lazy issue, but a more excuses issue because people have an excuse for why, you know, as a consultant, I’ll often come into a church and help them and I’ll say, well, how come you didn’t have somebody at this door passing out bulletins? Well, this person didn’t show up. They’re going to excuse for why they didn’t get there. You know, what, fix that. Stop making excuses and fix, you know, or why is your stage messy? I think there’s an excuse or anything or why isn’t your website organized? Well, this person didn’t update the website. We make excuses all the time. And I think with social media it’s so different.
Nils Smith: And with video it’s no different. I’m not a video guy and I’m really not creative, but I knew that video was important and I just figured, I mean, I remember when I started online church eight years ago, we started doing video with a little flip cam. This was before the iPhone really had the power. It was early days of the iPhone. And so I used the flip cam with a USB, a little flash stick out that I plugged in my computer and I used iMovie to edit quick videos and I uploaded them to MySpace you know, like you just do it. And I’m still not a creative. I don’t know how to do Adobe or anything. But I bet in the last few, I mean, I don’t know how many hundreds of videos I’ve probably put out, and you figure out, you figure it out by doing it, but it’s there. Kenny, this not a creative issue. This is just an excuse issue. And people have to stop making excuses.
Kenny Jahng: Yes. People have to stop making excuses. That’s a good punchline. And again, I think, you know, I think it’s important and this is what I try to do and this is why I put out five videos on one day of the conference because everyone at lunch was talking about, “oh, they get back, this is what they’re going to plan on doing it”. I’m like, why are you planning, just do. Stop planning. Do. And so I literally would whip it out and I would edit the video wall. We’re walking from one place to the other. Like we were walking to the restaurant. I literally would edit it and before we sat down I would actually, it would be uploading and I would put down the phone while it’s uploading. And people would be amazed. And I’m like, no, don’t you see how easy it is? I don’t know, I just feel like we’re hopping on this too much. But it’s just.
Nils Smith: You know, I remember, Kenny, maybe eight years, seven years ago, reaching out to our friends at Life Church and asking them for their social media strategy guide for their church. And I was like a church, this big that’s doing this much has to have like a plan that I could just look at it because they were so friendly and generous with other stuff and they kind of laughed at me and said, we don’t have a plan. Like by the time we’d ride out a plan, it’s irrelevant, irrelevant. We just do it, you know, like we just have to go sometimes. Now I do believe Life Church probably does have a written out plan at this grow into some things like that. But the reality of social media and the reality of video today is whatever your plan or processes and details are, stop making a plan and literally just do it.
Nils Smith: I’s not that complicated. I’m got to tell you this too, Kenny. My nine year old daughter just started a YouTube channel. She’s making at least one video a week on youtube. She is capturing it. She’s editing. I’m not doing it. I’m not touching the keyboard or the camera for her. She has actually recruited my wife to be her camera person. So she has recruited some help and she is actually, she’s gotten her first sponsor. I’ve never had a sponsor on any of my videos. She’s already had a sponsor and one of her videos, I would say she sold my mom sponsors on one of her videos. If a nine year old can do it, you have no excuses.
Kenny Jahng: That’s absolutely, you know. And getting your wife to do it, that’s called directing. She’s now producing
Nils Smith: Recruiting. She recruited a volunteer. Church leaders have volunteers. Recruit a volunteer she’s using for a camera. We got her, two years ago for her birthday, we got her a little $50 camera that she’s using it. We did get her a Google Chrome book for her ninth birthday. So that’s the device she’s used. It’s $100 chromebook. It’s a $50 camera, which is probably worth 20 bucks now. And that’s her technology. That’s all she’s got. And she’s making it work and she’s already got sponsors
Kenny Jahng: If there’s a right place for shame and the church, this is it. You, as a church leader, should feel some shame that you’re not pushing that record button, and that’s the whole point of this rant is we’re trying to be encouraging to you at the end of the day that the world is going video, don’t be left behind and this is one those times where the church can play, catch up and sync up, level up immediately. There’s so little friction right now. The technology has been democratized that everyone has access to it. You’re not too late. This is one of the times where the church can lean forward and have a leadership position. You can do that in your own community for the good of your church and I think, and if you want to forget about everybody else. If you’re talking selfishly, this is one of the most fun ways to become a lifelong learner.
Kenny Jahng: Just on a very selfish basis, forget about the people. Forget about the community, forget about the gospel. Selfishly, this is a fun place to be, to learn this video production stuff for how storytelling happens. It really is. You meet other people and whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, I think this is just one of those places I implore you to come join Nils and I in the video world and I think this is a very practical thing I can speak for you. I would love for you to reach out to me. I would love for you to reach out to them. I think Nils and I would literally get on the phone with you, Zoom Conferences. We’d record something like this as the first trial right now.
Nils Smith: Yes, absolutely.
Kenny Jahng: That’s why you called your book as The Social Media Guy, right? Because you want to guide people. You want to share your wisdom and expertise and that’s why I love you as your generosity in how you’re trying to share your experience and not just say, Oh, I’m the guru and you’re not. You’re trying to just bring everybody along those. So that’s what I love about the book and the resources you’re putting out. So what, here’s one question then. So what are three types of videos are three things that people can record, literally like if, if people are inspired with this, um, or shamed into action, what should they record today? Literally, what should they record?
Nils Smith: You know, and I would say some of it is take what you already have. And so if you are not capturing your weekend’s sermon, I think that’s a good place to start that. That’s great content that’s already been created. I would say the second thing is.
Kenny Jahng: Wait, let’s camp out there. Because there’s going to be excuses. We don’t have a media team. I don’t have a volunteer. What are you going to tell that person?
Nils Smith: I’ve got sitting right here. iPhone, tripod. This thing costs about $10 on Amazon. I can set it up, I can, I can stick my iPhone in there and I can capture it. My dad has as a church of less than a hundred. And with that, in that church, he sets up his iPhone on the front row. And he Facebook lives out his sermon on Sunday. It’s not complicated. He doesn’t even have to recruit a volunteer to do that. He sets it up himself, and he’s his own camera guy at his church. There’s no excuses. I think to, if your church doesn’t have $10 off, I’ll make a donation to your church for that $10 a tripod camera.
Kenny Jahng: All you need is a stack of Bibles. Even if you need, all you need is a stack of Bibles.
Nils Smith: It really is that easy? So set up your phone, do it. Then I would say the other videos is I would do an invitation. You know, on Friday, here, I’m going to do a selfie video. I’m preaching about this on Sunday. We’d love for you to join us. It’s that easy. Invite a friend,this church welcome you to stand at the front door of the church. This door is going to be open, ready for you, and there’s going to be friendly and, ready to shake your hand. And there’s a seat just for you. And I’m going to be talking about this, I’d love to meet you after church. Create an invitation to join you at church and for church members to be able to share with their friends.
Nils Smith: And then I would say the third one would be, talk it over video. And so I’m seeing more and more churches doing this and I love it is I think the pulpit drives the church. And so if you’re capturing the sermon, I think another great video is process out the sermon. What, whether that’s you as the pastor or whether it’s somebody else in the church, you’re having a conversation around that sermon topic and there’s some things that people, maybe, questions they asked you after church or things that happened where, “you know what, let’s kind of talk it over afterwards”. How do we process this out?
Kenny Jahng: I love that because that’s one of my top recommendations, Q&A, because you don’t need to prepare another sermon that it can be answers of any length that you feel comfortable with. They can be pre-scripted where you literally just take two questions. Three questions and you say, “Hey, today, I’m going to cover three questions that you might have had from the sermon that we had this past Sunday on this topic or these passages. Here’s the first question, here’s my answer and here’s the question” to is just going through questions and answers. I think is very engaging.
Nils Smith: Yes, absolutely.
Kenny Jahng: Now you can get professional. I think our friend Rick Smith who used to be on watermarks staff has a great a series with his pastor Todd that they sat down and that was almost like a talk show, but that was very well received. High view counts. That just shows you that genre of question and answer about Bible and Biblical sermon topics is what people are looking for.
Nils Smith: Yes. Absolutely. And it doesn’t have to be a that, that professional. I think that video series would have done very well with just an iPhone on a tripod and I don’t think that was, I do think it was helpful, but I don’t think it was necessary. And don’t wait until you have the budget that Watermark Church and Dallas has to get started.
Kenny Jahng: Yes, I mean if you’re sitting at a chick fillet and you have got a phone, that’s all you need to sit there and just do it right. I think it comes down to the same answer at the end of the day as we close this out, Nils. You actually picked up a couple of things because people, you know, people always still have that excuse. So why don’t we just give them that low hanging fruit. I don’t know if you have the gear in front of you, but you picked up just one or two things for your phone.
Nils Smith: Yes, I mean, the thing that I shared earlier is I’ve got this little tripod, I think its anchor. I got everything on Amazon actually I got the whole thing to that, but it’s basically a little mini tripod. Then a little iPhone clip. The other thing I have on here, and I’ve gotten several of these over the years, we’ve gotten fisheye lenses, is a wide angle lens, but it’s just a little lens I can clip right on top of my iPhone and it increases the quality or gives me maybe even a different perspective out of the iPhone. And so what we’ll often do is basically take an iphone video and look a more professional look a little bit differently. So this is about $15. These vary from $5 to about $100 on iPhone. And then the other thing I have here is a little road microphone and let me pop this off so it’s got a little windscreen on it. But it’s a little micro plugs right into the iPhone jack. It picks up pretty good audio, especially for like a selfie video. So it’s like a talking video for giving a tour. So a lot of vloggers use this kind of microphone, with their DSLRs. But it works great on an iPhone as well. So I’ve started using this over the last week and so this was about, I think it was about $1,500 to the microphone and about $20 for the windscreen. So that’s a little bit directional mic, right? It is a directional mic.
Kenny Jahng: So what’s the advantage of that? What is that doing besides just the open iPhone mic?
Nils Smith: Sure. So, I’m here in New York City, so a lot of the videos I’m doing or outside on the street and so there’s a lot of background noise and so while I like the perspective of the city, I think it adds, you know, kind of a fun factor to some of the videos. It’s very challenging with the audio. So this allows me to get more directional audio for me and then it takes out a lot of the background noise while I can also have though that kind of hustle and bustle of the video, that’s not quite as distracting as the audio. So, that’s, I say that Kenny, I’m not a video guy. I’m trying to figure this out and improve on a daily basis. I shot it with just this for a long time. I’m trying to spend a little bit of money and make my videos better. That’s what I’m told it does. It sounds a little bit better I think, from what I’ve been told and what I can hear. And so for a little bit of money, I’m making my videos a little bit better.
Kenny Jahng: Yes. And again, from the conference, AVL was the phrase audio, video, lightning. Those are the three things that you got to pay attention to, but audio is the highest on the hierarchy tone pole. You need clean audio and then it doesn’t really matter about the video and even the lighting can be sacrificed. Right? Even here, if you think about it, I’ve got a nice podcast. I don’t have any professional lighting. You are well lit and have a good audio.
Nils Smith: I’m going to take my webcam, which I’m using as my camera. Now I’m going to show you by my professional lighting kit here. Let me see if I can turn it around here. Okay, that’s it right there. You know what that is? That’s a $15 desk lamp from Amazon that I just shined on the wall across from me and it’s shiny and kind of back on me.
Kenny Jahng: Reflective soft light.
Nils Smith: It was $15 on Amazon. That’s my lighting kit that I’m using. And as you said is you’re pretty well lit. That was a good compliment to me. That is my lighting kit. That’s the most I’ve ever spent.
Kenny Jahng: So again, I think that the thesis of today’s episode is you. Anyone can get started at any level if you have a phone in your pocket, there’s no excuse. You can try to incrementally level it up as we have. And I think both of us don’t profess that we’re professional videographers by far, but the traction that each of us have gotten in terms of being publishers of video content on a regular basis. I think we both are raising our hands that says it’s too good to ignore if you have a church or ministry, whether it’s for your own personal platform, or it’s for the church or specifically something for an event promotion, etc. This is something you should be considering, and I think this is the part that I don’t want anyone to miss. Here at Church Butler. We have a private Facebook group called social media for churches.
Kenny Jahng: Search for it in Facebook. It’s called social media for churches. It’s a private Facebook group. I’m asked to join. When you get in there, you can ask questions and get them answered. It’s, you know, both of us consult for organizations and there’s many others that are part of that group that do this on a paid basis for living and give free advice and willing to be the sounding board and mentor and encourage you take advantage of those types of things because this is the media, social media world that we’re in today where we’re trying to be generous with our time and talents and pay it forward. And so, that’s the one call to action. Nils, any other resources or things that, they can actually, I have got one gigantic one. Why don’t you tell them a little bit about the podcast and how they can access your whole serial program?
Nils Smith: Yes, so socialmedia.church, the social media church podcast as a podcast that I have hosted for about three years now. We are 200 episodes in or something like that.
Kenny Jahng: What is the focus? What do you try to focus in on?
Nils Smith: So, so we want to help churches max better utilized social media. So we talk a lot about online church, kind of, I would say that the furthest extension of how churches are using social media and then we talk as basic as possible of here’s how you set up a Facebook account. So we brought spectrum there. We probably pushed the limits of technology more than we’d go to the basics. But we’ve covered all on the podcast and bringing in some experts and some those with different perspectives. And Kenny you’ve been there, right? You were actually the first guest on the podcast and you have been a regular throughout the years. And so, that’s where we actually probably met was at the social media church podcast, long close friendship that has come out of it.
Kenny Jahng: And again, it feels like 70 years ago because the internet lives in dog years, right?
Nils Smith: I had hair when the podcast begin.
Kenny Jahng: Well, thank you so much for stopping by again today. And then I have to confess my addiction upfronts and it’s not going to stop. Obviously after today’s episode
Nils Smith: Thank you for having me. You know other side of the Hudson River sand.
Kenny Jahng: Of course, for everybody else, please leave us some comments and questions that’s begging for you to put your thoughts into action. Get out there and we’re here to help you make that leap, to hit that record button. And whatever questions you might have, there’s no dumb questions out there. Ask them and we’re here to support you. So you can do that in the Facebook groups, social media for churches. You can do that on the [email protected] at www.butler.church/blog. And you can also check out Nils’s book, The Social Media Guy. Check that out on Amazon today. Thanks for listening and we’ll catch you here next time on the Church Butler, Luxembourg.
Kenny Jahng: Take care, Nils.
I think the reality is we all have the tools to do it when it comes to video. And we all have good excuses not to do it.
You mentioned the word creator. The term, this is not a creator issue. This is a, I would almost call it like a lazy issue, but a more excuses issue because people have an excuse for why, you know, as a consultant, I’ll often come into a church and help them and I’ll say, well, how come you didn’t have somebody at this door passing out bulletins? Well, this person didn’t show up. They’re going to excuse for why they didn’t get there. You know, what, fix that. Stop making excuses and fix, you know, or why is your stage messy? I think there’s an excuse or anything or why isn’t your website organized?
And again, I think, you know, I think it’s important and this is what I try to do and this is why I put out five videos on one day of the conference because everyone at lunch was talking about, “oh, they get back, this is what they’re going to plan on doing it”. I’m like, why are you planning, just do. Stop planning. Do.
The whole point of this rant is we’re trying to be encouraging to you at the end of the day that the world is going video, don’t be left behind and this is one those times where the church can play, catch up and sync up, level up immediately. There’s so little friction right now. The technology has been democratized that everyone has access to it. You’re not too late. This is one of the times where the church can lean forward and have a leadership position. You can do that in your own community for the good of your church and I think, and if you want to forget about everybody else. If you’re talking selfishly, this is one of the most fun ways to become a lifelong learner.
What, whether that’s you as the pastor or whether it’s somebody else in the church, you’re having a conversation around that sermon topic and there’s some things that people, maybe, questions they asked you after church or things that happened where, “you know what, let’s kind of talk it over afterwards”. How do we process this out?
If you are not capturing your weekend’s sermon, I think that’s a good place to start that. That’s great content that’s already been created.
I’ve got sitting right here. iPhone, tripod. This thing costs about $10 on Amazon. I can set it up, I can, I can stick my iPhone in there and I can capture it. My dad has as a church of less than a hundred. And with that, in that church, he sets up his iPhone on the front row. And he Facebook lives out his sermon on Sunday. It’s not complicated. He doesn’t even have to recruit a volunteer to do that. He sets it up himself, and he’s his own camera guy at his church. There’s no excuses. I think to, if your church doesn’t have $10 off, I’ll make a donation to your church for that $10 a tripod camera.
It doesn’t have to be a that, that professional. I think that video series would have done very well with just an iPhone on a tripod and I don’t think that was, I do think it was helpful, but I don’t think it was necessary.