Is Your Church Social? Part 10: Facebook – A Personal Touch
In our 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 creating both a Facebook Page and a Facebook Profile.
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 big weakness of the Facebook Pages is that things done on the page do not create a news story in your fans profiles. So, 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 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. 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.
What do you think? Would you be willing to have your personal profile also serve as the church’s profile?
Big changes are coming to Facebook Pages include more interactivity and connection with people’s profile newsfeeds. Read more about it the article, “New Facebook a Game-Changer.“
Thanks for your suggestions on this Kurt. You draw out both the strengths and weaknesses of Profiles vs. Pages. I have seen the downside of the Church Page and they are very much as you have outlined. I think one of the key success factors to a great Facebook Ministry strategy is to have someone who owns that as their minsitry and will work to facilitate community, networking, and communication through this excellent church ministry tool.
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This was wonderful help. Just what was needed for what I am working on. I am preparing a presentation to attempt to convince the board of my church to create and online community and I am looking at all of the keys for success. Thank you for your thoughts!
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I'm glad the info has been helpful. I'd love to hear more about what your church decides to do and how it impacts the church.
Keep in touch.
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