Facebook has been upgrading its platform to give their users a better experience. However, as technology evolves and the demand grows, the options and possibilities are becoming endless.
There are several options in maximizing your page’s online presence. It could either be using groups or pages.
A Facebook group or a Facebook page serves different purposes. It’s leaves you to a question: What should I use? What suits my need best?
Find out as you listen to today’s Lunch and Learn episode.
Nils Smith: nilssmith.com
Casey Fulgenzi: caseyfulgenzi.com
Kenny: Hi everybody, Kenny Jahng from New York City with the Church Butler Lunch and Learn podcast. Today, we are actually doing a live Lunch and Learn with the one and only Nils Smith. Good to be with you here, Nils. Where are we Nils? Where did you take me to?
Nils: Well, our friend Casey introduce us to Burger and Lobster. So, we’re here at the Burger Lobster right at the side of Times Square in New York City.
Kenny: It’s a kind of surreal where this upstairs space, we’ve got to see our compatriots’ friends who actually might be our meal literally downstairs walking in and one of this nice private space upstairs. I love how New York City has these enchanting experiences, right?
Nils: We’re in the VIP booth. Just to give a visual as to, we’re sitting in the circular booth together.
Kenny: Waiting for a friend, Casey. And we thought that, ‘Hey, why don’t we just get the mic and do a real Lunch and Learn as we talk about some of the latest things that are happening. One of the things that struck me and prompted me here Nils is really what just happened this week and one of the things that has been a push over this last year that we’ve seen mark talking about is groups, groups, groups, groups. We know that churches, all these sub groups, if you don’t have groups, you’ve got to start now. Stop this podcast. Go start a group, we will wait, come back. But, you made a really interesting comment that I think many communicators haven’t caught on yet. And that is that pages and groups now have to be differentiated and they have different purposes. And so, I just want to capture a little bit about that as we partake in some Calamari here.
Nils: So, I think pages are really not defined and it’s even just the way social media has worked out. Historically, you’d use something like Hootsuite and you just push the same thing to Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and now, they’re being differentiated. You post certain things to Facebook, certain things to Instagram, certain things to Twitter. And in Facebook, you have things you want to communicate publicly to your page, internally into groups and then, maybe even directly through your Messenger Bot. Facebook now has so many different medias to communicate in different ways to different audiences.
Kenny: Actually, I had this conversation about six months ago with somebody who is asking, what is the difference between a group and a page? What’s the benefit of doing one versus the other? Some, you can boost posts, others you don’t. Some have privacy options and some of them, etc. But now, I feel like Facebook is finally getting back to basics and stone until I sorted all out, instead of just having this delusion of functions. But now, thinking about as Mark Zuckerberg said yesterday that we need to design for people first. Then, I feel like this differentiation is something that is people first mirrors how we are using things offline versus online. What do you do when you have a church that has a bunch of pages, maybe for different campuses, maybe for different ministries? Let’s just start there, like how do you manage all that? Do you need to consolidate them? Because pages are now turning out to be like the bulls and boy, the external place for people.
Nils: I think it’s hard to say because so many churches are so invested and they built audiences and so many pages and so it’s not black and white. This is exactly what everyone should do. Now, we will say, I think it’s probably good idea to minimize your pages. And so, if you had a page for your women’s ministry page, for your men’s ministry and page for your choir, then, you need to probably minimize that and shift a lot of those to groups. And that might mean losing that audience of say three to 500 that you’ve built over a couple of years. But, even campuses now, if I were doing a multi-site church, I would have one page for the church as a whole and I would have a page or a group I mean, for each campus. And so, I really minimize the pages. And then, I really think any church would probably just have one page, even if they’re a multi-site church at this point, but if you have other pages, it is a dilemma whether you should go ahead and switch to groups or how you shift that. I don’t think it’s a black and white answer, right?
Kenny: Absolutely, absolutely. The purpose and function of groups have changed, right? Because groups are being elevated that you’re going to see more content from groups than from branded pages. I say, you need to start thinking about how are you going to make groups ultimately really radically valuable to the people that are attracted to the groups. That cannot be just one too many publishing notices, information. But the typical church, what do they do? How do they get out of that to make a group really radically because you’re seeing the proliferation of… I don’t know about you, but I’m getting invited to tons of groups now because everyone’s taking up that advice is it’s necessarily start a group. But, then what? There’s nothing after that. So, you know, how people that are part of hundreds and hundreds or dozens and dozens of groups.
Nils: Yeah, I feel like the big differentiator in groups, it’s going to be more conversational in nature. And so, you know, I’ve a formula that we use most of our clients that is information, inspiration, conversation, celebration and connection. I call it the formula. I appreciate that, but it’s the conversation that I would say, you know, I think we’d probably take on the conversation post out of our page content. The most part of it could be inspirational or informational, but I don’t know that the conversation is necessary or even the connection. The connection is often like the behind-the-scenes kind of stuff because that’s things people in your group might be more interested in, that people publicly needed to be as aware of. And so, I think at the end of the day, in the group, to lead a group effectively, I think 50% of your posts should be questions to driving conversation. Our friend Dave Adamson has often said that about social media in general. I don’t know that I have always agreed with that. In groups, I definitely ruled out as much as possible.
Kenny: I try to disagree with Dave Adamson whenever I can. But, let’s go back to your friend. I know Alejandro just had a social church marketing summit and he mentioned at the recap that two things that he hears the most often across the thousands of emails he got responses is that people feel pressured, they don’t know what to post on a daily basis. They don’t have the time. So, you said you had this framework. Can you step us through just an example, concrete examples so that people have something to grab onto and actually leave this podcast with some good ideas?
Nils: So, the core framework is around information and inspiration and that balance. When I launched an online church in the Facebook page, that group, it was around inspirational content and essentially most people use Facebook initially, it was just a place to market. So, for an online church, it would be, “Hey, go to onlinechurch.com”, “Go to onlinechurch.com”, “Go to onlinechurch.com”. Well, eventually people ignore you. But, when I began taking pieces of our service and quotes from the service and Scripture Passages and administering to people, our engagement grew, and then when I said “Come down to onlinechurch.com”, those marketing tactics are much more effective. So the core structure is, it’s my belief and it’s still my belief, that the shift is that a minimum of 50% of our content should be inspirational in nature. So, this has no links in it, it has no action in it. It is literally just to inspire somebody. And so, for church, this is a quote from your sermon, this is a worship song.
Kenny: The Bible verses that the preacher used on a Sunday?
Nils: Yes, yes, exactly. And so, it’s honestly pretty simple and it should be easy for your church. If you don’t have enough inspirational content coming out of your church, I think you need to really question what you’re doing as a church, because the sermon alone should be able to drive that inspiration side. And then, we say a maximum of 25% of your content should be information in nature. This content should then have a link of the “Sign up for summer.”, “Make sure you attend our membership classes.” Those are informational things. People need to know the information in your church, but you’ve got to max that out. And I say max 25%, sometimes, you know, 20% is probably a good target and then you fill it in with Cs. Conversation, Connection and Celebration. I would actually say that I think the connection and the conversation going to move, I think the celebration is still very important because the celebration is what God’s doing in the life of your church. And I think it’s important publicly for people to see what, baptisms are important to us. That kids, you know, so many kids go to youth camp, that’s important to us, that the things that are important to you communicate effectively publicly. So, in some ways I think it’s really keeping that balance between inspiration, information and celebration as your core formula for your page.
Kenny: You’re almost leaving like modeling some of the corporate dynamics of your church life. You celebrate it.
Kenny: I love it. Now, some of the people that we have at Church Butler ask questions or come to the office hours, one of the biggest questions that I hear is ‘I want engagement, but no one. There’s all these workers, but they’re not commenting. I ask questions every day.’ What are they doing wrong? That’s what they feel like. How would you respond to someone who comes to you from that perspective?
Nils: I think one you’re probably asking that question is it’s a science, art. Maybe more than a science? Asking good questions? But, we found, too, the more shallow the question, the more likely people are to respond. And so people get frustrated when they’re like, ‘Hey, what’s the meaning of life?’ How come nobody’s talking to me, you know. You wouldn’t go to a social event and start asking me, what’s the meaning of life? What’s the most moving spiritual experience you’ve ever had in your life? Ask something from a church standpoint, ‘What’s your favorite worship song?’, ‘What’s a favorite Bible verse?’ What’s up, man?
Kenny: Hey, we’ve got our friend Casey from Redeemer Presbyterian Church joining us for our Lunch and Learn podcast episode. Welcome to the table, Casey.
Casey: Thanks for having me!
Kenny: Blind-sided by a podcast. We’re actually talking about Facebook groups and pages. Certain to say that how they’re differentiated and their different purposes. One of the things that we have been talking about is, you know, what people could do differently with a page versus a group. And, as we close out this podcast, I’ll ask your advice. One of the most common questions that we get is, we’re trying to ask questions. We’re trying to do all this stuff, but no one responds in our groups and pages on our posts. We ask questions every day, but no one’s liking. No one’s commenting. No one’s interacting. No one’s sharing. What would you say to a church social manager, just to say, how do we reverse that trend? What’s one concrete or one or two things that you want to suggest to them?
Casey: Pages specifically or groups or both?
Casey: Pages, I think is a big thing and it’s becoming more and more common now that a few people suggest it. I know we had a huge capital campaign, a little over two years ago where we raised $80,000,000 to help plan over 180+ churches in New York City. And that’s a huge goal. And so one of the main things we did during that was… We already have a big audience of people are already seeing ourself, but in order for that to go even further, we were asking our staff to share things. So, our staff should be bought into whatever vision or trying to cast on her social media. And so we didn’t make it a requirement. But anytime we felt there was something that was going out with her via video of Tim Keller going out and asking for people to take part or to take part in the campaign and give what they could. Anytime we’re doing something like that where we thought, ‘Hey, this is going to be a video that could reach tons of people.’ But, do algorithms. Maybe reach as many people as we wanted to. We would always reach out to our staff and I would send them personal email and just say, ‘Hey guys, here’s this video that we just shot. We want as many people to possibly see as many people as possible. Harris and I wouldn’t even do hyperlinks. I would just paste the link, like, “Here’s the Facebook link, here’s the twitter link, here’s the Instagram, go like, go share it if you don’t mind.” And that’s all it asks, you know. I mean, we have a staff of over 200, so, not all of them did it, but you’d have a couple of dozen that would. And the reach will go much further.
Kenny: I love that idea. To be honest, as a social media manager, you actually do social within your own team and relying on those relationships that you’ve built as well, which is great. And if you don’t have a staff of 200, in any church, there’s always the key volunteers or friends in congregations that are part of your teams that are there every Sunday that you can always ask on a relational basis as well.
Nils: Yes, that’s one of the things that has become more, more and more popular is actually trying to create a volunteer team around where there, what their duty is as a volunteer volunteers to go and re-share the content or like, and comment on the different social media. I think it’s a great way to kind of bypass algorithms and kind of take back and actually reach audience that we’ve already gained over the years. In Instagram, years ago, they did this and they called it, they would create what they call pods. And so, a lot of Instagram Influencers found that their content wasn’t reaching as many people as it used to. So, they have created what they call pod and it was basically just either influencers that were within that and they would message each other anytime the posts went up. And then, they would all go in like that post and comment on it and things like that. I think it’s easy for churches to do that, whether it will be staff or volunteer people to do that. It’s easy. Ask. It does help if you cast the vision a little bit and say, ‘Hey, this is why we do it. The algorithms in place that with your help we can reach more people or more people with this great message. And if you’re brought into the message and we’d love for you to share as well.’
Kenny: Awesome. I love that response and I love the fact that that’s your impulse to reach out relationally first, as we try to figure out these problems. Well, thanks guys. I think we’re gonna wrap this podcast episode up, as we enter into our surf and turf lunch, that’s the requirement of Nils Smith here. Every time we meet, we got to first-class dining.
Nils: First-class, always.
Kenny: We’ll take the rest of this meal offline, but thank you very much for joining us for the Lunch and Learn podcast. As we close up guys, can you just share your digits here, your social accounts? Where can people find and follow you for more wisdom as you guys shared here today?
Nils: You can follow me at nilssmith.com or add Nils Smith across social media.
Casey: caseyfulgenzi.com or Casey Fulgenzi on all the networks.
Kenny: Thank you guys so much. And take care. Catch you guys next time on the Church Butler Lunch and Learn podcasts.