There’s a myth among church planters and leaders that we will gather new disciples sitting behind a desk and creating content for the church website and posting on social media. I’m pretty sure you weren’t expecting that as a first sentence on a post about using a church Facebook page well. It’s true though!
Don’t spend all your time sitting at a desk creating content – get out there making friends and sharing the vision.
Social media is a useful tool for churches, but a terrible master
Here are some facts about social media…
- New front door
- 2016 Video dominating
- 98% of 16-64 use it monthly
- Facebook 84% of people
- Youtube 87% use it
You may disagree with me, but this is what the three biggest social medias are about
Facebook – is about creating community – Everyone is one it – young and old
Twitter – is a fantastic customer service tool. Church leaders are on it, sharing stuff with other church leaders!
Instagram – is mainly used for brand awareness, younger people love it, older people don’t get it.
This post is about maximising the benefits of Facebook for your church.
We have had a lot of people join the church, or try us out because of the flavour they found on FB and wanted in. My wife and I are keen runners, often doing our local Parkrun (a 5km timed run with about 300 people in the local park) We are asked questions about our church gatherings on a weekly basis by other runners. People are basically nosey and love to look at other people’s photos.
Privacy is often a huge concern– I treat everything I put online as completely public. If I don’t want people to see it, I don’t post it.
Whenever we do something, we take photos (with permission) and create albums of photos and tag everyone! That way friend of friends get to see what is going on.
Facebook requires you to have your own personal account and then if you want you can create a Church page, with a very simple process.
Facebook pages gets “insights” so you can see what works and what doesn’t – the number of likes, comments, shares and even how long of the video the average person watched.
The issue with Facebook is that people may like your page, but then they like hundreds of pages, so FB only shows your page to some people of the people who have liked it in their timeline (often only 2%!) If you interact with a page, you see more of it. Facebook makes money from advertising and they would love you to boost your posts, so they get shown to more followers and new people. The problem with Facebook is their advertising is ruthlessly targeted – if you are on it a lot, they know exactly your likes and dislikes so they can serve you the right adverts. That makes advertising your church on Facebook, totally pointless, unless you like stealing sheep. Your Church advert would only be shown to people already posting and sharing about church. Google advertising is much better as you can specify keywords that people search for and so you can target people interested who aren’t already in a church!
I tried an experiment to see what works on Facebook and what doesn’t. The first thing I learned was that Facebook wants to keep people on Facebook, so they can click adverts. So any post that will take them away from Facebook gets shown less.
I tried 6 different types of posts on Facebook to see what got the most views and interactions. I made a post and checked the insights a week later (except for the 30sec video)
1. Text only
2. Text only link off-site
3. Image keep on-site
4. Image link off-site
Short Text Only
Here’s a short text only post. Would have been better with a picture of the painting with a sheet over it!
Longer Text post
This slightly longer, engaging post instantly got more views and interactions…
Image and link off Facebook
This post had a link to take people away from Facebook and so the views went down fast!
Image and stay on Facebook
This post with an image kept people on Facebook, so was seen by more people and interacted with more.
Youtube video links are embedded within Facebook timeline, so are shown to more people
30sec video uploaded to facebook
Short snappy videos are the coming thing on Facebook. I shot this one with an iPhone to plug an event. Within an hour the number of views was the same as other posts after a week!
Most people view videos with the sound off (huh?!), so that’s why most videos on Facebook have subtitles – which they will help you add!
Now the absolute hands down winner…
A tagged album and the views go through the roof, as do the interactions and the reputation of the church.
The bottom line is do posts that keep people on Facebook and albums of photos with lots of tagging perform well. Keep the diet varied and fairly frequent and you will grow your audience on Facebook and draw in some men and women of peace.