Facebook outreach can be a tricky business for churches who are new to social media. In addition to learning how to use a new communication tool, you’re also trying to avoid pitfalls you probably don’t even know exist. Until it’s too late. Fortunately, there is plenty of help to be found if you look in the right place — like this article, for example. To help you jumpstart your social media outreach and prevent problems before they happen, we’ve compiled five of the biggest church Facebook fails to avoid and tips for ensuring your church page looks professional, friendly and fun for every new visitor.
Church Facebook Fail #1: Setting Up Your Page as a Facebook Group
When you first create your Facebook page, it’s important to set it up so that it’s a business or organization page. This makes sure that your page is open and accessible to anyone who wants to check it out and join (just like your church). Setting your church up as a private Facebook group makes it so your page is “invite-only.” Not only does that add an extra barrier to following you that most people simply won’t bother with, it gives your church an air of exclusivity, which is not exactly a great way to share the gospel or get people to your church. Remember, first impressions matter.
Church Facebook Fail #2: Your Cover Photo Game is Kinda Lame
When someone clicks on your Facebook page for the first time, there is a whole bunch of real estate dedicated to your cover photo at the top of the page. If your cover photo is blurry, stretched out, shrunken, boring or ugly, your visitor is probably not going to be all that impressed. Make sure your photo is clear, interesting and properly sized (820 x 340) so you always make a great first impression (there’s that phrase again). Bonus points for photos that convey your church’s mission, an upcoming event or showcase something truly unique. Check out the examples below for churches who are definitely on point for cover photo success.
Church Facebook Fail #3: You Rarely Ever Post Anything
If you only post once a month or less, guess what? Facebook then shows your posts less and less to your fans. That means that even on the rare occasion that you remember to share a photo or post a status update, Facebook probably won’t make it show up in the News Feeds of your fans. Why? Facebook is a business and its goal is to share fresh, relevant content that its subscribers are most likely to engage with. They have an algorithm that tracks how consistently pages post and gives preference to those who are frequent—and interesting. So, your content can’t be too generic, either. That means your barely used page could have hundreds of likes and still have very few people who ever see your content. So, be fruitful and fascinating. Post daily and do so with cool stuff people want to read (see #5 for ideas). It will pay off.
Church Facebook Fail #4: Thinking Your Videos Need to be Oscar-worthy
Facebook favors video posts the most and shows them in News Feeds before most other types of content. If you’re not posting videos because you’re waiting for cinematic perfection, then you’re missing out! Share candid videos straight from your smartphone – a message from the pastor of the week, introduce a new staff member or just something quick and quirky. Share your sermons online or share highlights from special events. Show off the culture of your church to your Facebook fans and keep your page engaging and fun.
Church Facebook Fail #5: Using Your Facebook Page as an Event Megaphone — And That’s All
Facebook, like your church, is about building relationships with others. So, behave on your page the way that you do in your church. Be friendly, welcoming and supportive. Offer helpful advice. Share humor and love and friendship. Be a place people want to be, just in a virtual space. How? Create posts that can be spread across Facebook, such as photos with meaningful messages and scriptures that help people when they are struggling or cheer them on when they succeed. Photos, like videos, are popular and keep your page in your fans’ News Feeds. They’re also super shareable and can spread your message fast! Below, you’ll find several examples of memes that are share-worthy, engaging and powerful. Need help finding these type of images or don’t have the time to post them all – we have a great tool here.
Final Thoughts on Church Facebook Outreach
If you’ve read through this article and seen a few of your own church Facebook fails, don’t worry! It’s easy for you to update your page and begin working your social media like a pro. Remember, make your page easily accessible, professional-looking and welcoming. Fill it with interesting content such as fun videos and inspiring photos. And, above all, be consistent and post often. By avoiding the pitfalls and following these tips, your church will begin to see a positive impact from your social media presence.
Marisa Williams is the Social Reach Product Manager at Outreach, Inc. She has made all of these mistakes and more on social media and she is passionate about using this medium to help churches reach their communities. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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