7 Practical Tips for Churches Using Facebook
Table of Contents
- What Are Churches Using Facebook Missing?
- 7 Church Facebook Tips to Improve Your Results
- Final Thoughts
If you’ve read about the biblical principles of marketing, you understand why it’s so important to promote your church. But you may still be unsure about how to use social media to your advantage. Make no mistake—learning how to be one of the churches using Facebook successfully will allow you to grow and nurture your church community.
Traditionally, churches needed to launch a text or call blast to every member of their congregation for updates and announcements involving church activities. These days, Facebook is the way to go. It’s free and offers excellent growth potential for your church if you do it right.
What Are Churches Using Facebook Missing?
According to a NY Times article, religion and Big Tech are now converging. Using Facebook to grow your church is no longer just a recommendation—it’s a must. This is especially true with the recent pandemic and the need to foster a virtual presence.
However, creating a Facebook page is not the end goal for churches using Facebook. It’s about using this platform to its fullest potential to grow your church and reach out to the community.
Here’s where you may be getting it wrong…
Failing to Build Connections
One thing that makes Facebook effective as a platform, not only for churches but also for businesses, is the ability to foster connections. That’s why faith groups such as churches are a natural fit for this platform.
According to a Lifeway Research survey, 84% of churches on Facebook use it as one of their main communication tools. But that doesn’t mean they’re all doing it right. Unfortunately, many church leaders and staff members fail to develop real, lasting connections through this channel.
Your Facebook page must be a place where the members of your congregation—and those who you might target to join your church—can go when they feel discouraged, depressed, or isolated. It should be a true place of community, just like your physical building.
Use this space to share stories, inspire people, and give others a sense of belonging. You should view it as a virtual community for your church. If you’re not doing that, you are missing out on all the great benefits that churches using Facebook can enjoy.
Creating a Divide Among the Community
A church does more than just allow people to worship and mature in their faith. It is also supposed to serve as a bridge that links people together. Unfortunately, social media sites can have the opposite effect when respectful communication isn’t encouraged. Facebook, for example, is no stranger to people discussing clashing viewpoints about sensitive topics and spewing hate toward one another.
Your presence on Facebook should reflect what your church stands for. Think about this whenever you ponder what content to post on your page and allow in your group.
Here are some examples of content to avoid:
- Bullying and hate speech
- Criticism of other churches or faith groups
- Spam and irrelevant links
Outlining a church social media policy is one of the best ways to overcome this issue and create a safe, welcoming space for members.
Not Expanding Your Reach
Creating a Facebook page isn’t enough. You need to maximize its tool kit to expand your reach.
This is one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of churches using Facebook make. They think that once the page is set up, people will find them organically and follow their page.
However, that is far from the truth; you must actively invite people to follow your page. And once they’ve done so, don’t expect them to come back to visit your Facebook page on their own. Direct them there as a source of information, and consider creating a separate group as a church online community for your congregation.
7 Church Facebook Tips to Improve Your Results
Once you understand where your efforts may be falling short, you can start improving the way you use Facebook for your church’s and your members’ benefit. And the good news is you don’t have to figure it out on your own. It’s possible to grow your congregation if you apply the following tips that successful churches using Facebook rely on.
1) Aim for Engagement on Your Facebook Page
It’s not enough to get more followers on your page. Engage with current members and those who have demonstrated an interest in your church. Respond to their comments. Ask them questions.
Think of it as the social space in your workplace. Facebook is where people go during their free time to update people on what they’ve been up to and to get updates on others. So, be socially present.
However, the most important tip of all is this: Be human.
Use this platform to give people a glimpse into the work your church is doing. Your goal is to move and inspire them to share in your efforts. That’s how you build connections with people.
2) Share a Wide Range of Posts
Diversify your content to boost engagement. Churches using Facebook can gain more success with this approach, especially if they post helpful and encouraging content.
Here are some content ideas to add to your toolbox:
- Snippets from a recent sermon/worship service
- Passages from the Bible
- Inspiring stories from church members
- Volunteer/staff member spotlight
- Behind-the-scenes look at your daily operations
- Call for prayer requests
If possible, include photos or videos with your posts. Research has shown that Facebook posts with photos have higher engagement rates than those that don’t.
3) Stream Events
Live streaming is one of the most recent tools added to Facebook’s features, and there are so many ways you can use your church live stream to expand your reach.
One content idea is to post about events within your church. In fact, marketing experts agree that now is the best time to leverage Facebook Lives for your church.
With many churches using Facebook to live stream their worship services, you can also do the same for your events and gatherings.
Aside from live streaming worship services and events, posting about the activities within your church is a great way to update donors and members of the congregation about what you’re doing for the community. Other people on Facebook might be inspired by what you’ve done and want to join you in your efforts.
4) Set Up Your Profile Properly
A Facebook page in itself won’t do much to help your church’s campaign for growth. You need to optimize your profile!
Choose a compelling profile picture and cover image. These are the first two things (aside from your page name) that Facebook users will notice about your page. So, make it count!
It is also recommended that you use a vanity URL (aka a personalized URL) for your Facebook page. It will be easier for people to find your page on Facebook.
5) Reduce Automation & Focus on Interaction
While most experts suggest automating certain tasks, churches using Facebook should take care not to lose the human element. Promoting your church should be about making personal connections and building relationships. This isn’t something you can accomplish when you automate everything.
It’s also best to interject creativity into your posts. Aside from diversifying your content, focus on content that your audience would be interested in. For example, ask questions, create polls, and share relevant news that matters to them.
If you do get responses to your posts, make sure to respond to those comments. Reward that engagement by conversing with them.
6) Retarget People from Your Website
One of the best ways to engage people on Facebook is to deliver content that they want. And this becomes much easier when you know what, specifically, about your church interests them the most. That’s why you should implement tracking on your website so that you can retarget people with relevant information and offerings.
By installing the Facebook pixel on your church’s website, you can gain insight into your visitors’ browsing behavior, including which pages they’ve viewed. This two-part code tracks all website traffic, along with the specific actions visitors take. Using that information, you can customize the content you post and the ads you run based upon the pages individuals have visited most. For example, you can retarget those who have viewed your outreach page with opportunities to get involved.
Note: Due to Apple’s iOS privacy update earlier this year, those using iOS 14 are required to opt in before their behaviors can be tracked across websites, apps, and other platforms. This means you may not be able to retarget quite as many people.
7) Promote Your Facebook Page Everywhere
Finally, churches using Facebook should consider making use of the paid side. You can allocate a small amount of your marketing budget toward running Facebook ads for your church. This is a great tactic to promote your page or any specific event for your church.
Even with a small budget, you can optimize your reach by setting the appropriate parameters for the ad campaign. For example, you can target the audience based on their location, age, gender, and so on.
Whether your congregation has 200 or 1,000 people, you can unlock the potential for growth if you know how to make the most of Facebook. Churches using Facebook to build a virtual community and develop strong connections with members are the ones who succeed with social media.
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