Recent studies have shown that as much as 25% of web referrals come via Facebook and that 13% of all time spent online occurs on Facebook. A staggering 14 hour per month average for U.S users alone. For churches, Facebook can be a great asset in connecting to multiple generations. With a little time and effort, churches have a free tool to help keep members informed on church life.
Don’t have a Facebook account? No worries. Setting one up is free and simple. All you need is an active email address. [expand title=”How do you set up a Facebook account?”]
Decide whether a group or a page will serve your needs; you may want both for different purposes. A group page tends to be more closed and restrictive and requires more administrative maintenance, while a page allows for more open communication and can link directly to your church’s website. Please don’t use a “Person” page for your church; it’s just awkward.
To create a page, login to your personal account and click on “create page” from the left hand column under the subheading “pages”. From there, a page with six boxes should appear. Click on the top center one labeled “Company, Organization or Institution,” select “Church/Religious Organization” from the top drop down menu and type the name of your church in the second box. As stated in last week’s post, if you are one of our First Christian Churches, include your city/town in the name so that members can find you easily.
Next, follow the step-by-step directions on your screen filling out as much information as possible. The more information you include the easier it is for potential members to find you.
When setting up your Facebook page or group limit the number of administrators, but make sure you set more than one. This will prevent any one person from having too much control over your page.[/expand]
So how can the church better harness the power of Facebook in our social media plans?
- Post regular content: posting content regularly will boost the activity on your page and increase the likelihood that people will come back to your page again and again. Posting regularly also shows potential members that you are a church alive and on the move.
- Post content frequently: In addition to posting regularly, posting on a weekly to daily basis keeps church members connected with their local and regional church. Posts published on Sunday get 52.9% more interactions than the average Facebook post.
- Post a variety of content: Americans are visual people and will naturally go to images and videos first. By posting a variety of different types of content you can increase your interactions and your reach. Pictures get 179% more interactions than the average Facebook post; videos are the most shared post type, with 89.5 average Facebook shares. Post content that helps people know more about the mission, vision, and character of your congregation.
- Link back to your website: Posts that link to long form content (2000+ words) receive 40% more interactions than linking to short form content. On any social media platform you have about 3 seconds to hook someone so make it count. An easy way to do this is give a brief (>100 word) summary teaser with a link back to your website where a more detailed version of your article or event is located.
- What to post: announcements of activities, with information designed for the public. Not “at George’s pond,” on the assumption that everyone knows which George and where he lives, but “at the Johnson farm pond,” with a location. New Bible studies and classes, with the when, where and what. Ask yourself what a stranger will need to know to take part, and share that. Post mission efforts. Share news from the wider church. Encourage growth in faith. Challenge shallowness. Develop leaders.
- Keep private things private: Don’t post the travel plans of your members or your pastor, don’t post hospitalizations and illnesses on your page. If you want to use Facebook for this type of information, create a closed group instead of a page. Social media is a public forum and once you publish a post it is there for the whole world to see.