With more than 2.7 billion people on Facebook, it’s fair to call it the social media "home” for many people. All over the world, users log in multiple time a day to share opinions, news stories, photos, and memories. All this traffic makes it the world’s most robust data marketing engine on earth. However, these pros do not come without several cons that your church needs to consider. Keep reading for pros and cons of utilizing Facebook:
PROS FOR CHURCHES
Everyone’s on Facebook. (Well, almost everyone.) If you had an opportunity to communicate your vision and message in a venue where everyone hangs out daily, you’d use it, right? That’s exactly what Facebook represents.
You can target your audience. Being a marketing powerhouse, Facebook empowers you to finely target your audience based on a number of critical parameters. Narrow down you audience by demographics, location, similar interests, and more.
You can stream to your Facebook page. We don’t recommend using a phone due to low-quality resolution, but you can use a live encoder like OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and hook up video capture device and camera. Your live streams are also available later on Facebook for your members to share on their personal pages.
CONS FOR CHURCHES
When you direct visitors to Facebook, you’re leading them away from your website. While interacting with your streaming platform, people will see the content you want them to, not Facebook ads trying to distract viewers. A lot of criteria goes into improving SEO, including: number of visitors, time spent on website, and video on page.
You’ll have to pay for the Facebook goods. The fact that everyone’s on Facebook and so easily targeted is only a benefit if you’re willing to pay to reach them. Facebook’s targeting pricing is reasonable, but should be taken into account.
You need to zero-in on your demographic. With any marketing strategy, you want to focus on providing content that your target audience is drawn to — but it’s even more imperative on Facebook. Since there are so many other churches vying for the same audience, you’ll have to be intentional about hitting a bullseye every time. Otherwise, you may get lost in the “noise.”
Copyright Issues. While a church may retain a CCLI video license to perform and stream copyrighted material, networks such as YouTube and Facebook are legally obligated to furnish a royalty to the copyright holder as part of their monetization system. As a result, auditing systems exist to identify copyrighted material. This can lead to a stream and possibly an entire account becoming limited or blocked.
ALTERNATIVES TO FACEBOOK
There are 3 ways you can get people to find out about your church:
- Traffic you own (your website, email list, podcast, streaming video)
- Traffic you control (paid advertising)
- Traffic you don’t control (finding you on Google or word of mouth)
You own your church website and email list. The content is yours. You may host it with someone else, but you choose what to do with your content.
Facebook and other social media platforms are not content you own. Facebook owns it. YouTube owns it. And they control who sees it. Facebook is something you don’t control.
The Facebook Censorship Concern.
There has been some talk recently that Facebook is taking down sermons. There’s no hard data to prove it, but we seem to see the same stories being told by different people. We do know that things like nudity or sexual activity, hate speech and graphic violence posts are detected by technology called "computer vision," software that's trained to flag the content because of certain elements in the image. Sometimes that graphic content is taken down, and sometimes it's put behind a warning screen. Users whose content has been taken down will be notified and given the chance to ask for a review; reviews will normally be carried out within 24 hours. This technology has been known to make mistakes. (example - historical photos and paintings).
The bottom line is Facebook has its advantages and disadvantages for churches. Choose wisely.
We’ve been helping churches for 20 years. If you need advice or help with your technology needs, reach out to us today: email [email protected].