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Guest post by Ben Sinclair
If someone doesn’t have a Facebook account these days, it’s kind of a big deal. I can’t remember what I did before Facebook. It’s almost a necessity these days. A lot of people would disagree with that statement but it’s all about how you see it. I keep in contact with friends all around the world.
Whether we like it or not, Facebook has been a powerful networking tool for some time now. The question is, how can churches start to use this power without it getting out of control?
Let’s have a look at some points that will help you unleash the power of Facebook.
1. First, set-up a Facebook page for your church
We’re going to start off with the simple steps. You probably already have a Facebook profile. That’s great! But what you need to do is set-up a Facebook page for your church. A Facebook page is basically a profile for a business or organisation.
On a Facebook page, just like your personal Facebook profile, you can upload a profile picture, add all your church information and post status updates about your church.
Your church members can then “Like” your Facebook page and whenever you post updates, it will show up in their News Feed on their home page. Cool huh?
You can learn more about Facebook pages on the Facebook website: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=904
2. Set-up a Facebook page “Welcome Tab”
Mashable has done this well. When you visit their Facebook page and have not yet clicked the “Like” button, it shows a little graphic encouraging the user to “Like” their page. Check it out: http://www.facebook.com/mashable
This is really simple to set-up but you might need someone a little more technical to do it for you. Here is a quick tutorial that takes you through the steps of setting one up for your page:
3. Automate your page and add more features
You can integrate your blog and other social media feeds straight onto your Facebook page using Applications.
Check out different Applications on the Facebook website: http://www.facebook.com/apps/directory.php
Search for Applications that pull in RSS Feeds, Twitter updates and any other social media program you use. There’s bound to be an Application that suits you.
There are plenty of other Applications you can add like discussion boards, games and videos. Have a look around and give your page more value by adding extra Applications. Don’t overdo it. All in moderation.
4. Add some photos, videos and links
Recently had a Church picnic in the park or any other event? Post some photos. Post some videos. Got new events coming up? Post some links to more information. Simple
5. Post about what’s happening at church
Post status updates on your Facebook page wall about up coming topics, guest speakers and events. Share great inspiring scriptures. Post photos. Share useful articles. Keep it positive!
6. Tell everyone about it
On your Facebook page there is a button that allows you to ‘Suggest to friends’. Invite everyone to “Like” your page.
Recently, Facebook have made it so that only Admins can suggest a page to friends. So it might be a good idea making a few key people Admins and get them suggesting the page to their friends.
Post status updates on your profile about your Facebook page. If you send out regular eNewsletters, promote your Facebook page in there. Encourage people to “Like” your page.
Promote Facebook on your website. There are also great Social Plugins you can use to integrate Facebook into your website:
The key is to start building a crowd.
7. Set-up a Facebook URL
You can set-up a Facebook URL for your page that goes something like http://www.facebook.com/yourchurch.
You are probably wondering why this is so far down the list. Well, the only catch with this is (at present) you need at least 25 people who have “Liked” your page before you can set one of these up. So you better start telling everyone about your page!
More details can be found on the Facebook website:
8. Organize events
Got an event on at church? Create an event on Facebook! Invite everyone from your church to attend.
9. Keep it up-to-date!
Nothing worse than visiting a Facebook page and it hasn’t been updated in 3 months. It will soon die and no one will visit it anymore. If you’re constantly updating, your church members will keep seeing your updates and in turn keep checking out your Facebook profile.
Don’t have time to keep it up-to-date? Automate and delegate. Ask a volunteer to help post events and updates for you. Then you don’t have to worry about it.
10. Have other ministries? Create a Facebook page for those too!
This is something that is a great idea but also something you have to be careful. At my church recently we’ve had people go and create Facebook pages for different ministries in the church. The problem is the creators don’t monitor the pages so anything can be posted without them knowing. I write more about this in the next point.
The best thing to do would be to create all the pages yourself and then give the leaders of those ministries Admin access. That way you can keep an eye on things but they still have the ability to post updates.
If you have a situation like my church had where all ministries are under different peoples Facebook accounts, contact each person individually and get them to add you as an Admin so you can monitor it.
11. Monitor your pages
You can edit your Facebook page settings to stop people from posting on your Facebook page wall. This may or may not be something you’d like to do. However, allowing people to post means they can post whatever they like. Most people are fine but there are always the ones that ruin it for everybody. So make sure you keep an eye on your Facebook page.
Anything that’s not inline with your churches values, morals etc, make sure you delete it quickly. Think of your church as a brand if you don’t already do. Everything your Facebook page says and shows reflects who you are as a church.
The key is to control EVERYTHING. This is not coming from a controlling mentality. It’s simply so that you can remove anything that you don’t feel is appropriate.
So as you can see there is plenty you can do when it comes to Facebook and your church. Now all you have to do is get on there and get started!
Have you got any other awesome ideas to help make the Facebook page for your church rock? Image courtesy: Church Marketing Sucks
About The Author
Ben Sinclair is the founder of online worship planning and rostering software Elvanto.com. He was only 14 years old when he started a web design company with his Dad, and after selling the business at the end of 2010, Ben is now using his years of experience to create software for the worldwide church that is designed to enable these organizations to run more efficiently.