In Blog, Communication

It’s exciting to see churches utilizing tools like Facebook brand pages (formerly known as “Like” pages or “Fan” pages) and other social media tools to engage both their fellowship and those just investigating “the whole church thing.” I happen across Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of our church friends and partners, and it’s very satisfying to see the relationship-building that goes on through these avenues. Social media allows you to connect with your audience without even the cost of a postage stamp, which makes it the most economical way to increase your reach and spread your message… but you probably already know that.

This blog entry is named for the wonderful presentation I watched from Hootsuite University, with presenter Jason Li, Lead Strategist with Global Creative Solutions at Facebook. Can you think of a better expert on the topic? Mr. Li gave some great practical information for businesses, and I thought I would share what I learned in a condensed version, adapted for the local church. I highly recommend that you watch the full, half-hour presentation before it is removed.

First and foremost, I have noticed that some churches are represented as a personal page instead of a “Brand” page. Be sure that you set up a Brand – “Church/Religious Organization” is a selection under “Company, Organization, or Institution” as you begin to create a page. A personal page set up for a business could cause TOS problems with Facebook and you will miss out on some of the tools available to Brand pages.

My best take-away is represented in this graphic:

As you create content to post to your Facebook page (or any social media, for that matter), use this graphic to guide you. What characteristics of your church do folks seem to connect with the most? Some ideas: preaching style, music, involvement in the community, use of technology (we love that one). Make a top 2 or 3 list. Now, let’s say “community involvement” is the #1 reason folks get excited about your ministry. You happen to have some great photos from a recent community service project. Let’s create this content in a way that hits that “quality engagement” sweet spot. A post that shows your church people working and having fun serving the community is a great fit for that 4th reason people share. People in the photos will share because they were involved, but even others might share because it shows that they want to be involved in something like this. Use a slideshow tool like Animoto to make the photos really come alive in a fresh and fun way and post away!

Back to that subject of setting up a true “Brand” page for your church and the beneficial tools that will be available to you. There is more information in the webcast, but analytics and the ability to boost your posts to reach a larger audience than the typical 16%-17% of your fans are only available to Brand pages. You actually need more than 400 Likes to be able to boost a post, which is a valuable marketing tool. Traditionally, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and late evening are great times to post and reach the widest audience, but watching your analytics will help you see what really works for you and your particular audience.

Share your ideas on other content posts that hit that sweet spot!