Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year and Facebook is second to the largest social media platform (coming in behind YouTube), which makes this season the most strategic time to reach people digitally.
Before we get practical, let me mention that the goal for this article is to help your church achieve the following results:
- Reach unchurched people
- Give them a glimpse of who you are
- Help your members become mission-minded
- Connect people with an invitation to visit your church
There are many incredible ways to use social media in the church, but for today, let’s focus on the goals above. With that, let’s dive right into the four practical ways you can increase your Facebook engagement this Christmas season and invite more people to your church!
1. Photo-focused posting
There’s a difference between photos and artwork. Photos communicate who, and artwork communicates what. Both are good and should be used throughout the year. But Christmas is the time to ramp up on photos of your church family. And not just random photos. We encourage you to be creative. Choose a weekend service to capture some intentional photos of church members. Some ideas for photos could include:
- Greeters – Have them smile and wave
- Fellowship – capture photos of members enjoying coffee together
- Warm areas – Does your church have an inviting area like a fireside, lounge or cafe? Snap some photos of people in these areas!
- Smiles – Make sure people are smiling! A frown – intentional or not – speaks volumes to your audience online, and so does a smile.
We encourage posting your photos multiple times per week – even daily if you’re able to. People will NOT get annoyed seeing friendly smiles on their feeds.
If it’s a challenge finding time to post your photos daily, use the Outreach Social Scheduler. You can import your photos into your library and schedule them all at once in your calendar – plus keep track of how many people are engaging with your posts.
2. Selfies & Attendee Posts
One of the most effective ways to quickly reach thousands of people outside your own social followers is with spontaneous photos and selfies shared by people who attend your church on their own personal pages.
To encourage and promote this behavior set up a Selfie Booth in the lobby, youth room and or fellowship area of your church. It’s fun and families love it! A selfie booth can be cheap and easy to create – just find an area where you can hang a pretty Christmas backdrop, set up chairs or a couch, maybe have some props, and let people have fun! .
A few selfie booth design ideas could include:
Encourage families to take selfies of themselves, or you might consider recruiting a greeter to take the photo for them, using the family’s phone. Then, encourage everyone to post the picture on their Facebook page and include the URL link to your church website.
The reason this has proven to be so successful is because each person who shares their selfie on Facebook has the potential to reach all of their friends online. Lets just say that each selfie reaches 100 friends, and you have 10 people who tag your church in a selfie. You just reached 1,000 people!
3. Leverage Facebook ‘Events’
Facebook Events are amazing marketing tools you can use to reach more people in your community. The key is you’ll want to host at least one outreach event during the season then use Facebook Events to promote that event to your community.
Not sure what to plan? Here are a few Christmas church event ideas:
- Choir performance (great for online streaming)
- Christmas Story skit production
- Gingerbread making contest
- Get your picture taken with Santa event
- Angel tree, or other community outreach event
- Winter carnival (include air jumpers, carnival games, cookie frosting, etc)
- Gift exchange Christmas party
Once you have your church event planned, creating a Facebook Event for it is easy!
- In the top right of your computer’s Facebook screen click the menu button and then click Event.
- Click “In Person”.
- Add the event details.
- Tap Create Event
From there you can add photos, images or videos to draw people’s attention. You’ll also want to add your church address, dates and times of the event, and a way for people to sign up or reach out if they have questions.
Recruiting members to advertise your Event
The real secret to leveraging Facebook Events is recruiting help from your church members. This part is really easy, but does require a little prep work on your end.
Ask all your church members to get involved. Facebook is all about trying to connect people online and in person, so you want to ask your members to mark ‘Interested’ or ‘Going’ on your Facebook Event. Even if they’re not sure they can make the event, encourage them to choose the Interested option. When a church member shows they’re ‘Interested’ in your church Event, Facebook will alert those people’s friends who they think might be interested in it too. You’re organically advertising your Event to people without spending anything!
4. Tap into LIVE mini videos
Finally, the last recommendation for using Facebook this Christmas season is to use Facebook Live. Facebook Live videos are a goldmine for free advertising. Ever since Facebook launched their Live streaming platform in 2015, they have been in a race against companies like YouTube and Vimeo to lead the way in live streaming.
Because of this, Facebook tends to give more visibility to Live users, even more than if you just upload a pre-recorded video to your Facebook page.
How do you leverage Facebook Live for inviting people to your church for Christmas? Here are a few very successful ideas churches have used:
- Daily devotions – the simple act of going live for a couple of minutes to share a short devotion is both impactful to someone’s spiritual walk and for gaining exposure to more users.
One easy way to develop daily devotional content for the Christmas season is to use a pre-written devotional book and have someone on your staff go live each day reading that day’s selection. The new 30 Promises of God book is an inexpensive and powerful option- purchase the books and give them to your members then create a daily “read together” plan for families at home to join in.
- Church Announcements – even if you already have an announcement video created, borrow a segment of it and use it to do a short spotlight. Our friends from Story Church in Colorado Springs use Facebook Live to promote special events and their sermon series.
When Pastor Brandon Shoup does a live announcement, he tends to focus on one event, which not only keeps the video short but also communicates urgency and priority to that event.
You can visit their Facebook page by clicking here.
- Tour and Invite – People love to get a feel of a place before visiting, so when you do live video giving people a quick look at your church facility followed by an invite to attend, people online love it.
A simple script starter could include:
“Hey everyone! I’m standing in our church cafe where we’d love to connect with you over coffee and donuts. If you don’t have a place to attend this Christmas, we’d love to invite you to our Christmas Eve services. We hope to see you there!”
Increasing your church’s social media engagement and using Facebook to reach more people this Christmas doesn’t have to be complicated -just follow these steps and see if you don’t have an increase in online traffic!