It should be both!
For a long time there has been a bit of a war/struggle between should one use a Facebook Group or a Facebook Page for your Church’s Facebook presence. Each have their pros and their cons and we need to better understand what these differences are and how they impact Church communication’s strategy.
In part 1 of the series, we looked at WWW Visibility and Branding. In part 2, we looked at the whole Notifications aspect. In part 3, we looked at Engagement. In part 4 we looked at Privacy. And now in this fifth and final installment, we’ll be taking a look at a proposed combined Page and Group solution.
What is the solution?
Any Social Media strategy must form an integrated and interrelated part of your Church’s overall communications strategy. It is not and must not be only a nice thing to have that the youth and young adults play with from time to time. As technology advances, people use an ever changing array of technological means and methods. The Church must stay abreast of these and do its best to accommodate its changing congregation – because they are changing, whether technologically or in age. As such, a Social Media presence and strategy is dependent on all of your various strategies, including your SEO (search engine optimisation) and WPO (web presence optimisation) strategies. One cannot focus on the one at the detriment of the others. Yet it may be that your specific situation will benefit from a particular approach (and associated tool).
I believe though that a good Church communication strategy will (must) include both Pages and Groups. Certain content will be pushed via the Page, with other content being pushed via the Group. Sometimes, there may even be a duplication of content.
As an example, use your Facebook Page to push outreach oriented content such as sermon excerpts, Bible verses, and public notices or invites. This is the type of information that you want shared by your Page Fans to their Profile Friends. Use your Facebook Group to push content that must necessarily reach all its members such as important notices, sermon downloads availability, key questions.
The best Church communication strategy would have a single Church Page and then multiple Groups that focus on various facets of the Church and its ministries. As such, one may have a Group for all Church members for important Church wide notifications, and another Group for just Bible study leaders. In this way, relevant and important information will reach the right people.
Ultimately, it is not the one or the other, but both. Just differently.