Facebook is by far the greatest gift to church ministry since someone sliced bread.
Among the social media options available Facebook has the largest engaged audience. People regularly go to Facebook to see what people are sharing and saying. They share what is happening in their lives. They engage.
If a church is not online (including Facebook), then it is not engaging the culture!
Simply put, it is not relevant to the community in which it is called to serve. It may as well take down its sign, close its doors and allow entry only to those who know the special handshake.
A church needs to be where the people gather and they are online and on social media sites.
My church has Facebook
As good and important as Facebook is many church communities have yet to leverage its capabilities in order to expand their brand footprint and grow their community. Most use their Facebook presence to post pictures, upload small videos and links to announcements, messages, articles and blogs – all good things.
Personal vs. Business Facebook
Many have set up their Facebook as a ‘profile’ over a ‘page’ account thereby limiting their ability to assess visitor behavior information and leverage Facebook’s campaign capabilities.
Simply put “profile”accounts are personal accounts where “page” accounts are business accounts. Not only does Facebook require any entity (not an actual person) to set up as a business page but they are free to delete any account they realize is operating a business under a personal set-up. So, if you don’t have yours set-up correctly do so soon. Here is Facebook’s help link to do so seamlessly.
Top 10 Reasons to set-up a ‘Business Facebook page’ rather than use ‘Personal Facebook profile’ for your church…
Today’s serious church communities take the business of their communities’ seriously and people today expect the communities they’re associated with to be a) relevant, b) timely and, c) insightful; providing an experience that meets (or exceeds) their expectations. Successful communities are doing this by getting to know their members deeply and they’re doing this by leveraging data insights and demographic (and psycho-graphic) profiles available.
Facebook provides this kind of information – FREE!
Facebook provides additional places for content about your community. Rather than relying on the limited ‘bio-profile’ area tab, Facebook enables Page accounts to add intro. videos, newsletter opt-in forms and areas to highlight more about your church community – who you are, what you believe in, who you serve….
Facebook provides ‘page’ accounts access to advertising. Within the console is the ability to set-up a small budget (i.e. $20) which tells you the audience reach your spend will generate based on the parameters you set. The parameters you have to work with are:
- Location – select the target area you want to see your post?
- Age – what age range is your post most suited for?
- Gender – is subject matter or event most designed for a particular group?
- Interests – what kind of interests does the audience have that fits with the ‘interests’ of your post?
Facebook allows ‘pages’ to create offers. In the traditional sense these would be discounts for a site visitor’s purchase. In our context, church communities could use this functionality to offer:
- Lenten readers FREE if visitor brings in the offer coupon.
- Discounts on Tickets for Fundraising events
- Discounts on formatted and produced CD for a sermon series they might like.
Facebook ‘page’ accounts permit the owner to assign administrative roles. Depending on the size of your online footprint, your community may want to establish a ‘Social Ministry Team.’ Their charge is all things digital including:
- Website and its content including graphic designer, video.
- Email marketing landing pages and redirects
- Analytics and tracking campaigns, click-throughs, impressions, etc. for site, FB page and other social media channels.
- Content and curation of resources for: site, page, newsletter, blog, twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
- Manager who oversees the integration and helps define the strategic approach to effectively leverage all channels working in concert as well as monitors visitor (member) responses and issues.
Using a Facebook ‘page’ account over a ‘personal’ account is regarded as more professional; increasing your communities’ credibility. With every fly-by-night allowed on the internet it becomes more important to establish and guard your online brand and presence. With 85% of the people considering a church, first looking online; the need to ensure our best is presented is an imperative.
Within Facebook ‘page’ accounts you are provided scheduling functionality that frees you to set up what and when something will post automatically.
Finally, because you have set-up a Facebook pages account you are able to locate your church on the front page of your page. This is an important thing for any visitor who has come to visit your page and wonders where you are. Just like your website, having your location – FRONT and CENTER – takes the guesswork of how to find you out of the visitors hands. The easier you make it for them to find you online and offline the better their experience of you is.
A $20 buy
Does spending $20 sound like a lot? Compare what is currently spent on printing and mailing? When was the last time we asked our members if they would prefer to receive their newsletter via email over receiving it in the mail? The answer might surprise us and the added savings might be what is needed to spend in areas that could grow our church communities.
Video. Move as much of your content as you can to video for presenting on your Facebook page. Why? 1) Makes more impressions. More people click on and view content over reading text, 2) Facebook supporting (preferring?) video, image driven content. Some speculate its their response to Google+. Perhaps, 3) Pictures tell a 1,000 stories? video’s tell brings it alive! Have FUN!