Facebook For Churches: How Our Church Uses Facebook

Facebook For Churches: How Our Church Uses Facebook

June 21, 2010 by

This is part 2 of a 5-part series on using Facebook for churches.

Now that I had the staff learning to embrace Facebook (all at their own, individual paces), it was time to develop communication strategies for the church as a whole. Here they are:

Staff Goal: use social media to make a difference in real people’s lives.
Communications Department Goal: connect and promote—cut through without cutting in.

How the Communication Department Uses It:

  • Mass Communication: We have a church Facebook page that we use to post upcoming events and initiatives. I encourage staff not to re-post/share those, but to “like” or comment on them when appropriate.
  • Individual Communication: Anyone who indicates that they want information exclusively over Facebook gets their information that way.

How Staff Uses It:

  • Individual Communication: We’ve found that some of our volunteers like to communicate via Facebook, so we’ll message them that way, as opposed to email or phone calls. Some staff do random check-ins and set up meetings through Facebook, too.
  • Transparency and Encouragement: Pastor Mike has turned this into an art form. He simply posts about his day, thoughts and highlights life moments that are encouraging and uplifting to those who follow him. He’s our most popular Facebooker, and this just might be why.
  • Conversation Starters: Pastor Al, our senior pastor, is the best at this. He likes to pose questions that let other people talk it through, rather than him doing all the talking. It’s a great way to engage Christians and non-Christians to dialogue together, and it helps people in our church understand each other better.
  • Meeting Prep: Derek, our executive pastor, looks people up on Facebook before he meets with them because it gives him a snapshot of things that have been going on and issues they may be wrestling with.

Disclaimer: If you don’t have a sizeable core of your congregation on Facebook, your strategy might be more evangelistic in nature, which is great! I would simply encourage you not to use your account as a soapbox. Instead, really strive to connect with people and build relationships.

Post By:

Danielle Hartland

Danielle Hartland is the director of communications at Grace Church in Erie, Penn., where her goal is to create and foster accessible communication strategies that cut through without cutting in. You can find her fastest on Twitter: @daniellesuzanne.
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8 Responses to “Facebook For Churches: How Our Church Uses Facebook”

  • Paul Steinbrueck
    June 21, 2010

    Hey Danielle,

    Thanks for sharing your church’s Facebook strategy. I’m very interested to learn about what other churches are doing with Facebook, what’s working, what’s not, etc. I’ve got some follow-up questions for you…

    1) What’s the URL of your church’s Facebook page?

    >>We have a church Facebook page that we use to post upcoming events and initiatives.

    2) How often do you do this?

    3) Is the only thing posted to your church’s FB page upcoming events and initiatives? If so, it sounds like FB is just being used as a broadcast/promotion medium. Or are other things that might be used more for engagement (questions, videos, links to thought-provoking blog articles) being posted?

    >>I encourage staff not to re-post/share those, but to “like” or comment on them

    4) Why?

    >>We’ve found that some of our volunteers like to communicate via Facebook, so we’ll message them that way, as opposed to email or phone calls.

    5) Are you saying that you ask everyone in your church their preferred method of communication (email, phone call, Facebook), you keep that info in a database, and then when you do church-wide communication you deliver it via each person’s preferred method of communication?

    6) When you say “we’ll message them that way,” you mean a private message as opposed to a public status update on the page?

    7) When you mentioned Pastor Mike and Pastor Al’s use of Facebook, you are talking about how they use their personal Facebook accounts, not the church’s?

    Thanks for the additional insight!

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    • Danielle Hartland
      June 21, 2010

      Awesome questions! Here I go:
      1. facebook.com/whoisgrace
      2. the main page is static, but links to regularly updated info / the rest is a feed from our church blog and events page
      3. the “church” broadcasts, the staff (real people) ask the questions and do the interaction. it is mainly for broadcast.
      4. because multiple “likes” or comments on an item drives it up in people’s individual news feeds. it gets us more bang for our buck.
      5. yes. that is what i’m saying. it’s been interesting…but is paying off. we have an awesome volunteer team and and awesome database that helps us pull this off. we don’t do phone calls, but we do email vs. snail mail vs. facebook.
      6. yes
      7. yes…more on them in the next post!

      pheww! i hope that helps.

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      • Paul Steinbrueck
        June 21, 2010

        Thanks Danielle! Yep, that helped me understand a lot better what you guys are doing.

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  • bondChristian
    June 21, 2010

    One thing I’m interested in…

    Might it be better to make a page more person by showing the people behind it?

    I know individual profiles are usually for the personal interaction, but personally I like when the pages themselves have a personal identity behind them, not just a ‘church.’ I’m much more likely to interact (comment, like, etc.) with that kind of page.

    Just interested… I’m really enjoying this series so far.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

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    • Danielle Hartland
      June 24, 2010

      Good point, marshall. I honestly found that making the church page interactive and personal didn’t help create conversations, so that’s why we moved to the staff doing it and referencing the church page when it makes sense. I think people would rather talk to a human than a human behind an organization. Just what I’ve found…but I think what you’re saying does work for orgs.

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  • Mike
    June 23, 2010

    Thanks for this post. I’m always looking for better ways to get our team and congregation to use social media like Facebook to interact when perhaps a Bible study series/meeting time just isn’t convenient. Good thoughts!

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  • Debbie
    September 22, 2010

    Hi, I’m an admin for our Church Group page, the only thing that will show up in people’s ‘feed’ is an event. How do we get posts to show up? Is creating a ‘Fan’ page the solution to that?
    Thanks so much for your help.

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  • Prajeeth
    September 23, 2010

    thanks for the article.
    I could not check your facebook church page. facebook.com/whoisgrace.
    Can you pls check.
    Also pls visit our church FB page http://bit.ly/9HGnQJ & give your feedback.
    God Bless – PJ

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