By Meredith Harris
If you’ve led a Facebook page for your church for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced frustration at the lack of engagement on your page at one point or another. You may have felt that you’re not doing enough or posting enough to get the attention of your church family, and you may have noticed that your posts don’t have the reach that they used to.
You may spend countless hours crafting the perfect post with the right caption, only for a couple of likes here and there. However, due to the thousands of intricate layers of Facebook’s newsfeed algorithms, unless you’re paying for ads, it’s highly probable not all of your church family are seeing your posts anyway.
That’s a frustrating place to be, but there is hope: you don’t have to spin your wheels.
So how can I get my church engaged on social media?
Nona Jones, in her book From Social Media to Social Ministry, describes a church Facebook page like a house: the front door is your page. You have visitors stroll by and see what you’re like from the outside. But when you open the door and invite someone into the living room for conversation, that is your Facebook group. That’s where engagement, community, and discipleship happen.
Should I care about how many people like my church’s Facebook page?
It’s nice to see how far your reach is and how many people are seeing, liking, and engaging with your posts. But if it doesn’t lead to true relationship building and life change, it’s worthless. It is better to have 50 followers of a Facebook page where all of them are constantly communicating and growing in their faith because of the relationships they are building than 10,000 followers who passively like all your posts while they’re scrolling through their feed. That kind of “engagement” really doesn’t matter.
With a group, you can set up lay leaders or staff members as moderators to help with discussions and answer questions. They don’t even have to be admins of your church’s page. You can even require potential new members to answer questions of your choosing before they can be admitted into the group. With tools like these, you can set the tone and structure for your group to have healthy discussions.
If they are active in the Facebook group, doesn’t that mean they won’t come to in person service?
Not necessarily. If they’re not coming to in-person service, they’re not coming. Being a part of the Facebook group won’t change that if they are unable or unwilling to attend in person. Wouldn’t you want to give these virtual members a space to be a part of the church family, even if it’s from a physical distance?
There is something so powerful about seeing a church family member request prayer for a specific need and then one by one, other members post their prayers for this person in the comments. This is one way the church can be the church in this digital age.
Connecting with your community doesn’t have to be an arduous task. If your community is on Facebook (and they are), create a space for them to hold conversations within a Facebook group, and see how that can build relationships within your church. Partner with leaders like the discipleship team with Georgia Baptist for advice and an example of a Facebook group engaging disciple makers.