Facebook is rolling out another change to it’s look and feel. It’s disappointing they didn’t ask me first, however it reminds me once again why Facebook is NOT the place to put your Church website or any Christian organisation’s website. You see the thing is you have no control. You spend a while building up your followers and getting them used to things and then wham, Facebook changes everything and you need to start again. For some of you this might not have happened yet since Facebook decides when and if you will get the new look and feel you have no control.
This blog post is about the need to retain control of your information and the look and feel you present to your visitors and church members. There is a whole industry about something called brand marketing. This industry watches out for the bigger companies. They look at how they are presented to the world. The headed notepaper, the logos, the business cards and of course the website. They constantly try to ensure a consistent look for all of them so that consumers (you and me) don’t get confused. They want us to be able to tell the branded product from the supermarkets own brand and perceive there to be a difference. It’s really important to make sure that they know what message they are putting across.
Now you might be thinking what’s brand marketing got to do with a Church or indeed any Christian organisation. Well I think a lot! It matters that your visitors and members feel like they belong. They need to know that what’s being said is being said on behalf of their Church and not the bigger Church organisation. This belief comes from your brand. So when they return to your Facebook page and everything has changed in look and feel then their reaction is going to be one of a lack of trust. They’ll wonder if they are on the right page. They’ll wonder if the ownership has changed and they’ll take a while to settle into the new site. This isn’t great. Rather it’s a bit of a disaster. You’ll lose people along the way and you’ll be wondering what on earth is going on.
The other less obvious part of Facebook changing things without asking first is the lack of trust you build up. Suddenly a company you’ve trusted to showcase your church has gone behind your back. You’ll start to wonder if your posts are safe with them and you security and safety. If you put something in a restricted area will it really be safe or will they change all the privacy settings again.
All of this to me says that the only way you can build trust as an organisation is through the use of a website that you control. Not something like Facebook or Weebly or any number of other sites where you use their software and are forced to use their way of doing things. Instead you need to get a church (or Christian) website that you fully control. Somewhere that you’re in control of your data, the look and feel and the private areas – you get to decide if the search engines get access.
I guess for some people this seems a “dry” topic but really it goes to the heart of controlling how your organisation is perceived by others and importantly staying in control of that perception. In today’s world Christians are constantly being attacked and so it’s really important to make sure that any message or content you release is properly under your control and management.