Facebook is beyond popular. Over 1 billion people are registered to use the social media giant as of September 2012. With that many people on Facebook, it’s a perfect place to have your church be active, alive and interacting with users. Facebook is super easy to use and easy to get started.
Maybe you already have a Facebook fan page for your church and it needs to be dusted off, or maybe it’s a new idea and you don’t know where to start. Either way, we can help your church get started on Facebook.
How to Create a Page
First off, you need to create a page for your church. So log in to your Facebook account. (Don’t have an account? Time to join 1 billion others.)
Visit facebook.com/pages to create your church’s page. Choose to create a page for a Company, Organization or Institution. This is best for most churches. Then select Church/Religious Organization. Now simply follow the next few steps to fill in the details about your church.
Make sure you set your Facebook web address. This will make it easier for people to find your church on Facebook. Pick something short and simple, but clear. Facebook won’t let you change this URL, so be sure it’s the best choice. (While the form says you can’t change it, Facebook’s Help Center says they’ll let you change it once. Either way, be sure.)
Already on Facebook but have that ugly string of numbers for your URL? Here’s a fix for that: facbook.com/username. You can set a custom username for any person or organization you administer.
There are a few key things you need to work on with Facebook:
- Set a good profile image. Use your logo, but make sure it’s readable at different sizes. The profile image is square, so plan accordingly.
- Keep your cover photo (the big banner up top) up to date. Using current sermon series/event artwork is great. The Facebook cover photo is 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall, and your profile photo sits in the lower left, covering a small portion, so be conscious of that. Download this zipped Photoshop PSD file to create your cover photo and see it in context.
How to Connect Your Site to Your New Page
Facebook has a few great tools for you to add “like” buttons and share buttons to your website. These are little bits of code, but it’s pretty much a copy and paste deal, so if you are slightly web savvy, you should be OK. But don’t hesitate to ask a pro to do this for you.
You can check out the full set of social plugins, but the Like Button is one you really want to use. It allows users to like your Facebook page from your website and gives them the option to share with their friends. There’s a form to fill out that will generate your code. Leave the ‘URL to like’ field blank if you’re adding this code to every page on your site. Tinker with the options to see what fits your site best.
What to Post
Post anything that’s important! Upcoming events, sermon podcasts, news items, even daily or weekly Bible verses. This is no different than a Sunday bulletin, weekly email or an encouraging phone call. One good approach is to ask questions. Most likely the “fans” of your new Facebook page go to your church. Shepherd them, but also remember they can re-share your posts with their friends. So speak to them in a way that is uplifting and inviting, not like they are already part of the club.
Have a Strategy
Create a communication plan. Know what is worth posting and when to post it. Some audiences are more active after business hours than others. Also think about your content: If you’re asking people to sign up for an event, that might not be something they’re able to do during the work day.
Facebook pages allow for multiple administrators, so get some. This is good for accountability, but also good practice. You can spread out the responsibility and not force one person to do all the work. Plus, if someone on the admin team quits, gets fired or is asked to no longer volunteer, you need to remove them from the admin roles ASAP.
A current admin can add new admins from the Admin Panel, assigning different levels of control and access.
You can do a lot with Facebook and it’s constantly evolving, so keep experimenting. Hopefully these tips will get your church started. Once you’re up and running, check out ways to get better at Facebook and learn how to get lots of likes.
We’re thrilled to partner with Creative Missions (our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication, handles the Creative Missions finances). Learn more about Creative Missions and this year’s trip to Alaska and consider a financial donation to help church communicators help other churches communicate better.
For more helpful tips like this, check out Dangerous: A Go-to Guide for Church Communication. It’s a booklet of articles by Creative Missions alumni offering a crash course in church marketing basics.