A lot of churches that I work with start with a Facebook page. Then they move to a website. So I thought I’d write a short post about why you should be using both channels (Facebook and a website) to reach your church members (both existing and potential).
Facebook is great for reaching family, friends and other people who are interested in information (content) about your church. You put up a post and it’s available for all your friend and family to see. However that’s it. People who are fans of your page or who have Liked it won’t necessarily see your post.
In about 2012 Facebook changed the way it did things. It used to be that people who liked you and were fans of your page got to see your posts in their timeline. Facebook changed that. Instead a falling number of those people get to see your posts. So if someone isn’t a friend of your Facebook church page they only get to see the page’s posts sometimes. Some studies seem to indicate that they only get to see they about 2% (yes it is that low) of the time.
This all means that if someone sees a post from your church page that they like (perhaps about an event that your running) and they Like it they might never see anything from you again. So your losing the opportunity of reaching that person on an on going basis. I pick this scenario because I’m guessing that you might be able to get your church members to become friends of the page rather than fans thereby ensuring they will see the posts. But for most churches it’s the accidental people who come across you for the first time that you want to keep reaching.
You can overcome this to some extent by paying Facebook to share your posts but that costs money. Some cynics believe that the reason Facebook changed the way it worked was to make money by making people pay for reaching new fans.
The second major problem with Facebook is that your posts are always getting pushed down the timeline. Imagine you have Messy church coming up and you want to promote it on Facebook. So you write a post and put it up 6 weeks before. Your family and friends can see it and perhaps one or two other people. The weeks go on and suddenly your post is nowhere to be seen. It’s been pushed down the page by other posts you’ve made. So you repost it to get it to the top. A few weeks go by and you need to repost and so on. The timeline pushing posts down can be a big headache.
The third problem with Facebook is the amount you can put in a post. The optimum length of a Facebook post is 40 characters. Yes you read that correctly 40 characters. How do you get across the details of your event in 40 characters?
So three big problems with Facebook. Is it all bad? Well no. Facebook can be a great place to share content that you’ve put on your website. Imagine you post a link to your website page about Messy church. You can have a great page that’s well thought out with photos, text and sign up forms. You can point to that page from a Facebook post and that will help your friends (church members) to share and send people to your church website page.
The best thing about sending people to your website page is that they will look around. So if you’ve other events to interest kids they’ll look at them too.
If you’d like more information on this please get in touch.
(after writing this post I realised I used a lot of Facebook terminology you might not understand, if that’s you feel free to call us up and we’ll happily explain -0141 530 4752)