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Your Facebook page as your foyer

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash
Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Imagine walking into a new church and people tell you information about their church and then just walk away. They don’t wait for a response, they don’t ask you about yourself, how you are or why you are there. Imagine walking into a church and no one speaks to you at all. They hand you information, but make no effort to create community.

 

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When you consider your Facebook as your new foyer, you can see how this scenario could easily happen in your online space. We need to think less “bulletin board” and more conversation.

Since the pandemic began our local churches have transitioned to online services, both live and recorded. We’ve adapted and successfully managed to move sermons to our Facebook pages. Many struggle with this new online relationship.  The best way to accomplish a healthy online presence is to think of your Facebook page as the foyer of your church. Within the foyer, your church members find information and relationship. They greet each other, catch up, shake hands and hug ... remember hugs? It’s also a place where first-time visitors begin to seek information about your church.

If someone is walking into your church for the first time they’re looking for information such as:

  • Is it traditional or contemporary?

  • Are members warm and inviting?

  • Is the pastor welcoming and do they speak to the congregation on a personal level?

  • Is there diversity in race, age and sex?

  • Are people with disabilities represented and welcome?

  • Does the church address social and/or political issues?

  • Speak on matters of justice and race?

Usually these are things they would hear about, see and witness for themselves as they walk through your doors. This entry area of the foyer, is now your Facebook page. It’s the first impression. When trying to think of what you should post this week, try addressing both current members and new visitors as you would in the foyer.  For instance:

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  • Greet your members and visitors – Ask how everyone is doing, solicit feedback on how everyone’s week was.

  • Reintroduce yourself and/or your staff – Staff highlights can be a great “filler” for when you need a post idea during the week.

  • Host live meet the pastor events on Facebook or Zoom to introduce yourself to new visitors.

  • Feature photos of your congregation – These can be from the past if they still reflect your church, You can also ask members to send in photos of their family watching online and, with their permission, feature them in upcoming posts.

  • Encourage conversation in your comments – The more you talk to others, the more they will talk amongst themselves.

  • Post information about what your church believes – This can link to your website for more details.

  • Let your followers know of any outreach plans, and ask if they know of anyone needing assistance through outreach.

  • Remind followers when your services will be and where.

  • Communicate where the UMC stands on racism – Consider sharing tools and articles from the Dismantling Racism series.

When you begin to think of your Facebook page as your foyer and less as an information source, you’ll begin supplying much needed community and care to your followers!

 


Renee McNeill

With more than 20 years of experience in various media outlets, Renee McNeill has helped brands develop and implement strategies for both internal marketing and public facing campaigns alike. For the past five years, she has used the skills she has acquired not only to help her local church, but also to help those serving in global missions abroad with building awareness. As a senior social media specialist at United Methodist Communications, she loves helping local churches build community on social media, and in her free time serves on global mission trips to Mozambique and Czechia.