Is Your Church Social? Part 8: Facebook – A Personal Touch
In my last article I talked about creating a Facebook Page for your church. Facebook Pages are good, but there are some features in the Facebook Profiles which are not available in Facebook Pages. Unfortunately, these deficiencies have seriously weakened the effectiveness of Facebook Pages for churches. So, for your Facebook church marketing strategy, I recommend considering creating both.
Why Do I Want Both?
Simply put, Facebook Pages has some features that would be beneficial to your social church marketing and keeping your church members informed and a personal Facebook Profile has some other features which are also beneficial. The other way of putting it is that neither Facebook Pages nor Facebook Profiles are quite up to the task on their own.
Your Facebook Profile:
One of the great features of Facebook is the news stories that are created within your profile. When you add someone as a friend, every time they do something in their profile, like add pictures or post a comment, a news story is created in your profile. Similarly, whenever you do something in your profile a news story is created in your friends’ profiles. This is great because it allows people to keep up with what’s happening in their friends’ profiles without having to go check every individual friend’s profile one at a time. Everything is done from within your profile.
The weakness of the Facebook Pages is that all these things done on the page do not necessarily create a news story in your fans profiles. So, in many cases, fans have to actually go check the church’s Facebook Page to see what’s happening. This hinders communication and leads to less people keeping up with the church’s page because there isn’t that constant reminder of a news story to go check the page. That’s why I recommend considering having both a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page.
The trick is that Facebook does not allow churches (or any other organization/business) to create a profile. Profiles are only for people. Luckily, most churches have people in them.
Create a Facebook Profile for a member of the church and have that profile be an extension of the church’s Facebook Page. For our example, let’s say we make a profile for the Pastor. When you post messages on the church’s Facebook Page, post a message in the Pastor’s profile as well. Do the same with pictures and events. By having a profile and a page you can have the benefits of the features of Facebook Pages and the communication of the news stories created by the Pastor’s Facebook Profile.
The Draw Backs:
There are a couple of draw backs to having both a church Facebook Page and a member or Pastor Facebook Profile.
• It’s more complicated. You end up having to post a lot of things twice so they are on both the page and the profile.
• Messages written on the wall of the church Page’s Wall don’t create news stories. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any way to have this happen unless Facebook decides to make it possible. They have improved the Pages over the past several months, so here’s hoping…
• If the Pastor creates a profile to be used for the church, they can’t create a second personal profile. Technically, I guess you could, but it does violate the terms of service and Facebook could suspend both profiles if they discovered what you’d done. If the Pastor doesn’t mind having the church stuff in his personal profile and his personal stuff in his church profile, then this isn’t an issue, but if they wouldn’t want to combine the personal and the church, then you have to make a choice.
By using both a Facebook Page and a Facebook Profile in your church marketing strategy you are better able to engage your congregation and your congregation’s friends. Once you have created both the Page and the Profile, encourage the members of your congregation who use Facebook to become both a fan and a friend. For those who don’t use Facebook, you may suggest they give is a try. It’s a great way to foster community and improve communication. It’s also a great way to evangelize which I will talk about in a later article.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kurt Steinbrueck is the author of the Church Marketing Online blog. He has been providing Christian search engine optimization services for church marketing solutions. The article is available at http://churchmarketingonline.com.