In May of 2011, the 8BIT Network was merged into one single property that you now know as, ChurchMag.
The 8BIT Network was essentially five different blog properties of varying interests: ChurchCrunch, ChurchCreate, ChurchIT, ChurchDrop, ChurchCode and ChurchCMS — all under the umbrella of the 8BIT Network.
When the merge was made, the 8BIT Network Facebook Page was immediately null and there was nothing we could do about it. Facebook doesn’t allow Page name changes once you hit a particular number of followers. Since the 8BIT Network was just over 1,000, there was no way we could change our name to ChurchMag.
The policy makes sense. Can you imagine someone creating a Facebook Page for something like, “People Who Love the Color Blue,” and then after it reached a thousand Likes, changed the name to, “People Who Like to Kill Puppies”?
So, yeah, it’s a good policy.
After the Switch
Immediately after the switch, we created the ChurchMag Facebook Page and began building it up from scratch. At first, we would send the classic message on the 8BIT Network Page: “We’ve moved to ChurchMag — Give us a like!”
This was found to be more frustrating than helpful. Do you know how many people “Liked” the message and not the ChurchMag Facebook Page?
During this initial phase, Brian Nicholson emailed me asking about it. His church needed to change their Facebook Page name, but ran into the same problem. His church, like ChurchMag, had to begin building from scratch. Brian asked for some tips.
At that point in the game, I didn’t know what to say, since we hadn’t had much experience at it, yet.
Now that it’s been over a year and the ChurchMag Facebook Page is moving in on 650 Likes, I actually feel like I can talk about.
Here are a few things that I found to help:
- Leverage other social media streams
Thankfully, ChurchMag has a strong Twitter following. I have made some tweets about Facebook — but don’t over do it! My favorite tweet is something like, “Help us reach 400 Facebook Likes!” or “The person who gives us our 500th Like, gets a high five!”
- Don’t overuse it
Since a lot of our Facebook followers are also readers, it’s important not to share everything we publish. Think about your Facebook audience and ask yourself, “Do they want to read this?” The same goes for churches. If you jam-up your feed with too much info, you’ll get ignored — or worse — blocked.
Do your best to reply when someone leaves a message, just as you would with blog comments and emails. Also, using the Facebook Poll option hidden under “Event, Milestone +” is a cool way to stir up some interactivity on your Facebook Page.
Make sure you’ve got Facebook links in your email newsletter and on your website. Make it easy for people to “Like” you, and the Facebook widget code will let the person visiting your website know if they’ve “Liked” you before or not. You can also think of creative ways to push people from your website to your Facebook Page. For example: Facebook Friday and posts like this one!
Finally, as I’ve shared on ChurchMag before, it’s going to take time and hard work. There is no magic solution. I have, however, found that once you hit a particular number of Facebook Likes, the number seems to gradually build all on its own. Even still, it’s a good idea to keep prodding it along if you want to build it back up, as in our case, to 1,000.
If you have heard of a magical solution or read-up on the top 10 tactics, be sure to keep this in mind at all times:
Keep it real.
Having a lot of Facebook Page Likes doesn’t really mean anything or do you a lot of good, if they’ve just been tactically driven to help you with your Facebook numbers.
An organic community will always benefit you more.
What have you found to help re-build a Facebook Page? I would love to hear about it!