At PAK7, it has always been part of our strategy to use Social Media to share our message in Pakistan, but the start of the Coronavirus pandemic accelerated our plans. At a time of uncertainty and personal crisis, we wanted to get a message of God’s love out to people and we wanted to be able to speak with them to help them in their time of need. The results from the first six weeks were quite astonishing…
When we think about Social Media in Pakistan, we have to remind ourselves that this is a very different part of the world to say Europe or North America. Internet access and Social Media are much less prevalent as a result of widespread poverty and a lack of infrastructure. Statistics from the start of 2020 show that about 22% of the adult population of Pakistan use Facebook (compared to about 65% in the USA).
|Population||220 million||360 million people|
|Facebook Users||33 million users||180 million users|
|Facebook users as % of Adult population||22%||65%|
|Facebook Users by Gender||19% Female, 81% Male||55% Female, 45% Male|
We have to remember that when we do work on Social Media we are reaching a certain type of person. In Pakistan, that person is on average male, in their 20s, living in a city, and of above average income and education. If they are the people you want to talk to, then Social Media is a great place to do it - but if you want to reach women in their 40s living in rural areas, then you probably need to use television (that’s why Social Media is just one part of our overall strategy).
We all face challenges, all the time. But in the pandemic, many of those difficulties and fears are accentuated. On top of the fears of what might happen if the virus spread out of control, the lockdown in Pakistan meant that many families were unable to work and hence had no money for food. PAK7 could not address their hunger, but we could speak into their situation and address their fears and emotional needs. So we started producing a series of videos that spoke about loneliness, fear, depression, difficulty and hope - showing how our faith in God helps us in these situations. Often these took the form of stories of individuals who had gone through difficult circumstances.
At the end of April we started promoting the videos online using paid advertising on Facebook. The idea was that people who watched the videos would be able to send us a message and we could chat with them about their situation. The response was overwhelming! In the first few days we had between 300 and 400 people a day writing to us - at times, 3-4 people a minute… our small team was swamped! Not only did we have too many people to help, but too often they were not really interested in talking about their challenges (they were just inquisitive). What we needed was a way to speak to the really interested people who wanted our help…
So, we quickly built a website for those that wanted to find out more, put some short articles there for them to read and started directing the traffic there. For those that were interested in talking to us, there was a button on that site that would initiate a chat. This brought the numbers contacting our team down to about 30-40 a day, but they tended to be people who actually wanted our help.
When we ran the final reports six weeks later at the end of the campaign, we were amazed by the number of people who had watched our videos and who had gone on to write to us. We tend to monitor a few statistics to show us what’s going on at a high level:
|Facebook Reach||How many people’s Facebook pages did the video appear on? (This does not mean they actually watched it!)||5.7 million|
|Videos viewed to 95%||How many times were the videos watched through to the end? Possibly the best indicator that we are getting the message across||241,000 views|
|Unique website users||How many people visited the website as a result of watching the videos during the period||28,600 people|
|Meaningful conversations||How many good conversations did we have with people? (usually where we talked about real issues and prayed with the person)||200 conversations|
So, to clarify… our videos were watched until the end almost a quarter of a million times during this 6 week period.
We don’t know everything that happens as a result of these videos, but sometimes we hear a story that encourages us, of answered prayer, or changed lives. Here are two short examples of how God has used these interactions to impact people’s lives.
“One man contacted us at the start of the campaign, he was very depressed and sick but I got a couple of chances to talk and pray with him. Today he came with the good news that he got some work and he’s thankful that in this difficult time he can do something to feed his family. I prayed with him again that our God will bless him with a good job soon.”
“One man watched several of the videos and praised our work. He told us he was very angry with his cousins and wanted to take revenge but after watching the videos on our page he forgave them.. all praise to God.”
Please pray for these and other people who have watched videos and contacted out team. God is at work in their lives!