One third of our guests at Christ Fellowship come directly through our Facebook strategy. In August of 2010, Facebook was nothing more to me than a fun novelty. It was the place to catch up with high school buddies and to keep up with people’s anniversaries. About that same time, God led my wife and I to rebirth a church in the heart of the city of Tampa with 1year2live. Pastoring a dying church and going without a salary meant that everything changed–especially my view of Facebook.
Our church with 1year2live obviously needed a new relational connection with the community. Thousands of people around our church had either written it off or had never even heard of it. That was when my entire idea of communication changed. We had to rethink our marketing like Disney, Coke, and Doritos had done. We needed a way to quickly get thousands of people to experience our fellowship even before they came to one of our Sunday gatherings or Feed the City events. Facebook allowed us to do this with no prior experience and without hiring a marketing company for the church.
When it’s all said and done no church can afford to have a social media presence that doesn’t translate into guests on Sunday. This may go against what many social media purest would suggest. They might suggest, “Build a relationship with your customers and over time they will eventually pursue your product.”
But, what if you don’t have time? Our church doesn’t and most likely yours doesn’t either. No matter what your communications, marketing, or advertising strategy, it must build relationships with people that will be guests. It must also build relationships with people that will come back again and again.
So at Christ fellowship we found the importance of tagging photos on Facebook from almost the beginning. Every worship gathering and outreach event is photographed and uploaded to Facebook. Normally over 100 or more photos are taken at each gathering or event. We invite people to go on our Facebook page and tag themselves and people they know. To tag someone you must be friends with them. So every week is an opportunity for people in our church to get to know other people they have met by asking them to be their Facebook friend.
When someone is tagged on Facebook their picture and the caption (your church name) is broadcast to everyone on their friends list. Every one of their friends can also share the tagged photo and then it gets broadcast to their new set of friends! The bonus is that when they go back to your FB page they can click “LIKE” and something amazing happens! When they click “LIKE” they are connected to your churches news stream. A good news stream can make them feel more engaged; a bad news stream gets you dropped! When people see themselves in a photo at your church it can remind them of the great time they had and it sends a subtle message to their friends that they would enjoy the experience as well. In essence they have endorsed your church. But this is just the beginning. Find out the 3 easiest ways to grow your church FB page on how to “Grow your Church through Facebook” Part 2.
Bruce Moore is the pastor of Christ Fellowship, Tampa. It’s a journey of a lifetime as he has traded everything of importance to save a dying church in the heart of the city. His blog at 1year2live.com is a platform to mentor and encourage pastors on how to restart growth in their churches. He also keeps busy training pastors and church planters. His first book, published by NavPress releases in May 2012. He is married to Heather and they have one daughter. Stay connected: Twitter @WBruceMoore & Facebook: Bruce Moore