Archives For Facebook

It feels like we just celebrated the New Year, and Easter is here already.  Of course it is actually a bit early this year on March 31.  But that only means we have to be on our toes to be strategic for Easter to be a way to welcome newcomers, casual attendees and friends / family that might be visiting from our of town.

One of the easiest tactics almost any church can utilize to spread the word about Easter Sunday services is Facebook advertising.

Not only is it affordable since you actually set the bid and budget caps for your campaign — so your expenses won’t go wild and out of control.

But Facebook advertising is extremely effective in reaching friends of those that are attending your church already.  This is where leveraging social networks for church outreach messaging is perfect.

FACEBOOK ADVERTISING ALLOWS YOU TO TARGET VERY SPECIFIC DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS

Here is an example of an ad I set-up today for Liquid Church’s Easter Services.  You’ll see that I’ve been able to set-up 3 demographic factors — People who live in the US, live in NJ in particular and who are 18 years or older.

Facebook Advertising for Easter Demographic Targeting

 

The interesting part is that you have even more control of who sees your ad — I added two additional parameters to this Facebook ad campaign:

  1. People who are NOT already connected to Liquid Church’s Facebook page.  I am setting up separate messaging (ad graphics, headline, ad copy and click through URL landing page) for people who are already fans of our Facebook page.  This ad is for people who have not LIKEd our Facebook page already.
  2. Only people who have friends that are connected to Liquid Church’s Facebook page.  So, here I’m not just targeting anyone in NJ over 18 that’s not part of our FB page community.  This parameter adds the social element.  Our ad will show up ONLY if they have a friend that has already LIKEd our church Facebook page.

By adding these two filters, I can leverage the fact that anyone seeing this ad has a chance of already hearing about Liquid Church from their friend (or their friend’s FB timeline feed) or at least has someone they know that knows about Liquid Church (because they’ve already liked our page).  

In a way, this ad is helping to seed the “invite a friend” behavior we hope our own community members are going to carry out over the next week or so.

FACEBOOK ADS ALLOW YOU TO TALK DIFFERENTLY TO YOUR OWN COMMUNITY MEMBERS

If you’re following along, you’ll now understand that your ads for your current attendees (we can assume these are basically the people who “LIKE” your Facebook page) can be a bit different.

In fact, here is an ad set-up that is intended for people who already know about Liquid Church and is a part of our Facebook community today:

Facebook ad for easter services

Instead of a generic “come to Easter services” type messaging, we have the ability to help equip our own people to invite their friends and family.  This can be done by sending click throughs to a page on your website that has downloadable content to share with their friends.  What would you put there?  Things like:

  • Video invitation from pastor with social sharing or forward to a friend email link
  • Facebook cover image people can use for the week
  • 1-step tweet links like this one: http://bit.ly/clicktotweetabouteaster2013 (TRY IT!)
  • Social sharing friendly videos about Easter like this one called social media Easter

 

Are you using Facebook Advertising for Easter promotion?  What questions do you have about using Facebook Ads for church?

nils-smith CBConlineToday’s post is from Nils Smith, who is the WebPastor at Community Bible Church in San Antonio, TX.  As WebPastor he oversees the entire web presence of CBC including CommunityBible.com, mobile app, Online Church, and all future developments online. Nils is also the author of The Social Media Guide for Ministry.  Connect with him here: Blog | Twitter | Book // I’ve asked him to boil down what he does on Facebook for CBC Online to some key tips that any church on Facebook could really benefit from.

5 Tips for Churches on Facebook

church-on-facebook-tips

Continue Reading…

social media revolution

 

I’ve previously blogged about Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics book and work on “socialnomics” — here’s the latest version of his Social Media Revolution video for 2013:

What statistics stand out as you view the video? Drop a comment and your reflections here. I’d love to hear them.

Do you use your cell phone in church?

Is it encouraged or shunned in your church?

Churches that discourage cell phone use during church worship service

Westminster Presbyterian Church is part of the Presbytery of San Fernando in Burbank, CA. Prior to the service they actually showed this video of how they handle cell phones in church.

This is such a great topic because you’re probably firmly rooted one side or the other.  .  .

Either cell phones are a menace, to the preacher, to the people around you, and a distraction from the activity of worship itself OR it can be an amazing tool that augments the worship experience as well as empowering the congregation to be evangelistic *during* the actual service itself.  

What is interesting is that ministries like YouVersion have even explicitly built services to encourage smart phone usage in church.

Which side are you on?  Are smart phone cell phones something that should be allows in church? Share your comments below.

Undoubtedly if your organization has a social media presence, you are leaning on your fans and followers to help spread the word. That’s one of the core reasons you are utilizing social media in the first place, right? To leverage the social networks of your supporters in order to reach new people that your organization doesn’t have an existing relationship with yet.

So you probably are asking your community to share your posts. To retweet and thumb up Like’s for your status updates. To +1 interesting content in your feed.

But have you explained to them WHY you want them to do it? More importantly have you shown them how their simple actions can help them be a part of the work your organization is doing?

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Check out this simple direct mail piece attempts to do with their community. Do you see how they are framing the opportunity for each of the thousands of people in the social media community?

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On the back, the larger than life number is shared in a way that invites the person to be a part of the plan.

How are you framing the WHY opportunity for your supporter base? Are you inviting them into the larger story or are you just drilling them with neverending requests to pimp out their personal social network for something where only your organization benefits?

Today, Facebook is changing the design of the “pages” that most churches use to the “Facebook Timeline” format.  

I had a chance to sit down with Sean Coughlin of FaithStreet.com recently.  He has been gearing up for the transition for some of his church clients.  

So I asked him to share some tips that you can use right now to helping reach a bigger audience on FB.  Enjoy today’s guest post.

 

Here are 5 tips to make sure your church’s timeline is optimized to reach people on Facebook. 

(1) The change to Facebook Timeline happens on March 30th, so be ready!

Facebook says, “On March 30, 2012 your Page will automatically get the new design.” Right now, Facebook allows page users to edit their timelines in a preview stage, so take advantage.  If you haven’t made any preference changes, it’s time to visit the admin section today!

Facebook Timeline in Church Marketing
(2) Choose a beautiful cover for your Timeline.

Probably the most important feature of the Facebook timeline update is the “cover”. (The cover is the giant 851 x 315 pixel banner at the top of your new profile). Churches should make sure to choose a wide angle, high resolution photo to minimize distortion. Your church is your people, and studies have show that people engage with pictures of other people far more than pictures of places. A church we work with here in NYC, City Grace, has done a great job of creating a good-looking, welcoming covers shot. Check out City Grace Timeline and Cover here. 

(3)  Pin the posts that you want people to see first.

If you have a post that you’re especially proud of or just want visitors to see on your page first, make sure to “pin” it to the top of your timeline. This might be another great picture of some members, a recent milestone you celebrated or a campaign you’re running now. To pin a post:

  • Scroll over the upper right-hand corner of the post and click the pencil icon.
  • Scroll down within the menu and click “pin to top”
  • The post will now appear at the top of your timeline until you “unpin” it.

As TechCrunch recently reported, “The feature gives you significant control what visitors to a Page see first. Be sure to at least keep a link to your website pinned at all times, and rotate it with links to your apps and whatever else you want to drive the most traffic to or impressions of.”

(4) Post Pictures Wisely

As I mentioned above, newcomers and church members alike respond to pictures. Pictures generate more likes and shares than most other types of content, which means more exposure and an expanded “reach” for your church. Since pictures are powerful outreach tools, you want to get the most out of them, right? Here’s how you do that. Instead of posting an entire album, post one picture at a time. You’ll get more engagement per photo if you individually post them than if you post an entire album. Try posting 3 photos per week – one of Monday, one Wednesday and one Friday. This will create anticipation within your Facebook community and drive engagement.

(5) As an admin, make sure your church members (and your friends) “Like” the page

This was true for “Pages” and is still true for “Timeline”, the first step to using Facebook as a tool to reach new people is to make sure your church’s people “Like” the page. By simply inviting their congregants to “Like” their Facebook page, one church we work with here in NYC went from 35 “Likes” to almost 100 in less than a week and increased its “reach” by 495%. (reach is the number of people who have seen a post about your page, and yes, that four-hundred-and-ninety-five-percent!) You can invite your friends and fellow church members to join the timeline by clicking on the “Build Audience” tab at the top of the Admin panel.

Then, you can track your page’s reach, likes and how many people are talking about your church from the Insights box on the Admin Panel.

 

FaithStreet.comSean Coughlin is the co-founder and CEO of FaithStreet.  FaithStreet helps churches reach people using the Internet. Follow Sean on Twitter: @seanwcoughlin

One of the biggest concepts we’ve covered already is that social media is here to stay.  The Church cannot ignore this growing part of any given individual’s daily routine.  Your people are using social networks to manage and grow their relationships right now.

The question then becomes, how do you integrate social media technologies and frameworks into the social fabric of the church or ministry?  Is it too early to try and adapt or integrate the social web into how we do church?

The answer is a clear no, it’s not too early.  In fact, the time is ripe to seriously embrace social media into the relationship and communications flow of your community.  And there are a bunch of options available that are ministry specific so that you don’t have to cobble together your own solution if you don’t want to.

Here’s one example: the Table Project. It’s a non-profit ministry group that is producing a robust, customizable social networking platform specific to churches. Take a look at this overview that covers the philosophy/approach to TableProject:

This video above leaves you wanting for a peek at the actual nitty gritty of the TableProject experience for users, right?

Here’s just one example of how the TableProject is utilizing mainstream social web assets so that users don’t have to adopt another entirely new social networking platform.  Your community members already know how to use these features, they’re comfortable with them, and by taking this approach, TableProject aims squarely at the problem of  adoption and usage uptake for any new system.

One of the strengths of this entry into the social networking platforms for churches market is how it integrates 3rd party sites and content. For example, you’ll find fluid use of Facebook, Twitter, blog RSS feeds, and other web apps.

Here’s another video covering some of the basic features inside the platform:

It’s not open source, but it’s free (for now). It’s certainly an interesting platform to consider for most ministries.

The question to ask would be just how customizable is it — especially for larger 1000+ person communities that usually need more tailoring to their communities’ needs in managing groups, sub-groups, etc.

QUESTION: Are you encouraged or discouraged after seeing potential solutions like TableProject?

It looks like the case for social media and the church can continue on a bit. . .In this post, I wanted to do two things: A) share some of the actual benefits of social media in a non-profit context. The social web has been hyped so much, so sometimes it is good to hear about real results. …and B) briefly address one of the most common questions asked by people and organizations that haven’t jumped into social media just yet, but understand that they need to sometime real soon. So here goes:

Beth Kanter, one of the gurus of non-profit social media strategy offers a model of the “networked nonprofit.” Kanter and her co-author Alison Fine argue that many non-profits are full of “firewalls” and bureaucracy that create stand-alone organizations.

But networked nonprofits end up looking more like social networks than like traditional organizations.  Open, simple, connected with other similar entities, transparent, successful.  One key take away is that taking on the new mental posture organizationally will enable and empower your organization to take on social media.

The bottom line?  . . . Continue Reading…

Last time, I shared a video of the digital nativity story.

It has garnered a lot of press around the world because of its timely and smart execution.

Kudos to the Portual-based team that produced it.

Now, others are jumping on the bandwagon after all the buzz that’s been going around (that’s the power of social media, right?).

I present to you this time . . . A Facebook Christmas story. . .

While there are critics who’s knee-jerk reactions will be to shout out how shallow and trendy these versions are — I wonder if you really quizzed people, especially younger ones, about the actual storyline — would they be able to tell the story better before they saw these videos or afterwards?

I would be willing to bet that since this video is so contextualized to the Facebook generation, a good portion of the group would be able to reconstruct the basics of the storyline in much better fashion than through the accumulated exposure to all the Christmas plays at church over the year as they were growing up.

Take a look for yourself at this video:



QUESTION: Does this video tell the story well enough?

Well, the other posts in this series touched upon how your ministry should view the social web as an extension of your social community and also seeing that social media is not just a passing fad at this point.

Today, I’ll share three factors of the social web that makes it compelling to use for church communications, especially for outreach into the communities around you.

At the foundation of today’s discussion is basically whether you want to remain nameless without any familiarity or trust. Do you want to be some anonymous entity stuck in a corner of your community or do you want to be a dynamic community participant that befriends people so you can invite them into relationships — with you and / or your ministry?

Here we go:

1) Better visibility – Managing your online presence across the social web gives you a position of infinitely better visibility to those that are in your community.  These days, the Googlopoly has invaded our life, not just our computers.  People don’t let their fingers to the walking anymore, they  travel the world of mouth.   In fact, with any serious effort, you’ll personally gain a lot more “friends” that can now know you exist than ever before.

2) Increased familiarity – This benefit does not require exteme lifestreaming, but it can be found from intentional utilization of the social media networks out there. If you are wiling to take on some simple proactive strategies, the social web allows you to converse with a much wider range of people about a much diverse range of topics than you probably would in your normal offline routine around town.  As people begin to regularly have a view into your daily activities (regular as well as those seat of the pants last minute activities), thoughts /reactions to various happenings around town, and your overall posture regarding both -  things that excite you and things that really really really matter to you, your local online social network becomes increasingly familiar with you, your personality / humor as well as your general willingness to engage.

3) Trust - This can only be achieved over time with authentic exchanges pointing the way to a God-honoring relationship built on trust. If you are consistent, outward facing, and responsive to people’s questions, needs, and just plain ol’ calls for social engagement, it is a start to quickly establishing trust with other individuals in your social networks. This last factor category cannot be overstated enough in terms of effects.

Visibility, Familiarity, and Trust.
These are the ingredients of any evangelistic outreach efforts whether you are online or offline.

Do you see how utilizing the social web successfully is not that different?  You really should leave a comment below.