Advice for Religious Entrepreneurs
Facebook for Churches
Here are three ways churches can use Facebook to grow their congregations and create more meaningful connections with their members.
Facebook has become a powerhouse of social media.
More than half of Facebook's 500 million users log into their account every single day to share updates and information with (on average) 130 friends, family members and social acquaintances.
How Churches Can Use Facebook
For churches, Facebook is a dream come true. It's a ready-made channel for daily communication with your membership and a non-threatening way for your members to share information about your church with their friends.
And best of all, it's completely free. Gratis. Apart from the cost of the time you invest in maintaining your Facebook presence, you don't have to spend a dime to access Facebook's benefits for your church.
Three Ways Churches Can Use Facebook to Grow and Nurture a Congregation
Facebook is also easy to navigate. It's designed to be accessible to both techno-geeks and techno-challenged grandmothers. But harnessing the full potential of Facebook requires a bit of strategy and finesse, starting with Gaebler's three ways to use Facebook to attract new attenders and retain your current membership.
- #1 Create a Fan Page. More likely than not, there are a large number of your members already have personal profile pages on Facebook. If you haven't created a personal profile page yet, start there. Although churches and other organizations can create personal profile pages, too, a fan page is a more effective tool. Fan pages allow you to invite members to become "fans", essentially recruiting a roster of virtual supporters for your church. When you post church information, events, updates, photos, videos and other content, it appears on your fans' news feeds, which they can then share with their Facebook network.
- #2 Schedule Events. From your Facebook fan page, you can schedule events and send invitations to Facebook friends. After they receive the invitation, fans can share the event information with their friends, potentially exposing your church's special events to a broad base of online users. Event invitees are also asked to RSVP to the event by responding from a selection of "I'm attending", "Maybe" or "No" – giving you an accurate estimate of the number of people you can expect at the event.
- #3 Community Updates. In the settings section of your fan page, you can choose to give fans the ability to post updates directly on to your wall. Although this can be dangerous if you don't regularly monitor your wall, it can also be a great way to create a sense of community in your church using an online resource that is already familiar to the people in your congregation. When user post content to your wall, it represents a connection with your church. Even better, it appears on their wall and is visible to their entire network of friends.
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