categories: LifeChurch.tv, innovation, social networking, technology
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April 7th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

33 comments (+ Add)

Campus Facebook Strategy

We’re in the process of overhauling our LifeChurch.tv website, and I’ll have plenty of details to share about that in the coming weeks. But for now I want to let you know how we’re employing Facebook at a campus level.

Currently, www.LifeChurch.tv has individual campus pages with specialized content management tools for each of our locations. To some extent, this solution met the need of sharing information about upcoming events and campus-specific information. But the tools were hard for our teams to use, and it relied on people visiting our site to keep up with the latest information.

Recently, we’ve been shifting much of our campus-specific content to Facebook. As Facebook has grown (currently over 400 million active users), it’s become a place where more and more people are connecting with each other in a meaningful way—keeping up with friends, uploading photos, sharing links and videos, and learning more about the people they meet.

We’re just starting to roll out custom Facebook pages for our campuses. Here’s a look at the page for our Oklahoma City campus, and some of our reasons behind this transition:

  • Instead of forcing people to come to us (our site), Facebook allows us to go where they’re already active online. Instead of trying to be a separate destination, we get to integrate with their lives.
  • The outreach potential is huge. Example: we post  a baptism photo and tag the person in the photo who is getting baptized. The photo shows up on that person’s Facebook wall, as well as in their friends’ feeds, giving them a simple way to share their new life in Christ with their Facebook friends.
  • In addition to conveying information about events, classes, etc., Facebook creates the opportunity for community and connection. It serves as an online representation of the campus, where people can get to know each other, ask questions, and keep up with what’s happening in people’s lives and the life of the campus.
  • It reduces bloat on our LifeChurch.tv site and allows us to be laser focused with our content there.
  • We don’t have to re-create the wheel. Facebook is already accomplishing many of the goals we have for our campus communication. By leaning on their tools, it frees up time and development resources in the long run.
  • It’s free!

We’re also providing our teams with some basic and advanced training so they are equipped to get the most out of their Facebook presence and interaction.

Is your church using Facebook? If so, what are some challenges and advantages you’ve experienced there?

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Comments

there are a total of33
  1. 1Joseph
    Apr 7, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Love it. Great call.

  2. Apr 7, 2010 at 5:58 am

    YES, So excited about This! I am on board in LC Hendersonville, TN to help out! I can’t wait to see what God will do through it all!

  3. Apr 7, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Our church does not use FB although many of our people are using it (so I reckon I should say yes we are). I guess the real kicker is that I personally do not use it. Reasons vary but it is not a medium I use. I don’t Twitter either. Hmmmm what does that say about me? :)

  4. Apr 7, 2010 at 7:30 am

    This has been fun to develop and explore here on the OKC Campus. Using Facebook as a place for attendees to interact, go from being anonymous to being known, and communicating in real time has been amazing.

    We’re learning that using this tool to engage people is good when the goal is interaction. That means that every post or piece of content needs to solicit a response by using a question, asking for thoughts, etc. When using it is as a platform for ‘announcements’, there is no interaction. Now, we’re trying to figure out how to post announcements that are interactive - that result in some community interaction.

    I could go on. This has been a great way for us to amp up the relational connections with people. Have fun experimenting. And, we all know that an FB News Feed is a lot more fun to respond to than a mass email. Amen anybody? :) lol

    Scott

  5. Apr 7, 2010 at 8:06 am

    We have been using a Facebook page for about 2 years now. It has really worked out great because most of our people are on Facebook more than Twitter. We are on Twitter too but we have linked the Twitter account to Facebook so that when we “tweet” it updates our Facebook status as well.

    Is there anyone I could talk to at Life Church that could tell me how to make your Facebook page so customized? Your welcome page looks amazing!

    Thanks for any info you can share,

    Dustin

  6. Apr 7, 2010 at 8:17 am

    We have been using FB as a way for promoting events and other causes. It’s very effective for reaching and informing the younger generations who are usually there. On the other hand, for “older” folks, FB just can’t replace conventional ways of connections, eg home visits etc.

  7. Apr 7, 2010 at 8:25 am

    We have been using Facebook group and fan pages for our student ministry for about a year now. One thing you will be tempted to do is promote yourself or brand…. you will see that it doesn’t give anyone any incentive to join in the conversation. Tag people empowering them to share, creating content thru user inspired initiatives is the only way to drive people to conversation. The conversation will create community around the user.

    - Video contests
    - Event experiences
    - Team based communication blitz
    - the “@” soooo powerful
    - any outside site needs a comment on facebook box
    - a lot of people don’t know how to write links in their comments… links are a great way for times when you need them to go to your base site
    - eventbrite can handle event registration
    - what am i doing you’re lifechurch? you already know this.

  8. Apr 7, 2010 at 8:34 am

    “Facebook has grown (currently over 400 million active users)”
    Hello? Genious. I love it. Brilliant. Some pastors aren’t event interested in looking or talking about Facebook. So glad you guys are taking that step with your church and vision, keep reaching people where they are.

  9. Apr 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

    We basically run our church off facebook. All our team are on it through out the day…

    Not sure if this is helpful, but I’ve written a series of posts on how we use it…

    http://www.neoleader.org/?p=1256
    http://www.neoleader.org/?p=1267
    http://www.neoleader.org/?p=1281
    http://www.neoleader.org/?p=1323

  10. Apr 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    [...] We’re just starting to roll out custom Facebook pages for our campuses. Here’s a look at the page for our Oklahoma City campus, and some of our reasons behind this transition: (… read the rest of the post) [...]

  11. Apr 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Bobby, this is great. We started out a couple of years ago with a Facebook page. It was so limited in terms of what we could with it that I eventually created a full profile (which we are currently focusing on). Last year we redesigned our website and went with a wordpress based site. Our vision was to create a more online community aspect to what we do throughout the week. Through the Networked blog app I linked the website to the Facebook profile so that updates to the website auto posted to FB. What’s happened is that we get WAY more traffic on the FB profile than on the website. The website is still nice and I post most items directly to that allowing it to sync with FB automatically. Perhaps one of the more surprising things I’ve noticed through this is that the older generations are connecting quite a bit through FB. Whether its on our FB profile page or their own friendships and profile page. I feel that we are accomplishing more community through less effort on Facebook. BUT, like Dustin above. I’d love to about customizing FB like you have. I know that in the last year they have added more options for creating pages and such. Some tips and tricks would be great! Thanks again for sharing.

  12. Apr 7, 2010 at 10:05 am

    That is awesome I would love to know how you made the “welcome” screen on the Facebook page

  13. Apr 7, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I have to say that just earlier this week I was thinking about how awesome the integration is getting with LifeChurch & Facebook. I’m a LifeChurch OKC’er/volunteer.

    The integration is amazing. It’s fun. It’s interactive. This will bring the body of Christ at LifeChurch closer together.

    I think it would be awesome if we could integrate Lifegroups a little bit more into the Facebook system. Right now, I feel Lifegroups (for those who aren’t in them) are becoming somewhat hidden.

    How can we integrate Lifegroups into the campus Facebook groups and create interactivity?

    Possible idea: Just like the campus staff is shown on the “Dashboard” tab of the FB page…maybe we could have a “Lifegroups” tab. Similar to having the staff’s pictures and facebook links, we could have links to the leaders of Lifegroups. (If possible, I’m not sure if it is, make a “FB message ‘em!” box for communication)

    I think this would be a GREAT implementation.

  14. 14Zachary Foster
    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Hi everyone, I work on the Digerati team here at LifeChurch.tv, and was one of the key players in this project. I want to take a second and reply to everyone who has been asking how we built out our pages and where you could start.

    -First off, the Digerati team here at LifeChurch.tv built the two custom pages. Our pages have a lot going on behind the scenes to make them more then just simple static custom Facebook pages. We are pulling from a few databases to pull in our staff profiles, times, events, and current series information. With all this going on, we ended up going down the road of making the pages a Facebook app instead of using Facebook’s FBML (their version of HTML) to build out static pages. So figure out what will work for your needs!

    Knowing that not everyone has access to an internal team, I want to give you some options. First off, Google ‘Facebook custom pages’ and start walking through examples and what it takes to produce a custom page. Facebook has some great documentation on how to start ( http://developers.facebook.com/ ).
    Second, find examples that you like and look for a site credit. You’ll find some good companies that way. A GREAT example that we used as a go by in our project was Soul City Church’s page ( http://www.facebook.com/SoulCityChurch ) this is done by Monster Eyes ( http://monstereyes.com/ ) who have done a few other church projects and their customers have great things to say about them.

    hope that helps, and can’t wait to see what you all start coming up with!

  15. Apr 7, 2010 at 11:13 am

    We have a church FB page found at: http://www.facebook.com/GraceLutheranChurch?ref=ts

    We use it to:
    - post a follow-up sermon question people can “comment” on
    - have people RSVP for upcoming events (and invite friends)
    - post links to our weekly church email
    - post links when our audio/video sermon is online
    - post photo albums from ministry events

    Would love some more ideas on how best to use it.

  16. 16Bob
    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Due to boundaries I must have in my life - I personally can NOT have a FaceBook account. Also, at my job - they block all social network sites. Actually, one of the few “live” video feeds I can view is the LifeChurch Church Online experiences (yea!).

    Hopefully, you will take into consideration people that do not have FB access - and keep another portal open also.

    Just my 2 cents - and with inflation - that ain’t much.

    Bob

  17. Apr 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Bobby, We’ve been exploring a similar concept at the Y. The problem is, though, that not everyone is on Facebook. Do you feel this is limiting who can be a part? Or are you going to provide training available to everyone on the Web site for how to connect to Facebook if they haven’t already?

  18. Apr 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Would love to know how you are doing the Welcome and Dashboard pages as well. Our primary site is running on Drupal and we also have a very active FB page; but would love to enhance it by adding more!

    http://facebook.com/achurchforyou

    Thanks!

  19. Apr 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Hi there, how were you able to make your facebook page look so nice? Is there some customization software you use?

  20. Apr 7, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    We just had our web, facebook, and twitter re-done with a welcome page much like yours. http://www.facebook.com/riverchurcharcadia We are very excited about using facebook more to connect to guests and our own folks.

    For all those asking about how to do the custom welcome page. That was a little above our head, so we had it done for us. I would highly recommend the guys we went with: leprint express. Ask for Brian, he is awesome to work with.

    http://www.lpexinc.com/category/media-solutions/

  21. Apr 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Bobby…love how y’all are always on the leading thought and implementation of excellent web social media strategy.

    Facebook is the way to go for any church or campus to connect with others in an awesome way.

  22. 22Jimmy Hankins
    Apr 8, 2010 at 8:03 am

    What I find really fun about Facebook is it’s attempt to bridge the gap between the many faces we present to the world. Social, Work and Family. And now you all want to bring Church into the mix. As always, it should be fun to watch. Just remember; Network unto others as you would have them Network unto you.
    So, what are you guys gonna have your transparency settings on? See how I switched transparency for privacy? (grin)

  23. Apr 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    We have been using Facebook for about 6months and I love it our people check it often and what an easy resource to keep updated and to keep in touch!

  24. Apr 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    [...] I mentioned yesterday LifeChurch.tv is launching a whole new strategy to leverage Facebook Pages globally for local ministry. Above is one of nine training videos you can find at Open (Free Church Resources) and on the Open [...]

  25. Apr 9, 2010 at 9:51 am

    We only use and recommend Hester Designs. Mr.Hester has an amazing heart for the Lord and his work is award winning. They have a great ability to put social media to work far beyond our ideas. http://www.hesterdesigns.com

  26. 26Brent
    Apr 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    It’s not a huge disadvantage if you’re not on Facebook. Although you can’t post, you can still look at all of the content on a fan page.

    I was inspired by this post to give it a shot myself. Now our children’s ministry URL points directly to our landing page on Facebook (http://www.paradisechurchkids.com). Very little skill or special software required!

  27. Apr 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    We are exploring on how to expand social media on our site. We currently have some very active pages through community or staff starting some pages on their own, but nothing official. Personally, I use Facebook but I try not to post any personal information or have any personal pictures of my family on Facebook. I use it mainly to follow some communties I am interested in. I believe there should be a way for non-FB people to look at FB especially with reports of some people offlining from FB.

  28. Apr 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    [...] who for some time has engaged its people through social media and more recently through a fully Facebook-integrated website. We still have MUCH to learn, but are spending more and more time engaging people “where they [...]

  29. May 3, 2010 at 10:45 am

    [...] was first inspired to give it a try for our own children’s ministry after reading a blog entry from LifeChurch.tv that explained how they were using Facebook fan pages instead of web pages for their church’s [...]

  30. May 13, 2010 at 11:53 am

    [...] more is how churches and ministries respond. Many ministries (such as Lifechurch) have begun to heavily commit to using Facebook. I am working with two organizations right now who are considering heavy work inside of Facebook. [...]

  31. May 17, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Facebook is working for us BIGTIME. We also purchased a cheap URL that directs our people quickly to our facebook page.. Example… http://www.YourChurchFacebook.com

    Two way communication is the key!

  32. Jan 27, 2011 at 7:14 am

    [...] to find ways to ‘force’ people to their site they’ve focused their attention to become more relevant on Facebook. Why? Simple. They wanted to go where people are and not force them to come where they are. It’s [...]

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