Font Size » Large | SmallI’ve been asked my many church leaders to share some best practices regarding their ministry and Facebook. We have talked about what the difference between a logo and a brand is. Now I’d like to start talking about ways you can use Facebook to enhance the brand of your ministry. When using Facebook, you’ll soon notice the two ways to communicate to specific sets of people: Groups and Pages. So the question now is, which one do you use? The short answer is both. However, before you go out and duplicate all your posts, let’s talk about how you might use both. I’m not the “end-all-be-all” to decide how you utilize Facebook for your ministry, but the following thoughts may help guide how you brand your ministry effectively. Before we talk about Facebook, let’s talk about your ministry. I’m going to venture to say that usually on Sunday mornings you gear a lot of your communication from the platform to a general audience. You’re aware that there may be guests out there, seekers, church members, young, old, and the guy who only comes for the potluck after service. You probably won’t preach a lesson that is too “surfacey”, or too deep. You probably won’t gear your message to teenagers, and probably not to senior citizens from the pulpit on a Sunday morning. You’re preaching a general message about any given topic so that as many people can glean something from it as possible. In other words, it may be a specific topic but it’s not geared to a specific group. On the flip side, let’s talk about your Wednesday night service, small groups, or Sunday school lessons. These groups are usually a little more specific. Your Wednesday night crowd is usually your core, the leaders, the committed. You feel more comfortable to focus your message to them. In Sunday school classes or small groups, your message is even more direct. You’re speaking specifically to a certain age, grade, or gender of people. In smaller audiences like these, you need to narrow your message to fit your audience. So let me say it like this: Facebook Pages are like your Sunday morning message from the pulpit, and Facebook Groups are like your Wednesday night or Sunday school lessons. Communicate to general audiences via your “Page” and specific audiences via your “Groups.” PAGES Your church’s Facebook Page should be your main tool in posting to a general audience. I don’t like Groups for this, because usually you have to be asked to join or approved to join Groups. This is not the message you want to convey to people — would they also have to be approved to visit your church? There’s also a technical reason to use your Facebook Page as your main communication venue. Facebook will give you code to place into your church (or any) website to connect with more and more people! You’ve probably seen them before. Here’s what they look like (they will be more accurate if you’re currently logged into Facebook). You’ll notice they are interactive; you can like our page from this article: The ‘Like’ Box: and The Like Button: You can place the code for these two buttons on any website and allow new people to connect with your Page without needing to actually go and find you on Facebook… they can connect with your church right then, right there. Facebook Groups don’t allow you to do this. You can also analyze your audience with the “Insights” feature Facebook Pages provide. Read more about that here. GROUPS Groups are also an effective communication tool, but only if you’re trying to communicate to a specific group. If I was going to use Groups for my church, I would create a group for the Women’s Ministry, Children’s Ministry, any outreach team, or to communicate to my volunteers who run the tech or parking lot duties. Groups will leave those group members a notification as if someone wrote on their timeline, or tagged them in a photo. Facebook Pages will not do this, they will only place your post in the news feed for those who are connected to your page. Another great feature of Groups is that you can upload files to the Group page. This is great for getting a file to all your Group members at once rather than emailing it. Imagine uploading the registration forms for camps or other events for parents, or the small group schedule for download by respective parties. If you are currently using a Group, and would like to start using a Page, don’t worry. Create your Page and then post a message similar to this on your Group page: Hey everyone! Example Church is moving all our general communication to our new Facebook Page! You will no longer receive updates here, and if you would like to continue to receive them you can find us here: LINK Like I said, I don’t have the corner market on how you have to use Facebook to reach people, but this is a good plan to consider in your overall communication and branding process. You should do your best to be as effective as you can in reaching people. Following this plan will allow you to leverage Facebook easily, and eliminate duplicating posts on both a Facebook Page and a Facebook Wall.