A Guest Article from Tanner Di Bella
5 Creative Ideas for your Church Facebook Group
Inspiration to give your facebook groups strategy a boost
Social Media is a fickle thing — it’s an ever-changing organism. In 2018, distrust, lack of engagement, and other inflection points marked a new trend for 2019 — the importance of real, trusted content. There is a deep desire to gather together and break bread. Facebook pages have allowed brands to echo messages, advertising campaigns, and event promos, but what about real engagement? How can you scale authenticity and intimacy on a platform that is meant to communicate to the masses? I have found the gold in the pan: Facebook Groups. This looked-over feature has risen from the ashes, and in 2019, will become the major engagement gathering to your church.
But, awareness without strategy isn’t effective marketing — it’s knowledge with no power. We’ve included a list of 5 creative ideas to kick-start your new venture into the waters that is Facebook Groups:
- Start A Prayer Group
No matter the size of your church, prayer requests are a hallmark need in your body. Start a prayer group where members of your church can post prayer requests and praise reports. This serves three purposes for you: (1) Community, (2) Testimonies, & (3) Edification of your church.
When we started our online prayer community, we allowed all people, even those that didn’t attend our church, and it’s been a hallmark success story if I do say so myself. It’s become an incredibly effective outreach tool to the global community.
Note: make sure to set restrictions on posts. On average, our moderators decline 20% of post requests due to inappropriate content or mere irrelevance.
- Small Groups
Small groups steward community in all churches. The capacity to take the cosmic body of people you have, and bring it to a micro-level, is critical. The importance of taking the small groups “on the road” and to engage with each other every day of the week will help sustain, maintain, and grow your existing groups.
No one likes text threads or email chains, but everyone wants to feel a part of something. Put your small groups into branded Facebook groups and watch them flourish.
- Online Campus Group
On average, 80% of your church attendees live within a 5 mile radius. 90% live within 10 miles. Your capacity to grow is within a limited circumference of your church. When you introduce social media into your marketing strategy, your audience all of a sudden no longer has bounds.
At some point or another, most churches make the decision to start live streaming their services. It allows for increased viewership, higher engagement, and allows you to reach an audience across the world you otherwise would have no/little access to.
We started our online campus a year ago, and we quickly realized just streaming a service doesn’t, in essence or practice, create community. If you are truly desiring to build an online campus, you have to provide a space for them to feel like they are engaging with other people from your church, and what better platform to do so than an online facebook group.
One church that has seen incredible success with this would be Elevation Church. Called the “Elevation Church eFam” facebook group, they have over 47,035 Members and counting. They have created an online church that is thriving, growing, and expansive — thanks to Facebook groups. If you live stream, consider creating an online community space for that audience to talk together, learn together, and do life together.
- Ministries Group
Recently, our church has run into the question “How many social media accounts are too many?” In 2017, our church had over 80 social media accounts between all the ministry accounts. If you’re a church marketer or staff member, we know less is definitely more, and we had to do something about it. The more accounts we had, the less concentration on our main church accounts were being observed.
That’s when we began research in creating ministry Facebook groups. What did we witness? Greater engagement for the ministry and greater reach for the main church. When you put a face, not a logo behind the posts you create, it surprisingly (not really) creates more trust with people.
This is our newest venture, and we love it. Social media influencing has become a recent fad over the last couple years for the very reasons I explained at the beginning: people desire to see trusted and real content, and influencers do just that.
However, for a church to hire an influencer poses many ethical, practical, and marketing questions.
We decided to launch a “Brand Ambassador” facebook group for the sole purpose of recruiting church members who had great influence online to help promote the brand of our church, and we’ve seen great success. It costs us nothing (other than some free merch as a thank you to them) and it promotes our church just as well as paying $10,000 for a professional influencer to do so.
Note: depending on the size of your church, start with a criteria of 2,500+ social media followers, and go from there.
Create rich, and diverse content for them to use, and meet with them regularly to show your gratitude and the importance of this ministry to them. Facebook groups allow you to create specific communities. When people are passionate about something, their engagement increases, and they become like micro-influencers on behalf of your brand.
What’s the takeaway here? In a quote: “The key for brands is to create a space where customers can talk to one another. Facilitate that engagement and then get out of the way.”
Facebook groups have given us the golden chalice — as marketers, it’s our responsibility to create a safe, trusting, and engaging platform for our online community, and then get the heck out of the way, and watch it bloom.