Facebook for Churches

Facebook LogoSocial Media often carries a stigma amongst church circles and undoubtedly, if used incorrectly, it can have a negative impact. This scepticism can often be linked to factors such as fear of a new technology and, probably most significantly, a lack of understanding. Often people fail to look past the downfalls and see how social media can become a powerful Evangelistic tool when used well. When we face the facts, here in the UK the average person spends over an hour each day on social media. Furthermore, according to the Telegraph, 80% of internet users aged between 35 and 44 are now on social media, so we can remove any misconceptions that social media is purely for teenagers.

Amidst the pictures of funny animals and ridiculous videos that fill our Facebook walls, wouldn’t it be great to share something meaningful to cut through the noise? In this article, we will explore what Facebook can be used for and how to use it effectively for your church.

Should my church use a Facebook page or a group?

There is sometimes a little bit of confusion over which option is best for your church, but ultimately it depends on what functionality you want your page to have and how public you want it to be. To try and clarify, we will explain the difference between pages and groups and explain the various features.

What is a Facebook Page?

A Facebook page is very similar to a personal profile page, but naturally is designed for an organisation or business. It is designed to be a broadcasting platform and is great for sharing what is going on, advertising and raising awareness. Your facebook page is also a great opportunity to promote your Church Website. Adding links to the Church Website from your Facebook page will help increase traffic and give people access to the more detailed Church Information found on your website. 

Example of the Facebook statistics that are available

Facebook pages are public, can be found through searches and can be joined by anyone by simply ‘liking’ the page. Facebook also allows you to monitor a wealth of statistics with Facebook pages, from the number of new likes each week to the total number of people you’ve reached and much more. This is a great way to check how effective your Facebook usage is and make changes if necessary. This functionality isn’t available within Facebook Groups. Furthermore, with a facebook page, anyone who has liked the page is able to invite others to like it. This is a great way of encouraging your church to reach out to as many people as possible and raise awareness of the church.

What is a Facebook Group?

Facebook groups are designed to facilitate discussion amongst a group of people and allows you to keep closer control over the people who can view information. Facebook groups can still be public, but are more commonly used as closed or secret groups that require the person to apply or be invited into the group. Facebook Groups are great for small groups or teams in the church that provide a platform for people to discuss matters, share ideas and encourage one another in a secure place.

Which option should my church use?

Ultimately, we think that your church should make use of both pages and groups, using each for different purposes.  Having a main Facebook page gives your church a face, and allows anyone to search for your page, like it and then instantly be plugged into the life of the church. This page can be used to advertise events, share images/videos and include any thoughts and quotes. Alongside this, you may wish to set up closed groups for the various life groups and service teams in the church. These groups are a great platform on which to communicate and share ideas as well as manage group members whilst maintaining a good level of control. Facebook groups are also great for prayer groups. This use would enable anyone to post requests and facilitate instant response and interaction.

How to use Facebook effectively

Here are a few thoughts on how you can use Facebook effectively to reach out.

  • Use good quality media - a Facebook page that is full of text is never going to inspire any engagement. Include quality images of church events and videos that capture the life of the church
  • Ensure that you post frequently (but not too frequently) - Ideally, try to post at least once or twice a day on Facebook. Posts have a ‘shelf-life’ so be careful not to post in quick succession, as this will simply move your previous post further down the list, out of the way.
  • Post at a time when social media is the most active - Statistics show that the highest traffic on social media occurs during the week between 1-3pm. Furthermore, engagement rises by almost 20% on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Set up Events on your page or in your groups - This allows you to invite people to events at your church. You can create public events on your page which anyone can see and share or, alternatively, you can create events for your group/s which will only be visible to members of the group.
  • There are tools on hand to help with scheduling Facebook posts, so don’t feel like you need to manually update every post at an appropriate time. Facebook has a built in scheduling system, or you could use a system like ‘HootSuite’ to schedule your Facebook posts? The real beauty in this is that you can schedule an entire week’s posts in just a matter of minutes.
  • Allow people to post to your Facebook wall as this will encourage engagement. More importantly, ensure that any questions or queries are followed up promptly. Naturally you will want to monitor this, so ensure that there are people on hand to keep an eye on things. 
  • Monitor statistics and ensure that you are reaching people on a regular basis. Facebook will send you automated e-mails every week with an update on your page, so pay attention, don’t hit delete.
  • Use it as a platform to share the good news. Church Facebook pages are a great way to capture the life of the church and put a face to the people, but let’s not miss the opportunity to reach out. Without being long winded, your page is a great platform to share a simple thought for the day. This may seem really insignificant, but it may be the first time that someone will have heard of the goodness of God and even if it only reaches one person, it makes it all worthwhile.

Resources

How to create a Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/help/174987089221178

How to create a Facebook Group:
https://en-gb.facebook.com/help/167970719931213

Example pages for some inspiration:
https://www.facebook.com/NewLifeChurchDerby/?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/coventrycathedral/?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/CroftonBaptistChurch/?fref=ts 
https://www.facebook.com/GloucesterCathedral/?fref=ts

If you have any Facebook specific questions, don't forget about the Facebook Help Centre:
https://www.facebook.com/help/

Screenshot of the Facebook help centre

If you have any specific questions on how to integrate Facebook with your Church Edit website, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Don't forget to like the Church Edit Facebook page for regular tips on using technology for churches.