By Jonathan Howe
Yes, I realize it’s not yet November, and I’m writing about Christmas. But I’m not advocating to erect a manger scene in the front yard or to begin playing Christmas music around the house.
This post is about planning for Christmas. Hopefully your church already has a plan in place for your Christmastime services this year. With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, some churches will alter their regular schedules, and some won’t. But how can you leverage your church Facebook page to engage as many people as possible with the good news of the birth of Christ? Here are five simple ways:
- Switch to Christmas-Themed Facebook Images. Simply change your header and Facebook profile picture to promote your church’s Christmas theme. With the new image locations on Facebook pages, your entire header image now can be used to promote dates and times of your major Christmastime events and services. These slight image changes will help draw attention to the events your church is hosting at Christmas.
- Use Facebook Events for Church-wide Christmas Events. If your church is having a cantata, a special night of caroling, a birthday party for Jesus, a Christmas Eve service, or a special Christmas Day service, set up a Facebook event for the event. Invite core leaders in the church that are involved in the event and ask them to share the event on their Facebook profile as well. This is a great way to promote church events to those in the community for free.
- Utilize Facebook Advertising. Facebook ads and promoted posts are the best way for you to inform your local community about church functions. Unchurched neighbors, friends, and acquaintances are the most receptive to an invite to a church event during the holiday season. Use this to your advantage and promote what your church is offering during the holiday season. Even a limited budget can be effective when you select your target audience wisely.
- Stream Events or Parts of Events on Facebook Live. Does one of your small groups or Sunday school classes go caroling every year? Send someone with them and stream the caroling using Facebook Live. Consider streaming dress rehearsals of your Christmas cantata over Facebook Live. Do you host a living nativity? Stream the setup and preparation or even the actual event to help promote it. With all that is going on around churches at Christmastime, there are likely to be several opportunities for you to use Facebook Live.
- Share Images for Advent Devotions. You can create simple images for each advent theme (Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love) and post them to Facebook. These serve as great reminders of the coming Christ and will encourage your church members to live out those themes daily. Bonus: If you’re looking for a book to use as an advent guide, The Expected One is a great resource to consider.
We are less than 10 weeks from Christmas and less than six weeks until the beginning of Advent. You still have plenty of time to plan for the Christmas season. I encourage you to consider how you can use each of these five examples to help your church reach more people in your community as you celebrate the birth of Christ.
Does your church already use any of these? What else does your church do on Facebook for Christmas?
We do most of the above but do you know when FB live will be available for everyone? That’s our next step but it’s not available. Thanks for all the great insight brother!
It is already available for everyone via a mobile device. Click to post a new update then look at the icons at the bottom. You’ll see the “Live” icon.
We’ve tried that and made sure to register our page to get the “magic” check mark on it also but still no FB live option when we try to post a new update. I wasn’t sure if they were releasing it to everyone or just selectively.
It would be good if churches also emphasize that Christmas Day is beginning of the Christmas celebration and not the end as the world has changed it to be.
I wish my local church would USE facebook…
We have multiple events and schedule changes through Christmas & New Years. I’m thinking through the following options. Could you weigh in on these options?
– Create single Facebook events for each date and time (even if the event is repeated).
– Promote the events with individual campaigns
– Create single Facebook events for each date and time (even if the event is repeated), but do not promote these through ads.
– Create a post with a photo or graphic that lists all of the event dates and times in the post. Promote that post.
– Lure Jonathan Howe away from Thom Rainer with a lifetime supply of pizza so I never have to think about my social strategy again.
I appreciate your thoughts,