Should My Church Have a Page, a Profile or a Group on Facebook?

A common question that is asked by churches is if their church should have a page, profile or group on Facebook.

Should my church use a Facebook profile?

In the early days of Facebook, many churches set-up profiles, similar to the way an individual would have a profile.  While it’s not as common to see churches setting up profiles there are still some remnants of them from back in the day.

In the eyes of many the advantage to having a profile was that you could invite people to “friend” you.  It gave you more control over increasing your reach, however, this is a violation of Facebook’s term of service and could put you in the position to lose access to your profile.

Facebook says, “It’s against the Facebook Terms to use your profile to represent something other than yourself (example: your business), and you could permanently lose access to your account if you don’t convert it to a Page.

These days, having a profile as a church feels a bit outdated.

Should my church use a Facebook page?

Organisations were then encouraged to convert their profiles to pages.  The advantages being that on pages you can:

  • See statistics about interaction on the page
  • Assign page roles to team members
  • Run ads

Previously, the best advice would be for churches to set-up pages.

The disadvantage to having a page over a profile is that instead of being able to “friend” someone and initiate connections, you’re in the position where you have to attract people to your page.

However, since Facebook is borrowed space, you gotta play by the rules of the land.

Now many churches have Facebook pages and use them to post encouragement, events and run ads.

[To learn more about what to post on your Facebook page, check out our article, 17 Types of Content to Post on Your Church’s Social Media Account]

Sometimes churches can get caught up in the vanity metrics of how many likes, follows and fans they have on their platforms, but the most important thing to focus on is the impact the page is having.

[If you need help with your online strategy, check out our article, The Most Actionable Plan to Improve Your Church’s Social Media Presence]

Recent Facebook changes 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.

At F8, Facebook’s Developer Conference, which was held April 30 – May 1, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the biggest changes to come to Facebook in about five years.  You can dive deep into some of those changes in articles like Forbes’ Social Media Roundup that covers changes like Facebooks’ event, Instagram testing and updates to Whatsapp.

You can even check out Zuckerberg’s talk here:

As a highlight to Zuckerberg’s speech, he posted on his Facebook profile that

“Today at F8, I talked about how we’re starting to build out a privacy-focused social platform.

For the last 15 years, we’ve built Facebook and Instagram into digital equivalents of the town square, where you can interact with lots of people at once. Now we’re focused on building the digital equivalent of the living room, where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately — from messaging and stories to secure payments and more.

To bring this vision to life, we’re building Messenger and WhatsApp into platforms for all kinds of private interactions and working on making end-to-end encryption the default for both. We’ve redesigned Facebook to make communities as central as friends. We’ve added new ways to buy things securely on Instagram. Augmented and virtual reality also create more personal and intimate experiences — so we’re bringing WhatsApp to Portal, adding end-to-end encryption for all calls, and launching Portal internationally. And I’m very excited that this year we’re shipping Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest, the headset that gives you full freedom of movement with no cables.

As we build more of our services around this privacy vision, we’re also changing how we run our company. We’re committed to consulting with experts on the major tradeoffs and social issues to find the best path forward, taking a more active role in making sure developers use our tools in good ways, and building out the technical infrastructure to support this vision. This is going to take time and we don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re focused on getting this right and doing it openly. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you as we continue on this journey to build a private social platform.”

In all of the benevolence that’s expressed, it should still be noted that Facebook is a business with business interests and is positioning itself to best compete in a digital space crowded by only a few major players, who want your time, financial transactions and attention. So move forward knowingly.

Should my church use a Facebook group?

One of the major highlights both from F8 and from Facebook’s communication over the past year is Facebook’s shifting emphasis towards groups.  Its new user interface will reflect this as well.

Does this mean your church should set-up a group, if it doesn’t already have one?  Well, you could consider having a group to allow for deeper conversations, meetings and introduction to church community.

You may want to consider the purpose of your group, if it is to reach out to people who may not know Jesus, you may want to separate that group from the one that discusses church affairs.  Imagine it like inviting a visitor into a church business meeting.  It might not go down too well, right?

So think strategically about the online experience you want your visitors and members to have and develop a group strategy around that.

You can check out the post below to learn a more about how the redesign to groups will impact your online experience.

TL;DR : So, the final advice is don’t set-up a profile as a church, but definitely engage your members to use some of their online influence to share their faith.

Have a Facebook Page, but understand that Facebook’s emphasis is shift towards groups and they are making some changes to the way groups are categorised and will show up on your device or desktop.

Understand how having a group might work within your church strategy. But don’t jump into every new thing and get overwhelmed.

A first step might be to join some groups and get involved and see how groups run. This will spark ideas in your mind on how you can integrate groups into your strategy.