We’ve seen our church’s engagement on Facebook go from 200 to nearly 3,000 individuals over the past two years. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way:
1. If you’re still using a group for your church or organization, don’t wait another day to make the move to a Facebook Page.
There are tons of benefits of pages over groups. My favorite benefit is that when you post to your organization’s wall, that post will show up in the new feed of the people who like your page. My second favorite thing (and this is a new feature of the updated Facebook pages) is that as an administrator, you can receive all new Wall posts via email. This is especially helpful if you maintain multiple pages. These email updates will keep your Facebook spaces from being polluted by spam wall posts for Russian brides and mail-in pharmaceuticals, and it will also help you to respond to to people in a timely fashion.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing automatic about making the change from a Facebook Group to a Facebook Page, but it’s fairly painless. Set up a new Facebook Page and then message all the people in your existing group to let them know that you’re making the switch. Make sure you provide a link to the new page, and let them know that you’ll be shutting down the old group in a certain number of days (a week seems to work nicely).
2. Give the responsibility to the right person.
While you’ll probably wan’t to hand off your Facebook admin rights to someone who is technically savvy, make sure that their love for people exceeds their ability to write code or navigate the internet. Responding to people’s questions and concerns in a public setting requires tenderness, compassion, and discernment. Pick someone who will represent your church well.
3. Make sure that your updates are interesting and engaging.
If you can, post videos and include photography. Posting short highlights from past weekend messages and upcoming events has worked very well for us (I would guess that 75% or more of our wall posts include graphics or video). None of these things require new video footage – we just re-purpose existing video.
Also, when you post content, spend some time crafting the words. There are many ways to say the same thing, so try to craft your phrases in a way that they elicit curiosity and spark interest. This takes practice, but even a little effort will take you a long way.
Note: If you find yourself posting the same wrote message over and over again, or if you only post times changes and cancellations, you’re on the wrong track. Always ask yourself, “Is this lame?” before you post something to your church’s Facebook Wall. If the answer is yes very often, it’s time to change your strategy.
4. Don’t mess with your logo.
While you may be tempted to think it would be good to update your Facebook Page profile image to reflect a current sermon series or upcoming event, I would highly suggest that you reserve the profile image only for your church’s logo/brand. Sermon series graphics are great, but post them to your wall instead.
5. Be strategic about your communications hub.
While Facebook is an excellent tool, I think it’s a good strategy to keep your church website, not Facebook, at the center of your communications. For Faith Promise, we’re deliberate to keep our website and blog at the core of our communications. Facebook is one of the many tools we use to engage the congregation and open up dialog. (For some of the other options, check out our “Updates” page.)
What about you? What features make a Facebook Page compelling? What can we do to better engage our congregation through Facebook?