Social Media for Ministries
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Your Facebook Profile is Still The Best Place to Share Your Ministry

brian barela facebook profileDo not forget about your profile as THE best place to share your ministry with others. Facebook Groups were the rage two years ago, now Pages are more popular.

note: this is mostly a post for those in full-time ministry seeking to communicate with their ministry partners.

The biggest problem with Groups and Pages: They are not you.

They represent you, the communicate things about you, but at a distance. So if I see two similar pieces of content, one from your page and one from your profile, I’m going to click on the content from your profile. You usually become a friend of someone before you like their information. That’s not an accident–if you want a lot of people to see and engage your content, start first on your profile.

Second Biggest Problem Groups and Pages: The content is not that interesting.

I’m a fan and member of a few different Campus Crusade staff members Pages and Groups. The content is usually “I’m heading out to do ________ please pray or I just came back from ___________and this is what happened.” Remember that this kind of content is MUCH MORE important to you than it is to those following your ministry. You are in the heat of the moment–they are watching TV, texting their friends, blogging and checking Facebook.

If most of your content is text than you probably are not seeing a lot of engagement. Brendon Patubo, an CCC Intern with the Epic Ministry at SLO, talked about the power of video to communicate on the RE-Think Blogference. Dan Birch, new staff at Arizona State University frequently uses video to communicate with his supporters and in his ministry.

If you are using a Facebook Group and sending frequent, short, text based updates you might be getting tuned out. Also note that when you send out a group message, it goes to their email inbox as well. People are consuming and deleting your content in two places, which means if it’s not that interesting then your messages may be seen as spammy.

Don’t Give Up on Email, But Change the Way You Do It

What most Campus Crusade staff are really looking for when they set up Groups and Pages is effective DISTRIBUTION of their ministry content. You want to get your updates, stories, prayer requests, etc to as many people as possible in the most effective manner.

I would argue that EMAIL is still (not forever, but at least right now) the best place to distribute your content. Most people who are supporting your ministry are over 30–which means email is still what they grew up doing and what they do at their job.

You can not only make emails that are more visually appealing but track how many people opened and how many people click on the links you share inside the email. Mailchimp is mine and others favorite. There are others out there. This week’s RE-Think Blogference post covers the benefits of using Mailchimp for email communication.

4 Comments

  1. Scott B says

    Very helpful thoughts Brian, thanks! I’ve often had similar thoughts about my Facebook profile vs pages and groups. I started a page awhile back but never really put too much effort into promoting it because I just figured more people are seeing my profile anyways. Now, with the Typepad blog I can post to it and it syncs with my profile AND Twitter! I’m definitely going to look into mailchimp though. I still use distribution lists in Outlook and they are OK but fairly cumbersome.

    • thanks scott. your experience with pages is pretty much the norm.

      i think once you get set up on mailchimp you will see how different and easier they are to manage than outlook.

      thanks for the comment!

  2. Brian, interesting thoughts. I think you are making a good point.

    Something I struggle with in this regard is that I don’t want my Facebook profile to come across as extremely missionary like. I have non-Christian friends and want to use my social media presence to develop a platform that influences non-Christians, not only talks about my missionary activities, which might also turn away non-Christians.

    How do you suggest balancing these two?

    • thanks russ.

      i’m in the same boat as you.

      i think of my profile in terms of an outpost (chris brogan’s term)–a place i want to maintain but the purpose of maintaing is to drive people somewhere else.

      our homebase for ministry updates is our ministry website–thebarelafamily.com

      we sometimes share the link from our mailchimp newsletter, but even better is viewing the source of the mailchimp letter, copying and pasting the html in a page on our ministry website, and then sharing the link of that page on fb.

      the other really simple and non-threatening way we like is using pictures–they communicate so much, give people a great idea of what we are up to, and they do not come across as a “push” kind of ministry message.

      most of the positive feedback we get from supporters is around the pictures and videos we share–either in paper or online form.

      i’m really starting to be intentional about capturing and sharing our ministry via images as much as possible.

      what do you guys do to balance?

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