Your church Facebook page is a huge opportunity for opening your doors to your community, says Jeremy Steele. He shares six strategies to increase your church’s reach on Facebook.
Your church’s Facebook page is like the sign in front of your church. Though most churches take good care to make sure their sign by the road is well kept and updated with current information and that it puts forward the message they want to display, the Facebook page often gets less attention.
With many people accessing Facebook multiple times a day, your page offers a huge opportunity for opening your doors to your community. That won’t happen if you don’t have anyone seeing the posts you place there. To be certain people do see them, you need to increase your page likes and subscriptions. These tips will help you start increasing your reach into your community on Facebook.
Facebook rewards pages that engage with their audience. The more you engage, the more Facebook will reward that engagement by placing your post in other feeds.
1. Use excellent profile pictures and cover images
First impressions will be based on your profile picture and cover image. Do the images seen at the top of your page convey the message your church wants to communicate? For example, rather than a photo of your impersonal church building, post pictures of actual members doing ministry or of one of your more exciting children’s activities. Learn to take inviting photos of your church that will showcase your congregation’s warmth and love.
2. Use a vanity URL for your Facebook page
Did you know that you can create a simple URL (facebook.com/YourPageName) that allows people to navigate directly to it? Learn how to claim your Facebook page Vanity URL now and add it to your church contact information everywhere you publish it.
3. Take a moment in the announcements
Sixty-eight percent of adults in the United States have smartphones. Take a minute during the announcement time in your next service to ask people to navigate to your church Facebook page and press the “like” button. Don’t make this a one-time promotion. Include a sentence weekly in the bulletin or in your announcements that says: “Don’t forget to ‘like’ our page on Facebook at [Vanity URL from step 2] to stay up to date on everything that is happening.”
4. Read and respond to comments
Facebook rewards pages that engage with their audience. Once again, this means that your Facebook page can’t be “set it and forget it.” Every time you comment on a post or reply to a comment someone else has made, it gives Facebook another opportunity to show your content. The more you engage, the more Facebook will reward that engagement by placing your post in other feeds.
5. Steer clear from too much automation
Automating social media with tools like “If This Then That” can be incredibly helpful, but there can be too much of this good thing. When all of your posts are generic links pushed from external sites, they are less likely to grab the attention of the people who like your page. If this content is not engaging, as measured by comments, likes, shares, and time on screen, then Facebook will be less likely to put your posts in the feeds of the people who like your page.
A good mix of automated posts and unique content is the remedy. To achieve that, create a volunteer social media dream team. Make these volunteers administrators of your page and encourage them to post excellent pictures, stories and short videos from your worship services and special events. Be sure to train your team on how to handle privacy and permissions and be sure you know the six questions every church social media policy should answer.
If you want to pre-schedule posts, you can do that right on your Facebook site and Facebook Pages app. Click the drop-down arrow next to the “Publish” button and you’ll see the following options:
- Schedule — Select a date and time in the future for when you want your post to publish.
- Backdate — Backdate your post so it appears in the past on your Page Timeline. Backdated posts publish immediately.
- Save Draft — Save drafts and find them later in the “Publishing Tools” tab/section.
Have your social media team study and learn what types of Facebook posts receive the most engagement. The top-performing content types in order are: photos, videos, status updates, and links.
6. Use the Facebook Page Plugin to embed content on your website.
Many people in your community and church will find the church’s website before they see your Facebook page. Use Facebook’s Page Plugin to have all the great content you are posting on Facebook show up on the front page of your website. And since your Facebook page is featured there, it will raise the visibility of your page with everyone who sees your site. This will be even more effective when you have great web hosting, have your site optimized for search engines, and are keeping your website fresh.
Your Facebook page is a significant opportunity to open the digital front doors of your church. With a little thought and a bit of extra work, it can help you be a community of open hearts, open minds and open doors.
This article was originally published by United Methodist Communications. Used by permission. MyCom provides church leaders with share-worthy tips and videos on communications, social media and new technology. Subscribe at umcom.org/MycomSubscribe.
- The Theology of Social Media by Thomas G. James
- Using Facebook Appropriately as a Ministry Tool by Thomas G. James
- 6 Questions Every Church Social Media Policy Should Answer by Jeremy Steele