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Should My Church Have a Facebook Fan Page? (Newsletter 4-3)

Should My Church Have a Facebook Fan Page?
Church Plant Marketing

Have you ever wondered if it is worth the time to build and manage a page for your church on Facebook? The answer is yes.

In this article on Church Plant Marketing, I am going to walk through why you need a fan page, how to build up followers, and very specific ideas that you can use to find church shoppers out in your communities.

Let’s start with a basic primer on the different types of accounts you can create on Facebook:

Facebook Personal Account – Your personal account is about you (the pastor) and only you. This is how you connect personally with people through social media and talk about your joys, struggles, passions, mistakes, and adventures. It is pictures of the wife and kids, other content you enjoy, and a way to let others know that you are thinking about them. Don’t create a personal account for your church.

Facebook Page (aka Fan Page, Business Page, etc) – This is page that is built for a business, organization, or common collection of people. This blog post is all about building a Facebook Page for your church.

Facebook Groups – These are forums where people can gather and discuss topics of interest in a more collaborative manner.

Why a Church Needs a Facebook Page

Here are the reasons that I recommend that every church starts up a Fan Page.

1. This is an important communication channel. Building a Facebook Page is just like managing an email list, a Twitter account, and a YouTube page… it opens up a new line of communication between you and your attendees. 70% of your members will ignore the weekly email you send out, a Facebook Page is a way to reach some of those people.

2. Your Facebook Page is an invitation engine that provides a very tactful way for your current members to invite their friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to church. Churches love printing out postcards for Easter service that are supposed to be handed out to neighbors. Your Facebook Page is that concept on steroids.

3. Church shoppers can see what your church is really like. A church website is a brochure and frankly isn’t all that trustworthy when you’re looking for a new church. A Facebook Page will let people get a true view of what your church is all about and can close the deal on getting them to visit you on a Sunday.

What a Facebook Page will NOT do for your church.

1. It won’t create interaction among your members. The days are long-gone of people meeting and interacting through a Fan Page. This is a broadcast channel, not a walkie talkie.

2. It isn’t a sharing platform. If your members post content to your channel, it will probably never see the light of day. Only posts made by the page admin(s) will rise to the top.

It is important to keep in mind that Facebook is a moving target that changes the rules all the time. At any point they can flip a switch that renders everything you know useless, so be sure to always stay current with how the platform works and to watch your analytics.

Building Your Church Fan Page on Facebook

The most important bit of advice I can give you when it comes to building that Facebook Fan Page is this: people are never coming back! Once a person Likes your Page, all of your communications are going show up in their news feed. This is completely normal, but you need to understand this so you don’t spend obsessive amounts of time (or even worse pay an outside consultant) to build up a beautiful Fan Page for your church. Building your Church Fan Page should take less than 30 minutes.

That being said, you still want to have a decent looking page for the church shoppers that visit and to ensure that people don’t think you’ve gone out of business. Here are a few key areas where I would recommend you spend some time when setting up.

Cover Photo – This is the big rectangular picture across the top of the page. I strongly recommend that you make this a picture of people worshiping in your church on Sunday morning. As a church shopper, I want to know if I’m going to be in my comfort zone when I visit you.

About – You can include both a short and a long description of your church. The odds that a human being will read this are ridiculously low, but this description can make your page easier to find for the search engines and when people are searching on Facebook.

Tabs – Use the tabs area as a way to connect people to your other communication channels and to your top content on Facebook. The four tabs that I recommend are:

1. Photos
2. Events
3. A link to your YouTube channel
4. Subscribe to email

How To Get “Likes” On Your Church’s Facebook Fan Page

How do you actually get people to like your page so this communication channel is worth using? If nobody likes your page, all of the communications you send out through this channel are a complete waste of time.

The first thing you need to do is be very specific with your regular church attendees and tell them repeatedly to like you on Facebook. Do this with ease and consistency by plugging your Facebook Page on these communication channels in the church.

• A prominent link on every page of your church website
• A sentence and Facebook logo in every printed weekly bulletin
• Projected on the wall (or TV Screens) both before and after your church service
• Include a link in the weekly email. Build this into your email template so you don’t have to remember every week.
• Include a link from your YouTube channel

Next, include Facebook as part of the conversation as individual opportunities arise. When members like and share your content you’ve just opened your church up to their local connections.

• Tell them you’ll share the link to the video clip or other media you used in a sermon
• To RSVP for upcoming events (more on this below)
• Announce that pictures from church events will be posted to your page
• Post discussion questions and the recording from this today’s sermon

Finally, it’s perfectly alright to just outright ask people to like your Fan Page. Mention it occasionally during the announcements time of your service and don’t be shy about sending out a special email every few months or so to let people know all of the ways they can connect with your church.

Be honest with your members… tell them that one of the main goals of having your church on Facebook is to invite more people from the community to attend. Every time they like or share your content, they are sending an invitation to people they know.

What Kind of Posts Should a Church Plant Write on Facebook?

You’ve now got your church Fan Page built… gold star! In order to build a following and get your posts ranking higher on Facebook (Facebook serves up the content that they think each individual person will engage with the most) you are going to need to deliver compelling content on a consistent basis. This is a commitment and you are going to need somebody in your church to step up and take this on!

I would recommend posting a comment to Facebook several times per week, but never more than once a day. There are two general types of posts outlined below: business and pleasure.

Your “business” posts are going to be a bit less interesting and probably won’t get much engagement, but they are still very important to make. Here are ideas on what to post:

• Video preview of what you are going to talk about in this Sunday’s sermon.
• This week’s sermon notes, discussion questions, and recording.
• What music did you play in church this week, link to one song by the professional artist on YouTube. (Hint: Music is a major deciding factor for church shoppers)
Your “pleasure” posts are all about the church community. These are what the church shoppers see that makes them understand what your church is all about, that you are normal people, and that they can feel comfortable visiting you.
• Photos from events, small group meeting, volunteer activities, potlucks, Sunday service, people working at the church, etc. If you learn nothing else from this article, be sure you post a ton of pictures and tag as many people in the photos as possible.
• Show people what kind of volunteer work the church is involved in and invite them to attend.
• Provide sneak peeks into small groups, community groups, fun trips, and other “not on Sunday” activities.
• Tell people about upcoming events where they can get plugged in.
• Share milestones and other small victories, these are what make being part of a church plant so cool!
• Thank your individual members who are making an impact in your church. Post a picture of them brewing coffee or a video of them directing traffic in the parking lot.

More Ways to Grow Your Church with a Facebook Fan Page

Here are a few more ideas that we’ve seen success with to help let the community know that your church is a place they should visit.

Events – These have been a big hit for us so far. Facebook allows you to create an event, invite people you know, and collect RSVPs. Even more importantly:

• When a person does RSVP for an event, it shows up on the timeline of their own Facebook friends. You just invited their sphere.
• It is easy for a member to invite a group of friends using the event page.
• You can use paid advertising through Facebook to broadcast your event even further .

Events on Facebook are a powerful tool, but you need to only use them for your major events like holiday services, all-church gatherings, etc. Don’t use these to promote your weekly Sunday gathering, people will get sick of them and stop listening.

Checking In – Similar to Foursquare and Yelp, Facebook allows people to check in at locations with a registered Fan Page. As people are waiting for worship to begin or if you have meet/greet time in the middle of service, put a little reminder up on the screen for people to check in on Facebook. This is instant marketing for your church and a way for your members to publicly announce that they are proud to be a part of your church.

Reviews – The search engines love websites with reviews. Google prefers to serve up Yelp and Google reviews in the search results, but positive reviews on Facebook are a good way to affirm the decision by a church shopper to visit you this Sunday. Positive reviews on your Fan Page can be a good indicator for Facebook to serve up more of your content and open even more opportunities down the road.

All of the Facebook reviews we have received so far have been unsolicited.

Should My Church Purchase Advertising from Facebook?

Paid advertising through the social networks and the search engines is a good way to market your church plant, but it needs to be approached with a lot of caution. I’m going to save this topic for another blog post, but when it comes to paid advertising on Facebook I would give these tips:
• Facebook advertising is great if you want to reach out to a specific demographic in your community.
• When a person likes your Fan Page it allows you to send marketing directly to them and/or their Facebook friends. You probably just cringed when I said that! Follow your gut on what is appropriate and not appropriate in this respect.
• Events are my favorite thing to promote and have given us the best results.
• Sponsored posts have not given us a good return on the investment. I would not recommend them.
• I also don’t recommend long-term ad campaigns on Facebook. Do your marketing in short bursts or your budget might rapidly disappear.
Like I said… this is another topic for another day!

Summarizing What You’ve Learned

Your church plant needs a Facebook Fan Page. It is one of the best free marketing tools you’ll find out there and it allows you to establish trust-based marketing directly through the members of your church.

Don’t obsess on what the Fan Page looks like, people will probably never come back.

Facebook is not your website, your website is not Facebook. Your church website is a nice brochure for general information, whereas Facebook is a reflection of what day-to-day life is really like in your church plant.

Your Fan Page is all about finding church shoppers in your community and proving to them that you are a great group of people to live life with. Your Fan Page is not going to do much in the way of community-building for your existing church members.

 

The above article, “Should My Church Have a Facebook Fan Page?” was written by Church Plant Marketing. The article was excerpted from www.churchplantmarketing.com web site. November 2017.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author.
However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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