We want to set you up for success on Facebook, so we have come up with some great Facebook ideas for your church to use it well. Note that some of these ideas are perfect for large churches and others setup for small ones.
1) Use Custom Facebook Page Applications
Facebook allows you to use applications with your Facebook page and there are many different applications that can not only enhance your page but improve your brand too. One such application is ShortStack that can give you a Facebook app that lets you customize the HTML, CSS, display tweets, embed YouTube, setup giveaways, and custom polls. The best part about this application is the “fan-only” ability that you can hide sections of the custom page from viewers until they like the page. A success story with this was a church offered a free eBook on parenting to anyone that went to the page and downloaded it for only their fans. They put an insert in their bulletin and encouraged people to engage with the eBook after reading it and sharing it with friends and family that may need to read it too.
2) Maximize Your Facebook Timeline Cover Photos
Facebook’s new Timeline design offer users and pages a rather large cover photo for the user to do with as they please. Some churches have posted pictures of their building, others a photo of some of their congregation members, and still others use some stock photo of Jesus or the cross to ensure people knew they were on a religious page. Whatever you want to display on the photo, recognize that this is a premium opportunity for your ministry to advertise one event that is happening, church times, or upcoming sermon topics. By no means should you sacrifice the whole cover photo to marketing because people really do want to see faces. But in the lower right-hand corner you could post a short two lines about service times and a street address, a phone number, or a website address.
3) Youth Ministry Games with Facebook
I do not mean to sign up for Farmville to interact with others, but take Josh Griffin’s “Instagram Hack” or a similar idea to incorporate your Facebook page into your face-to-face ministry events. One successful idea recently was to find a teenager at a youth group, tell them that they can win $100 towards summer camp in a game show (this one was trivia). The downside was for every missed question, the game show host (a volunteer) was allowed to post anything they wanted on their Facebook profile. It would start with “I love youth group” and harmless to ending a relationship status with a girlfriend, Poking their mom, or unfriending some random person on their news feed and they had to commit to leaving it for a week. The youth group videotaped the whole thing, posted it on their page, and tagged the right people. It was a huge success.
4) Facebook Photos for More Reach
One of the biggest aspects of Facebook that may be highly underutilized are photos on Facebook. Many times working with different ministries that want to set up a Facebook page and get to one or two hundred Likes right away, I recommend that they post photos on their page and take the time to tag every single picture. If you can constantly post great photos (clear pictures of happy faces, serving actions, children in Sunday school, people worshiping together) and tag the people, a page that is just starting out has the capacity to reach 10,000 users even if they only have 100 people Like their page. That can translate later into more people subscribing to your page and interacting with you. Even better, people are 8x more likely to interact with a photo (like it, comment, share) than links, status updates, or videos. So if you want to reach a big portion of people, then get a volunteer dedicated to photographing ministry events.
5) Do Your Own Version of a Viral Video
There was a recent viral video called the Harlem Shake that went viral, seeing millions of hits, and was fairly ridiculous. Many ministries took advantage of this idea by making their own, utilizing their staff or congregation, and then posting it on Facebook for all to view. People loved the idea because it was so easy, people thought it was great fun, and many people were engaged.
So there you have it. Five great ways to leverage Facebook in your ministry.