How to Improve Your Church’s Facebook Page, Part 2: Interaction
You already know that a Facebook page is a must for ministry today. In fact, for some portion of your community, your Facebook Page may be their first point of contact.
But there are so many options and so much flexibility that your page can easily become cluttered.
Your ultimate success in online ministry will depend on the quality of your posts and the relationships you build through engagement and interaction. However, giving your page itself some love can only improve its effectiveness.
This is the second in a 3-part series on improving your ministry’s Facebook page. Be sure to check out the whole series and subscribe to the Defining Grace email list in the blue box at the bottom of this post to have these tips delivered right to your inbox!
There are many ways to use your Facebook Page. From a billboard of church announcements (bad!) to a free-for-all of posts, comments, and random links (also bad!). In between is the sweet spot where you have a mix of content that drives engagement and interaction that builds relationship. Let’s take a look at the options and settings that will help you achieve this happy medium.
1. Call-to-Action Button
Below the Cover Photo, you have the option to add a Call-to-Action (CTA) Button. This button indicates to the page visitor an important action you would like them take. You can use your CTA Button to send people to your website, provide a preferred method of contact, or even have visitors watch a specific video.
The Button in Action
Below is a screenshot of my Facebook Page with a “Learn More” CTA Button. When the Facebook user clicks the button, it will send them to the About Page on this website. You will notice that next to the CTA Button is a Message Button. This appears when you have Messaging turned on for your page (see step 4 below).
Adding a CTA Button
If you do not have a CTA Button set up, your Page’s visitors will either see nothing there, or they will see a blue Send Message Button. This is displayed if you have Messaging turned on for your page (see step 4 below).
What you, as the page editor, will see is a big blue button that reads “+ Add a Button”.
When you click on “Add a Button”, a pop up window will appear with the categories of CTA Buttons. You can expand each category to see all of the options.
Some of the options offer the ability to integrate with non-Facebook services and applications. This post will not go into these options, but rather we will focus on the two categories that will be of interest to most ministries.
Get In Touch
The “Get In Touch” category offers a variety of contact options. The large text is what will be displayed on the button. Call Now and Send Email allow you to specify a phone number or email address that visitors can use to reach you. Contact Us and Sign Up allow you to provide a link to a page on another website, like the contact page of your website. After making your selections and entering your information, click “Add Button” at the bottom of the box.
Note: Send Message will start a new Facebook Messenger conversation between the user and your page. As noted earlier in this post, there is already a Message Button automatically displayed if you have Messaging turned on for your page. So, unless this is the number one action you want visitors to take (and it might be—especially if your target audience is young adults), you can utilize one of the other options and still have a Message Button displayed in addition.
The “Learn More” category allows you to send visitors to a destination where they can learn more about your church. Again, the large text is what will be displayed on the button.
The Watch Video option links to a video you have already uploaded to Facebook or a video on another website (ex. YouTube, Vimeo, your church website).
The Learn More option allows you to provide a link to another website. If you choose this option, consider sending visitors to a specific page on your website and not just the front page. The front page of church websites tend to be overwhelmingly loaded with lots of different types of information. A better choice might be your About page or a page that provides information specifically about visiting on a Sunday morning.
After making your selections and entering your information, click “Add Button” at the bottom of the box.
Editing the CTA Button
If you would like to edit an active CTA Button, hover over the button and select “Edit Button”.
Clicking “Edit Button” will bring up the settings for the type of button you have currently selected. If you would like to change the type of button (ex. from a Learn More button to a Call Now button), click the “Back” button at the bottom of the box to return to the list with all of the options. After making your selections and entering your information, click “Add Button” at the bottom of the box.
2. Interaction with Your Page
It is called social media for a reason… If your page is simply advertisements for your church, you’re doing it wrong. At the same time, it is reasonable and responsible to have a measure of control over what can and cannot appear on your Page.
Before we dig into the Page settings, let’s talk about comments since they cannot be turned off. Hopefully, all of the comments on your posts will be wonderful and kind… but this is the internet we are talking about! There is a chance that somewhere along the way there may be an inappropriate comment or a discussion that strays from the original intention of the post.
How much you wish to moderate conversation on your Page is up to you, but should you need to take action, you have a couple options.
The first step is to hide a comment. This can be done by hovering over the comment, clicking the “v” symbol to the right of the comment, and selecting “Hide Comment”. If you’re on a mobile device, tap on the comment and a menu of options will appear.
Hidden comments will remain visible to the person who posted it and their friends. It will not be visible to anyone else.
After hiding it, you will see options to delete the comment (if it is really bad) and even ban the commenter from your page. We will address banning people later in the post.
On the right side of the Page Toolbar across the top is the Settings Button. Clicking here will open up your Page’s settings with a series of category tabs in the left column and the individual settings for each category in the right column. We will first look at four settings within the General category.
This setting gives you control over what visitors can and cannot post to your Page. It is important to note that visitor posts will not appear on your Page’s Timeline. Instead, they are relegated to a small box on the side of the Posts page, which is accessed by clicking on “Posts” in the list of sections on the left side of your Page.
This means that most visitors to your Page will never see visitor posts. However, if there is a visitor post you would like people to see, you can share it to your page’s Timeline.
Honestly, this is not a function many people use anymore. If a user wishes to communicate with you, they are more likely to comment on a post or send you a message (see section 4 below). And if they wish to leave feedback, they are more likely to do it through a Review (see section 3 below).
There are two primary settings—allow or disable. If you allow visitor posts, you have two more measures of control. You can allow visitors to post photos and videos or restrict it to text only, and you can choose to approve or deny posts before they appear in the Visitor Posts box on the Posts page. Be sure to click “Save Changes” when you are finished.
If you are unsure whether to have it on or off, try starting with it on but enabling the “review posts” function so you see everything before it gets published to your Page. If there are no posts to your page after 3-6 months, it is probably safe to turn this off.
This setting turns on and off a visitor’s ability to tag people in your photos and videos. Tagging is primarily used to identify people that appear in photos/videos. However, it is not uncommon for people to use tagging as a way of sharing a photo (similar to commenting on a post with someone’s name).
If you post lots of photos with people from your church and community in them, allowing people tag themselves and their friends can be a big help. Otherwise, it is probably safer to leave this function off.
Others Tagging this Page
This setting turns on and off the ability of other people to tag your Page in a photo, video, post, or comment. This is a setting churches should have turned on, as it is a great way for people to spread the word about your church. When you are tagged in a post, your church name will appear as a link to your Facebook Page.
The one drawback to tagging Pages is that it is not as intuitive as tagging people. When you start typing someone’s name, Facebook automatically suggests friends that can be tagged. To tag a Page in a post or comment, users must type the @ symbol before the Page Title (ex. @Art of the Sermon). However, tagging photos and videos works the same as tagging people—simply click “tag photo” and start typing the church name.
A simple Facebook strategy is to encourage people to take photos at a church event and tag the church. You could even set up a fun photo station in your lobby or at an offsite event.
Be sure to click “Save Changes” after turning this option on.
Page Location for Frames
You can tell how successful Snapchat has been by the fact that Facebook has copied their functionality in both Facebook and Instagram. Both apps have a “Stories” feature, which allows users to post photos and short video clips that are only visible for 24-hours.
Many people use this feature to document their day, and users can even add the name of their location to the photo or video. If you have entered your address on your About page and have this feature turned on, your church name will appear as a location option when people are nearby. That location name appears in the photo/video as a clickable link that takes people to your Facebook Page.
This is yet another easy way to help get the word out. I would turn it on! And as always, click “Save Changes”…
Profanity Filter and Moderation
As mentioned earlier, because this is the internet, there is always the possibility that people will do and say inappropriate things on your page. Facebook offers a profanity filter with two different levels of sensitivity that can automatically block offensive content from being posted on your page or in comments on your posts. The Page Moderation setting allows you to add specific words not covered by the profanity filter that you will not allow on your page or in comments on your posts. Click “Save Changes” when you are finished editing each setting.
Banning People from Your Page
There may come a time when you need to restrict someone’s access to your page. If they are a current or former church member, it is generally a good idea to hide any inappropriate or combative posts/comments and try to have a conversation with them first. However, if unacceptable behavior continues or you are dealing with someone who is not connected to your church or community, it may be time to ban them from your page.
To access this feature, click on Settings in the top right and select the People and Other Pages category in the left column. Click the drop-down menu at the top of the list of people who like your Page and select “Banned People and Pages”.
Next, click on “+ Ban a Person”. In the box that appears, you can enter a name or email address. While banned people can still see and even share posts from your Page, they cannot like or comment on any of them.
To remove people from the banned list and restore their ability to interact with your posts, click the checkbox next to their name, click the gear icon on the top right of the list, and select “Unban from Page”.
You can also ban someone directly from a post or comment they leave on your Page. Hide the comment, as we covered earlier in the post, and the option to ban the author will appear.
The Reviews section is exactly what it sounds like: users can leave a starred review and add comments if they wish. Reviews will appear in their own section on your Page, with the most recent reviews appearing first. The average star rating will also appear near the top of your Facebook Page.
Adding the Reviews Tab
Reviews are contained in one of the Tabs you can add or remove from your Page. We will dig into Tabs more in Part 3 of this series, but for now, go to Settings and select the Edit Page category in the left column.
Scroll to the bottom of your list of active tabs and click the “Add a Tab” button.
Click the “Add Tab” button beside Reviews.
Turning Off the Reviews Tab
If you wish to turn off and remove the Reviews tab, go back to the Edit Page category in Settings. Click the “Settings” button next to Reviews, click the slider button to turn Reviews off, and click “Save.”
Negative or Offensive Reviews
It is important to note that you can turn Reviews on or off, but you cannot delete individual reviews. You are able to hide them, but as with hidden comments, they will still be visible to the person who posted it and their friends. You can also report a review to Facebook for potential removal if it violates Facebook’s community standards or has nothing to do with your church. Both of these options are available by hovering over the review and clicking the “v” symbol to the right of the post.
You also have the ability to reply to reviews. In general, it is good to reply to all reviews, even if only to say thanks. In the case of a negative review, it is especially important to reply, acknowledging that the feedback has been received. In some cases, it may also be a good idea to offer to discuss the issue further in a private message or via email.
Facebook gives you the ability to communicate with people through Facebook Messenger as the Page rather than as an individual. This option is helpful if you are not using your personal profile for public ministry or if you have a team of people replying.
When you have Messaging turned on, there will be a Message Button displayed at the top of your Page beside the Call-to-Action Button.
Turning Messages On or Off
To enable or disable messaging for your Page, go to General category on the Settings page. Click “Edit” beside the Messages option and check or uncheck the box. Click “Save Changes.”
To access various messaging settings, go to the Messaging category on the Settings page.
Facebook provides you the option to send an auto-response whenever anyone messages your page. This is a great way to let people know that you will reply soon. To turn this feature on or off, click the slider button beside Response Assistant. You can keep the default text or click “Change” to write your own message. If you make changes to the message, click “Save.”
Note: If you have messaging enabled, Facebook will display a rating on your Page for how quickly you respond to messages. This auto-response does not help your rating. Only personal responses sent by you or your team are factored into the rating.
If there is a period of time during which you know no one will be able to answer—like overnight or on certain days of the week—you can set up an away message. To turn this feature on or off, click the slider button beside the Stay Responsive setting. To edit the message and/or the times when you want it sent, click “Change.”
To specify when you are away and want the message sent, click the “Schedule” button above the image of the phone. You can edit the start and end times as well as click on the days of the week to add or remove them. Use the “+ Add Time” button to set up different times on different days. Click on the trash can icon to remove that portion of the schedule.
If you have Response Assistant also enabled, this away message will be sent during the scheduled away times instead of the standard auto-response.
Remember to click “Save” when you are done making changes.
You have the option to craft a greeting that will be displayed to everyone who starts a conversation with you through Facebook Messenger. It is not an entry in the conversation, so it will disappear once they send their first message, but it is a way to greet people or deliver important information they may be seeking (like worship times).
To turn this feature on or off, click the slider button beside the Show a Messenger Greeting setting. To edit the text of the Greeting, click “Change.” After making changes, click “Save.”
Have questions? Need help? I offer coaching for ministry leaders and organizations in online communication and social media. Use the contact form at the bottom of the page to reach out if you’re interested!