This is the second part of our series on Social Media for Churches. If you haven’t already, go back and check out Part 1: How Can Social Media Support Your Church?
Are you ready to take your church’s Facebook use to the next level? In our Social Media for Churches series kickoff last week, we covered why your church needs to embrace social media. As the series continues, we will look more in-depth at best practices your church should employ to have success with each network.
Facebook is the uncontested king of the social networks. It hit 2 billion (with a b!) monthly active users in mid-2017, and it continues to grow! If you’re going to leverage social media at all, you must start with the largest player in the space. Let’s look at social media for churches best practices using Facebook.
1. Complete Your Page
Peruse the Facebook pages of ministries near you, and you’re likely to find some unimpressive entries. Some ministries create a page but leave it bare and rarely if ever interact with it. Flesh out your church’s page with contact information and strategic, searchable keywords in the “about” section. Also crucial: add a properly sized profile photo (160×160 pixels) and cover photo (851×315 pixels). Both should be visually appealing and communicate your “brand.”
Try using your logo for the profile picture. For the cover photo, a high-quality photo of your sanctuary, building, or campus can be effective. One expert suggests rotating your cover photo to correspond to your sermon series. If you have the ability to create video content, cover videos are pretty cool, too.
2. Post Often
Having a complete Facebook page is a start—simply having one is like a social media billboard. But to reach into users’ Facebook feeds, your church’s page needs to post, and post often.
3. Post the Right Content
It’s important to understand that Facebook won’t necessarily show every post from your page in every follower’s newsfeed. The way Facebook chooses which items to show to which people can be hard to figure out, but certain trends are clear, at least for now. First: avoid long, text-only posts. Shorter posts are better; they’re more shareable, and Facebook seems to like this. Posts with a photo or video are also more likely to get seen.
Second: understand that Facebook wants to keep you on its site as much as possible. To that end, posting the sermon as a Facebook video or embedded YouTube video is likely to get more exposure than a link taking visitors away to your website’s sermon video archive.
4. Be Responsive
Someone on your church staff needs to monitor your Facebook page. Visitors or members may respond to your posts with questions or comments. Interact with them! Like their comments and answer their questions.
Remember, of course, that this is the internet. Someone will eventually post something troll-y or inappropriate on your page. You want someone minding the store to keep these behaviors in check.
5. Use Groups Well for Internal Communication
This is crucial: your Facebook page is public, like a storefront or a billboard. Please, please don’t post private funeral information or surgery updates there. If you need a social media avenue for private, internal communications, use Facebook Groups (set to Closed or Secret) instead, and use them as a complement to your main Facebook page.
Follow these six Facebook best practices as you begin strengthening your church’s social media strategy, and stay tuned for more on best practices for other popular networks as our Social Media for Churches series continues.