Office Hours: Church Fan Pages & Weaning Publicity

Office Hours: Church Fan Pages & Weaning Publicity

June 22, 2011 by

Every week I hold online office hours and answer questions from folks like you. This week I answer a question on how to promote and grow a church Facebook fan page. We also take a look at how to wean your ministry leaders off of too many communication materials. Take a look and be sure to join me every Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. CDT for online office hours!

How would you recommending getting more traffic to your church Facebook page?

My answer: For starters:

  • Is it linked from your church website’s homepage?
  • Is that link “above the fold” on the homepage?
  • Do you have it listed on your e-mail signature?
  • Does your senior pastor have buy-in for the fan page?
  • Is he or she a fan?
  • Is it in your bulletin?
  • Do you have relevant content on the fan page or is it an “info dump”?
  • Have you e-mailed the entire staff and asked them to join the page?
  • Has the staff invited their friends to join the page?
  • Has your senior pastor/primary teacher talked about it from the front?
  • Have you made an announcement about it from the front?
  • Have you e-mailed the congregation asking them to join the page?

Once we get past those, we’ll have some more to talk about.

How do I get ministry leaders to stop over-producing publicity materials? They want flyers, brochures, posters, videos, door hangers, etc. for every event! How can I wean them off their fear that without all these no one will show up to their event?

My answer: Could you try “experiments”? We tried this once with our church bulletin and it worked like a charm.

Essentially, you say something along the lines of “Let’s try an experiment. For the next sermon series/event/kick-off/VBS, we’re going to do _____ instead of ______.” Of course, you fill in the blanks with whatever you don’t want to do with what you do want to do.

I have found that people are much more willing to try something out if they know it’s not permanent. The benefit, of course, is that if you try an experiment and it works (i.e. the same amount of people show up to the event) you can then continue the experiment until it becomes the new normal.

Start slow. Start small. Get some small wins under your belt and gradually move to those time- and resource-consuming events that drain the life out of everyone (including you!)

Get experimenting!

Post By:

Justin Wise

Justin Wise lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife and son. He likes coffee, reading, running and blogging.
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8 Responses to “Office Hours: Church Fan Pages & Weaning Publicity”

  • Eric J
    June 22, 2011

    ohh that experiment idea is a great one!

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  • Came
    June 26, 2011

    “Is that link “above the fold” on the homepage?” – we all know the fold is a myth, have the link on the homepage & make sure it’s prominent.

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    • Justin Wise
      July 5, 2011

      Came ….. I disagree. Ask any heuristics practitioner and they will tell you the “fold” is alive and well. Sorry.

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  • Chad Gleaves
    June 27, 2011

    This is Chad with Get Your Church Fan Page and we will definitely be sharing this list with our fans. Just to highlight what you said, Head staff (Pastor, Assistant Pastor etc) support is so vital to the success of the church presence on Facebook. If they are making an effort to build relationships online, even 5 minutes a day will go along ways towards connecting to people.
    Secondly, you hit something that is a Facebook killer! Most churches view their Facebook Fan Page as another newsletter, bulletin board or a way to get announcements out…. Please limit your “Advertisements” to 2 or 3 times a week and focus on sharing scripture, devotions, talking about the message and other things that will encourage the body of believers that choose your facebook page to connect with the church. In other words “Focus on Relationship Building”. Thats what Facebook does best.
    If relationship building is your primary focus then your Facebook Fan Page or Group will be so much healthier and will build fans over time.

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  • chad
    June 30, 2011

    I think one issue with local church presence on FB was missed in the post. Actually have a FAN PAGE instead of a user account. I have worked with churches that can’t keep up with the friend requests and people get frustrated. This is just one issues, and there are many more. Churches need to understand that fan pages can be tweaked specifically for religious organizations and work so much better than a profile page.

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  • Steve K
    July 1, 2011

    My first response would be – “Is that your desired result?”

    Your questions send visitors away from the church website to Facebook. Why do you want them to leave your church website and go to Facebook?

    Facebook should be a funnel towards another goal – specifically, to get people engaged in a faith community. Effective social media, be it Facebook or Twitter, is only effective if people can connect offline, too. That’s the goal, isn’t it?

    You want to use Facebook to bring people to your website and then to your church (or any church, really), not the other way around.

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    • Patrick Fore
      July 5, 2011

      Not sure it’s that simple. I’ve seen fantastic community take place on Facebook. I’ve seen small groups form, friendships develop and questions answered. I feel like once the website is at a great place design wise, I will be more apt to spending more time devoted to social media. The website can serve as a blog, advertisement and provide a space for media content but social media is where people spend a ton of their time. You might as well leverage that.

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      • Patrick
        August 15, 2011

        Hi all,

        FB might be important for a whole other reason than just advertising.
        You can actually see how everybody is doing. Are they OK? Are they having fun? Do they need pastoral aids? How’s the family?
        All these answers are posted on facebook way before coming Sunday…

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