There’s a battle raging in Church staff meetings all across America. An online presence is essential for growing a church plant, everyone agrees. But which area do you focus on? Do you spend your time, energy, and resources on creating an awesome website and leave the cover photo blank on the Facebook page? Or do you rock out the Facebook page with pictures, videos and engaging content and leave all that clip art up on the website? Last one standing wins.
It’s time to stop all the fighting. There’s no need for staff meeting battles. The reality of the situation is your Facebook page and website are equally important when used correctly. And utilizing them correctly involves each complementing the other, not competing.
The Facebook Page
Social media is rapidly becoming the best way for churches to reach new people. In fact, 46.1% of churches now say that social media is their most effective method of outreach (Buzzplant). If leveraged correctly, your Facebook page can not only provide a lot of useful information about your church, it can also help you grow. Here are 3 ways to leverage Facebook to help you grow:
- Post useful resources without promoting the church - A key part of building trust on social media is providing something of value with no mention of your own promotion. Creating content that is useful for everyday life goes a long way in beginning to build a relationship.
- Build content people want to share - It’s hard enough to get someone to finish reading an article (you’ve already stopped, haven’t you?), let alone compel them to share it with their friends. This is where funny, creative, and inspirational pictures and videos come in. Videos give people a chance to see your church’s personality - and also, an easy way to share you with friends.
- Take advantage of friend to friend connections - The best way to grow any church is through friends telling friends. People who hear about your church from a friend are far more likely to take the next step than if they see an ad from you. The best way to leverage these connections is to encourage people to Share your Facebook posts and check-in on Facebook at your location.
If social media is becoming the primary tool for outreach, your church website shouldn’t have to work overtime to accomplish the same goal. The goal of the website should be to offer information to take the next step and provide content directly from the church (messages, podcasts, live services). If you’re building your website primarily for outreach, your Facebook page and website will always be in competition, instead of complimenting one another. Here’s 3 ways to leverage your website to encourage people to take the next step:
- Make it beautiful - A sharp, modern, good-looking website makes a great impression. A boring, out-dated, and poorly designed website just does the opposite. And first impressions are important. If you don’t have the staff or resources to create this beauty on your own, consider out-sourcing it. There are plenty of companies just like Share Faith whose work can help you make a great first impression
- Offer content - Making messages available through either podcast or video is a great way to engage your audience. This gives someone who may be skeptical a simple and non-threatening way to take the next step. If you’re able to give someone a glimpse into the church in a non-threatening way, they’ll feel more comfortable walking through the doors.
- Keep it up to date - There’s nothing worse than logging onto a site in November and seeing an announcement about the upcoming April picnic. If the website isn’t keep up to date, what else is lagging behind? Current series graphics are a great way to let people know exactly what’s going at your church now. More than anything, people care about what you’re doing now.
The reason the Facebook page and website shouldn’t be fighting with each other is because they shouldn’t even be in the same ring. The Facebook page should be centered on outreach by leveraging friend to friend connections. The website should be centered on providing information and content for the next steps.
The time, energy, and resources should be spread equally on both - just as long as you clearly define the goals for each. In doing so, you’ll create a great Facebook page capable of reaching and engaging new people and a great landing spot for them to take the next step on your website. Can’t we all just get along?