Whether you love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. Facebook started back in 2003 as more of a college/dating-type site and has turned into something much bigger that influences everyday life around the world.
Social media is an interesting paradox. On one hand, it’s really easy to use, and its strength lies in the fact that almost anyone can use it. (Not everyone should, mind you, but there’s nothing we can do to stop that!) On the other hand, though, to do it well, to stand out from the crowd and make sure your message gets heard. . . . That’s a lot harder. Hopefully over the years of reading the CTS blog, you’ve learned a trick or two and you’ve gotten a solid foothold in at least one social media community. (If you’re looking for some tips to get started, check out the archives.)
Last week, I explained several reasons why your church Facebook page should not replace your church website. The last reason I mentioned was that despite Facebook having a huge number of users (more than 2 billion!), not everyone is on Facebook. One group that can be very hesitant to join Facebook is church workers.
It’s a trend among some churches, especially smaller ones, to have only a Facebook page and not a website. In some ways, this makes sense. Facebook pages are easy to set up, they are free, and Facebook has more than two billion users, so most people are already using that platform. With that in mind, it certainly begs the question, “Is it still necessary to have a church website?”
There are so many option when it comes to the world of content creation. For church workers, trying to figure out where to even start can be a daunting task. Maybe some church workers just feel like they don't have that much time to invest in making a long video documentary or designing a massive infographic. Creating content, however, doesn't need to be that scary of a process.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the fuss surrounding Facebook Live. If not, Andrew’s got an article from last month that’s a great place to start. But once you’ve started playing with it, how can you use FB Live to connect your members, your leadership and your surrounding community? Here’s a few thoughts:
Advertising on Facebook isn’t as difficult or expensive as one might assume it could be. And it can really help your church increase its visibility in your community.
It’s important to note that increasing the visibility of your church’s Facebook page, or the reach and engagement of your posts, isn’t a goal in and of itself. We know our mission is for people to be connected with Jesus and His people, the Church, and to be fed by the Word and Sacraments. We don’t want our Facebook stats to improve but have our disciple-making remain static.
If there’s one constant in the world of technology and communication, it’s that things change. This is especially true when you have technologies that involve communication and where rapid development is rewarded with public interest, market share and, hopefully, profit. It’s probably not a surprise, then, that the landscape of social media continues to shift rapidly, and it’s easy to get lost in the details. Whether you’re a church beginning to dip your toe in the social media world or a seasoned professional trying to discover the next right thing to focus on, it’s important to have a high level view of the terrain going forward.
As we head into a new year, we reflect back on our successes and failures of the previous year, and we look forward to new opportunities in the year to come. As church communicators, that involves evaluating our forms of communication and their effectiveness, as well as looking for new ways to reach more people with the comfort and joy of the Gospel message.
Facebook is a fantastic tool for church workers. It allows us to interact with our members and communities outside our church walls in ways that we never could. While Facebook is extremely helpful and easy to use, we church workers can sometimes make some common mistakes that can be easily avoided with some prior thought.