I started supporting church planters in 2007. At that time, planters were saying, “This new social media thing seems to be catching on; I wonder how I could use Facebook for church planting?”
Now it’s a given. With 222 million Facebook users in the US & Canada alone, it’s a communication and connection tool you simply can’t ignore in your church planting efforts.
It all changes so fast that it’s hard to keep up. Though the rules may change the moment I publish this post, let me try to explain some great ways to use Facebook for church planting that promise to have some shelf life:
Group vs Page
Before we get to specific tactics, a word on getting started: you should generally create a Page for your church plant. There are some uses where a Group may be better, or may compliment your Page, like for your intercessory prayer team or internal communications with your launch team. Whether you use Groups or not, you should still have a Page for your church plant.
BTW if you’ve already created a personal account with first name “XYZ”, last name “Church”, go delete that right now. That is absolutely the wrong way to go.
3 Free Ways
I’ll expand on each of these in coming posts, but there are 3 main, easy, free ways to use Facebook for church planting:
- Create great content and encourage people to repost it – content is king and this will get you the best traction the fastest, so post interesting or funny pictures & videos
- Create calendar events on your Page with images & a map – over communicate about when & where things are happening
- Encourage people to check in at your event or gathering – their check in will show up on their friends’ feeds with a whole blurb about your church/Page
the 4th Way
It used to be that when someone liked your Page on Facebook, each post from your Page would show up in their feed along with their friends’ posts. In the last 2 years or so, Facebook broke that on purpose: now a post from your church Page will show up on only about 15% of the feeds of people who have already liked your Page. You read that right. If you have 1,000 likes on your church Page, anything you post will probably only appear to about 150 of them.
They did this so that you would willingly pay them money. You can pay them to be a straight up ad in the side column, or you can pay them to promote your posts: for a fee, you can take something you’ve already posted and ensure that it gets it front of a larger audience. Your promoted post would show up in people’s feed like this (you see these in your feed too, right?):
An interesting twist on the paid promoted post is the so-called Dark Post. It’s very much like a promoted post, but this post never shows up on your church Page.
Suppose you want to promote 4 versions of the same post to see which one gets more traction. It would be weird to have them all one after another on your Page. Using a Dark Post allows you to run lots of promoted posts without them cluttering up your Page feed.
There’s been a lot of excitement and chatter about the creative ways you can use Dark Posts, so I’ll explore that in my next post (linked).