Tips for Facebook Users

Facebook announced in October of 2012 the arrival of their 1-billionth user. Yes, that’s billion with a very big B. And while 45 percent of Americans report being on Facebook at least a few times each week, according to a study by the Public Religion Research Institute, only about 5 percent follow a religious or spiritual leader’s posts or have joined a Facebook religious group. What’s up? Facebook is perfect for faith-based organizations. It’s free. It’s designed to build and share communities and it’s a two-way conversation.
For many churches, Facebook causes a lot of hand wringing. What do we post? When do we find time to keep it going? What if people post bad things? The first step to effectively using Facebook is changing how you think about Facebook.
Facebook = E

Facebook is a form of evangelism. Yes, the “E” word. A tool to expose people to the word of God. When you treat social media as a serious ministry you will bring new faces to your church and keep current members connected. Just remember that it’s serious ministry and not the church bulletin.

Get the right people involved

You would not send random people out to bang on doors to invite people to your church. The same holds true for Facebook. Form a solid church Facebook evangelism team. Having a team, instead of one person, keeps the page actively, lively and engaging. Your pastor and outreach committee need to be actively involved, then add adult, youth and young adult education leaders, mission coordinators, camp coordinators and more.  Train them carefully. If they all post in an organized manner, you will never be short of content again. Keeping Facebook from becoming an all-consuming burden comes down to brief but regular planning. Facebook is not time consuming if you plan out a 16 day editorial calendar. Why 16?  The four most read days of Facebook are Monday through Thursday. The best time to post is between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.  The highest readership is Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Now it is time to learn a critical mantra . . .

It’s not about you!

Say it often. “It’s not about me.” Print this phrase out and post it on the wall for your editorial team to see. Facebook is about your readers and what they need. Especially for those outside of the church. Every post needs engage, urge conversation, invite and affirm. For example; a post that reads, “We’re having a church rummage sale Saturday. Come and support the church” is an outbound message. Try this; “Want to do some good in the world? Live out your faith? Come to our rummage sale. Cool stuff for your home and all the funds support our city homeless shelter. It’s a win for you and for everyone in the community! Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m.”
Here is another example; “Ever wonder if there is a God? You might feel relieved to know others feel the same way. Come join us Sunday, or if you would like to have a private conversation, give me a call and we can talk about it. My phone is 000-0000. –Pastor Jane”
By the way, don’t use church terms. “The Candle Holders Group meets tonight” won’t mean much  to someone outside your church, nor is it very welcoming. Offer an explanation! “The Candle Holders, our group for active Seniors, meets tonight. Hope you can attend!”
Dive in!

With a billion people connecting on Facebook, a majority of them seekers of faith, it’s time to discern if you need to be there too. Pray on that one. Then go and “LIKE” God.

Reprinted with permission from
CommunicationMinistry.blogspot.com

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