8 Ways to Win on Facebook

In my job, I see so many churches and organisations using Facebook to promote their ministries and events. In fact, I spend a lot time myself on Facebook, as I manage several pages for different ministries and organisations. Having a job that requires me to spend so much time on Facebook and other media platforms is a double-edged sword. In a world where people call Facebook a waste of time and a dark hole, I respond that I need to be on Facebook.

This rings so true that recently, my husband bought me a new phone so I can stay in the know and up to date with all things social. This was the best and worst present. Since getting my new phone, I find that I have so many more features at my fingertips. The worst part is that I now spend more time on my phone.

While using and interacting with Facebook, I’ve noticed lots of churches and ministries doing lots of different things on Facebook. Some are truly winning at Facebook, while others are still finding their footing. Many struggle to understand why their Facebook page fails to be more successful. Others are not even sure what makes a successful Facebook page.

While we don’t have it all figured out, we’d like to share 8 quick ways you can improve your social media strategy for your church,organisation or ministry.

How to win on Facebook

1. Have a clear picture of who you’re talking to and why you’re talking to them

Do you understand your potential Facebook audience? Do you know who you’re trying to talk and connect with? Is it your current church members or visitors? Is it people in the vicinity of your church or is it your youth? The first thing you should do when creating a social media strategy is to have a clear idea of who you’re talking to. This decision should reflect the group your church is trying to reach or engage. Your social media strategy should fit into your larger communications strategy, and your communications strategy should fit into your church’s plan for inreach and outreach. So first thing’s first, who are you talking to?

2. Talk about what people care about

Now that you know who you’re talking to, you should ask yourself what they care about. Of course as an organisation, you have specific things you want to communicate. You may have an event you want to share or a ministry you want to promote. Think of things from the perspective of your audience. What does your audience care about? How can you present the information in a way that willl engage them?

One surefire way to engage an audience is to let them see themselves. Now if you’re a rather large church, it may be difficult to post pictures of all your members all the time, however, seeing someone you know can sometimes be just as effective. I often see many churches doing a very good job of being inclusive. They take photos of lunches, events, outings and church services. Taking photos that display what life looks like in your church will attract people to attend your church. On more than one occasion, I’ve heard people say that they decided to attend a church because they looked at the church’s Facebook page or church website and saw photos of people and events they could relate to.

Ask yourself and your team, are you talking about things people care about?

3. Have a plan and work your plan

In the world of social media, this is called an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar can be especially helpful when you’re working with a team. One of the biggest questions I get asked from local church communication secretaries is “What should I post on Facebook?” This can be a major concern when multiple people from your church are updating the Facebook page. When planning your social media for your organisation, church or ministry, first you need to have a clear idea of your ministry’s voice. When you print brochures, publish posters or other types of hard copy material, what does your organisation’s voice sound like? Try to keep a consistent voice in your social media while remembering that social media content is all about being conversational.

Decide what types of posts you’d like to include on your Facebook page. Would you like to include inspirational posters that include Bible verses? Would you like to include devotional videos? Will you post photos from each week of your service? Once you have a plan of the type of content you’d like to share, you can make a calendar and decide what you’ll share each day. I’ve found that planning content a month or two out can not only save time, it can also preserve your creativity. Sometimes it’s hard to be quick and witty or think of clever and engaging posts on the spot. If I take a few minutes to plan ahead, I have a greater chance to win on Facebook.

4. Use an engaging variety of posts

I’ve already alluded to this in point 3, but I’ll take the chance to reiterate my point. There are so many things you can do on Facebook, use a variety of posts to engage your audience. Here are a few options to choose from

Videos

If you haven’t noticed by now, Facebook is making a big push to promote video posts on its platform. It’s doing this to be competitive with Youtube, Periscope and Vimeo. There is even a feature where you can broadcast live from Facebook. When posting video, remember that Facebook rewards those who post videos directly into the Facebook page. So if you ever notice that your video from Youtube or Vimeo isn’t performing that well, it’s not a coincidence. Facebook rewards those who post directly to their platforms. When posting your video, try tagging those people who are in the video to get as much reach as possible.

Inspirational Picture Posts

As a church, ministry or non-profit organisation, one of your primary reasons for existence is to encourage poeple. So it’s no surprise that social media posters that provide a pick-me-up can be quite popular on Facebook. When creating these poster, you can use a service like canva.com that can help even the most graphic-design deficient person look professional online. Note that some of their services requrie a fee, but many are available for free. Try posting an encouraging scripture or quote on the poster, along with a photo that communicates the message you’re trying to get across.

Questions

Facebook can be a good place to pose some thought-provoking questions. Just remember, you want to engage, not offend with your line of questioning. This page/platform should reflect the values of the organisation you are representing. While I would hope that your values line up with the church, ministry or organisation you represent, it could be that you differ on various points. So when posting and posing questions, remember that you should be creating an environment for discussion and conversation and not contention. The views of the page should reflect the church, organisation or non-profits views and not your own.

5. Find Facebook ambassadors

One of the best things your organisation can do is find Facebook ambassadors. Ambassadors are people in your church’s congregation or supporters of your ministry who can consistently engage with your content. This means, after you post a piece of content, they will like, comment, share and engage with the it. While we see the content posted on Facebook, there’s a lot that’s happening behind the scenes. Facebook is calculating how popular a piece of content is and then delivering it to others based on that popularity score. If you can enagage several people to interact with your content soon after it’s posted, you give your posts more chance of having a long life on Facebook.

6. Check the numbers

Another important thing you can do for your page’s success is to check the numbers. When you are an administrator on your page, there is a tab called “Insights”. When you click on it, you can see lots of details about the people who are engaging with your content. Taking a look at this information can help you find success on Facebook, as you will be able to see what is popular, if your content appeals more to men or women and what age group is most engaged. This can help you either tailor your content to attract others you’re not reaching or to continue on the track you’re headed. This feature is very valuable to your church or your ministry’s success on Facebook and can help you as you plan your outreach efforts in the future.

7. See what successful pages are doing well

As the saying going, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Check out other pages – churches, brands and businesses – to see what they’re doing well and what type of content is engaging. Of course you don’t want to be entertaining or engaging just for the sake of it. We’ll dig a little deeper on this point in #8, but you need to understand what success looks like for you church or organisation. It’s better to have 300 engaged users on your page than 10,000 likes that are quiet and unengaged. So when seeing what “successful” pages are doing, make sure to tailor the method and the content to suit your church or organisations needs. And make sure you know what success looks like to your church or organisation before you go measuring yourself against everyone else.

8. Understand the reason you’re posting on Facebook in the first place

This is the most important question of all – why are you posting on Facebook in the first place? I guess I could have put this question first, but it’s one that you’ll need to re-visit often. Sometimes you may not see success on the first, second or third go ’round and you might ask yourself why you’re investing your time in this platform. Well, as a church, ministry or organisation, we need to be where the people are, and if you take the time to observe people at potlucks, restaurants, dinner parties and sporting events, it’s obvious that many, many, many people are on Facebook. The question is, how can we be there too?

Most importantly, as an organisation, you need to frequently revisit the reason for your existence. Make sure your Facebook page reflects those reasons. Make sure that people walk away from your digital presence and feel like they’ve left God’s presence. Your digital platform can be just as much of a beacon for people as your bricks and mortar establishment.

If you’re interested in learning more about using Facebook for your church, ministry or organisation, we invite you to sign-up for our upcoming webinar called, “How to Win at Facebook, for churches, ministries and other non-profit organisations.”

Would you like a quick reference guide of these 8 points to keep handy on your desk or in your office.  You can grab your free copy here: Download my reference guide on 8 ways to win on Facebook.

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