Church Marketing – Facebook and Your Church – Is That a Good Thing?
If you are like most people that are on this Earth and have a limited amount of computer ability, you probably have a Facebook profile.
Facebook (FB) provides a great way to keep up with current friends, reconnect with old ones and create new friends all at the touch of a mouse. The setup is minimal and you are literally out there in the social media mix within minutes.
Churches have a few more hoops to jump through to create a profile, but nothing that is onerous.
Your Church’s FB Page
There is a saying on the internet; you don’t go where the traffic is. You get out in front of it. As a result of Facebook’s popularity, having your church on FB is a great way of getting you out in front of the traffic.
Your FB page is different than your church website, although it is not a bad alternative. It is a great way to have your church actively participate in social networking.
What are the Benefits to your Church?
FB is going to make your marketing efforts more effective. As such, whether folks are a full/part time staffers, a volunteer or run a ministry, they will have greater involvement than they currently do. But you know what? They are going to have a lot of fun with it as well!
Because so many people have their own Facebook pages, their non-Christian friends are going to see that they are attached to your church. The result being they are going to get an insight and perhaps an excitement about your church!
In this day of email overload, emails have a tendency to be overlooked. Phone calls are not even an option. FB makes it easy for selected people to make up to the minute updates about your event or what is going on in your church. Truly a single source of information.
That sounds great, but I want my church to be good at this!
FB is just like any application. The more you use it the easier it becomes. But if you want to get the most out of your FB experience, here are some things to consider:
Think of Facebook like Twitter or voting in Chicago.
Do it early and often! (Just kidding on the voting issue.) Interest and therefore page views of returning visitors will increase proportionately to the number of updates you provide.
After all, if the site is only updated once a week (or worse yet…once a month), then you haven’t really given anyone a reason to return. (Keep that in mind with the updating of your Sunday Services as well…people like fresh!)
By having church members post on your page, it provides fresh content (the thing that keeps people coming back and hopefully interested enough to come on Sunday) and also make it more personal. As I am want to say, it starts (and in this case) maintains the relationship.
And that is what folks want these days. That is why Web 2.0 is so huge! Your willingness to become personal makes both you and your church more human especially to those who are reluctant to become a church goer. Basically, it changes how folks view church in general and your church in particular.
Does that mean you have to update regularly with events or photos?
The posting of pictures and videos provides a great insight into your church and really adds a tremendous benefit for members and visitors by letting folks know what is going on. But are they mandatory? I don’t think so.
You can do something as simple as putting a motivational/inspiration quote, a picture or a video on your wall (don’t worry about that particular term, it will make sense soon enough). It can really be anything that is reflective of either what is going on at your church (either past events or upcoming)
Even if the minister or someone who heads a church ministry talks about something they are doing at the church, it creates excitement. Michael Beckwith with his Agape Church does an awesome job of this. Check out his FB page to see what I mean.
What about maintenance? Do you have to be a geek?
All applications have become extremely user friendly over the last few years. You really don’t have anything to worry about, because if you can move a mouse, you can update FB. And the best part is that it can be done by anyone in your congregation!
Whether you are posting an event, what is happening at your church, what has happened, or wanting to keep up with friends, Facebook’s Wall give you the capability to do it all in one place. It gives any visitor the ability to see what has gone on and what is the most current content. Posting updates regularly is integral to getting the word out.
That may be true, but I want to post pictures and videos! Is that going to be hard?
If you know where to find the file on your computer or thumb drive, you can post either of these with ease.
Will they get our church greater exposure?
Absolutely! How much is going to depend on what you put into it. But it is total upside.
Twitter is great for pushing people to your site. So if you have a Twitter account and want to post a picture or video, FB is a great place to do so. Then tweet away and have people come to your FB page to check it out.
And there are other cool features with the apps that can set your church apart and give it the attention it deserves.
The only downside to your church having a Facebook page is the act of not keeping it up. If you do, then you are going to benefit in ways you never could imagine.