Social media is all the rage right now. Everyone is promoting themselves as an expert and there’s constant talk on how people are leaving one platform for another, what millennials are using, etc.
The fact is that Facebook still has the largest portion of market for engaged users and useful features for groups likes churches, but how do you set it up, and use it well?
Setup your account as a “page” NOT a person
It may seem confusing at first. There are groups, pages, special profiles, and personal profiles. For years many churches have setup their Facebook accounts as personal profiles – and this needs to stop. If you setup your church as a personal profile, you are violating Facebook terms and agreements and could get shutdown at any moment – and then you loose all time and history that profile has.
In addition, there are a lot of benefits to setting it up as a Facebook Page instead such as…
When you setup a Facebook page, you can invite others on Facebook to collaborate and even set a variety of permissions for each person. This means, for example, that you can have people that setup content, but can’t be published without approval from someone with higher permissions. This allows for a few people to help with managing the account without having to share passwords.
Facebook pages give you the option to setup a “call-to-action” at the top of your page such as contacting you, or visiting your website, which is a helpful way to encourage engagement.
Although Facebook is pay-to-play in many ways, one benefit of being recognized as a business is that you’ll show up in searches related to religious organizations or businesses in the area – which you obviously wouldn’t show up in if it was setup as a personal profile.
It’s specific for businesses
By setting up a page over a personal one they setup your page to look slightly different such as an ability to leave a review, or having your location displayed (which will also then give you a location tag in Instagram, which is one more helpful piece).
Utilize Facebook’s features
Now that you’ve properly setup your Facebook page, you can begin utilizing Facebook. Some of the things that make Facebook specifically useful for churches are:
The about section
Make sure that after you’ve setup your page that you keep info about your church up to date. This means your contact info, website url, address, service times, and any information you have about the church and it’s mission/vision. It’s good to update your social media information whenever there’s a big change, and also at least twice a year to make sure that your information is current.
If you have a church Facebook then you should utilize events. Facebook has become many people’s events calendar and they’ll often forget about things going on unless you remind them in as many ways as possible: including Facebook. Creating events for every service is definitely overkill, but you should create an event for any general church events, serving events, or special services.
“Pin to the top” feature
One great, and underused feature, is the ability to pin a post to the top of your feed. If there’s a specific event, video, or post that’s important for people to see first when on your page then you should pin it to the top. One that event or season is over, you can simply unpin that post and choose a new one. People post so much on social media (as should your church’s Facebook page) and so it’s great to be able to have the most prevalent information on top at all times.
Although there’s plenty you can do without paying, one of Facebook’s most useful features is being able to target people in your area with posts and advertisements about your church. There are so many advertisements pulling people, what better way to invest money than to share the Gospel and encourage people to turn to Jesus.
One of the biggest problems for businesses and churches alike on social media is that they setup an account and then never touch it again. However, it’s much more than just posting updates…
It is SOCIAL media
People don’t want to simply be talked at, but responded to. This means that if there’s a big event, you should have someone responding for your church to people’s Facebook posts on that event. You should be tagging people in photos and posts and generally just being social.
Encourage your people to share the page and content
Besides paying for your content to be seen, the greatest boost in people’s feeds is to have content that is shared. This is done by creating content that people want to share, but it’s also by simply encouraging your people to share the church’s posts with others.
NOTE: PLEASE do not encourage people to share the church’s posts by adding “please share” to the end. This looks tacky and puts a bad taste in people’s mouths because they feel more like they’re being used than engaged with.
The best way to get people engaged with your posts is to simply remind them in appropriate contexts. During team meetings, or church announcements. For example, we reminded the people who were majorly involved with our Easter service to be sharing the invite videos and posts and we saw great response.
Facebook has been pushing Live Videos for a while now to compete with Periscope and Snapchat. What this means for you is that by jumping on board with Live Videos, your page will get extra boost from Facebook’s algorithm because you’re using the features they want people to use. This is just one example, but it leads us to the last point…
Follow the trends
There’s always new features and strategies that develop in social media generally and on specific platforms so it’s important to not let your head get stuck in the sand but to continually look up and see how it’s changing: and keep up. This can take time, but it doesn’t have to suck your life away. This can be done well by simply asking people who are very involved in social media “what’s new” about once a month. It’s as simple as that.
I hope this post is helpful for you, however, never forget that information is useless without execution. So, now that you know all this, I encourage you to set up your church Facebook page and see how you can best reach and bless the people in your area.