5 Reasons Why I Say No To Creating Multiple Facebook Pages

If you’re involved in church communications, I can almost guarantee within the last month that one of these things has happened to you:

  • Someone asked if they can create their own Facebook page for a ministry
  • Someone didn’t even ask and you found out they created a Facebook page for their ministry

We all know that Facebook and social media can be an excellent way to promote, engage and encourage our audience. But it’s also something that we need to approach strategically, just like we would with any other ministry decision.

There are two types of strategies you can use for Facebook Pages:

  • Centralized strategy with one page that focuses on church-wide content, but also includes ministry content.
  • Scattered strategy that has one church-wide page, but also allows other ministries to create their own pages.

I know of some churches that are using a scattered page strategy successfully. I’ve personally used both strategies for managing social media for a church and have found the centralized strategy to produce better results. 

Here’s why my answer is almost always no to creating multiple pages for each ministry area in the church:

  • Hard for the audience to keep up with –  A centralized page makes it simple for your audience to connect with you and be exposed to all that your church has to offer.
  • Difficult to promote – Having one centralized page allows us to have one URL to promote for connecting with us on Facebook. Instead of diluting our efforts by promoting multiple pages, we can pour all of our energy into one Facebook page.
  • Limits potential reach – As an example, our West Ridge Church Facebook page has over 7,000 page likes. If we share a status update about a ministry, the audience exposed to that content is larger than it would be if we had a separate page for each ministry that may only have 250-500 liking the page.
  • Big responsibility to maintain – Is there someone who can daily commit to posting valuable content, monitor the page for comments and questions, and represent your church and brand well?
  • Not a consistent need – How often do you need to engage your audience with new information? If it’s not more than 3-4x a week, then you’re better off communicating that information on a centralized page.

So what do you do when a ministry has content they’d like to share, but you tell them they can’t create their own page? Give them a channel to communicate through your centralized page. I’ve done that through allowing any ministry to submit posts on our communication request page. If you need help with a system for communication requests, check this post out. This social media request allows a ministry to post their suggested content and a requested post time. It’s then automatically sent to our social media volunteer team to edit and add to the queue. This has been very successful for us. Now ministries don’t have the burden of maintaining their own page and our audience is exposed to content from across our church instead of having to find it across multiple pages.

Question: What has your experience been with having a centralized Facebook page or multiple pages for your church? Leave a comment below!

UPDATE: I’ve added some additional thoughts and context in the comments below to add to the conversation. 

 

 

  • Seth

    Thanks for sharing this approach. Great to share with a few of our churches that are going through the planning process.

  • A couple additional thoughts to add to the conversation:

    1) ANY EXCEPTIONS? I DO think there is a place for ministry pages for big ministries like Kids & Students. They have sometimes a unique culture and narrow audience, and having a separate page allows you to focus on that. They may also have needs that expand beyond 1-2 posts that could be used on a church-wide page. For West Ridge, we do have multiple pages for our Middle School and our High School, because they are reaching some people that have no connection to our Sunday worship experience, but are connected weekly in our student ministries.

    2) Our church is relatively simple compared to many across the country in that we don’t do a ton of programs or ministries. There are some churches that have a whole bunch of ministries, and the idea of having them all filter through one central page may be overwhelming. If that’s the case, go with multiple pages, just be sure to link to them from your central page and have a consistent strategy for how your church is using social media.

    3) One BIG reason why I’m an advocate for a centralized page instead of multiple pages is that I constantly see outdated and irrelevant church pages that started with great intentions, but weren’t sustainable with people owning them.

    4) One potential argument against a centralized page is that people are going to see too much content that doesn’t apply to them. I can understand that. But here’s two reasons why that’s a tension that I’d rather manage:
    •We continue to hear stories of people that see posts that may not apply to them, but applies to their family or friends, and they share that post. That’s a win!

    •The main reason why we manage that tension is that promotion is only a part of what we do through social media. Social Media shouldn’t become solely an advertising medium. If it becomes that, it won’t be successful. That’s why our strategy here is a weekly balance of Promote, Engage & Encourage.

    One thing I definitely know is that every church DNA and culture is different, and different strategies work better in some places than others. I hope this conversation helps guide you to what may be most strategic for your church.

    Would welcome your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Chuck Scoggins 

    Great post, Phil. I invite your readers to explore an alternative perspective on my post today: http://csblog.us/1147WSG

  • Melissa Horton

    I laughed out loud when I read this. I recently found out we had a “rouge” campus that had created pages for ministries on their campus! When I looked at them-they were all different too. One was being used for team building and encouragement; one for education and announcements and one had turned into a communication tool for absences and schedule changes. Whew! We are big on streamlining but we are giving the pages a 90 day trial. Because they had already done it-it is allowing us to see how effective they can become during the 90 days. Will they fizzle out or gain momentum? Emailing is so hit or miss with people anymore-if this engaged our teams more I was willing to consider their use. Super timely post for me!

    • I’ve definitely had some experience with the “rogue” facebook pages as well…

      It’s hard enough to be consistent and strategic with a centralized Facebook presence, let alone diluting that across tons of pages! I went across Facebook last night to see a couple churches that allow anyone to create a page for their ministry, and saw questions being ignored, pages not updated since early 2012, and very little following.

      One thing that I have explored and we’ve seen good results from are using Facebook Groups for the niche teams that need a way to communicate to each other. That may be worth checking out for some of your pages that didn’t pass the 90 day trial! 🙂

  • We’re in a similar situation, Phil. My church has a page for each campus, but due to our simplified strategy, we don’t have much programming during the week. Kids and students are the only exception where we allow a separate page (though our students page rarely is updated…).

    How do you feel about duplicating posts between pages? For example, our kids page posts a link to its weekly newsletter on their page. I’ve debated pulling in their content to the campus page in an effort to give us more to post during the week and build awareness of the page for parents who are not yet fans.

    • I think it’s ok to duplicate posts occasionally. What we’ll often do with our student pages or our Pastor’s page is to “share” the post to our centralized page, instead of just copying it. That way, we’re educating people that they can connect with that page anytime, but also sharing the information to our audience on the main page.

  • Carrie Evans

    Great post, Phil. I agree with you. Our church has a main page but we do also have a page for our children’s ministry. We have a huge amount of parents and families at our church and it allows us to communicate with them in a more targeted way. But I agree that creating multiple pages should be the exception, not the rule. Keep up the great work with the blog!

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  • emilycarlton

    Love reading the opposite viewpoint!

    Multiple pages seems to work better for our church. We have around 5,000 people each weekend, 60% or so are college students. While we always invite them to “big church” and our events, college has their own sunday service, Bible studies and events. They are sort of their own church. Many do integrate with “big church” and the church-wide events, but the majority do not, so we have a separate page for them. Same with youth and the singles ministry. We have staff members who are good about posting content regularly. All of our pages work together to promote church-wide events (at least to the relevant audiences) and liking/sharing each other’s posts. We should probably be highlighting the ministries more on the main page, though. Great read!

    • Hey Emily! Thanks for sharing your experience here. I think based off of your church setup, that makes complete sense. I do think certain groups/services/ministries sometimes require a level of freedom to connect consistently with a more niche audience. For us, we do that with our Middle School and our High School ministries. I shared a little more about that in the comments below. Great input, Emily!

    • Frazzled

      “They are sort of their own church.”

      That’s precisely why I think having multiple pages is questionable. We have had a problem with ministries such as our student ministry drifting farther and farther away from the church core, becoming their own church within the church. This leads to a disconnect from the adult services so that the students graduate from student ministry and leave the church. We’ve also seen attitudes of dissension in other ministries who view themselves more and more as separate from the Church. We want to see the church move toward more unity.

      • emilycarlton

        I see where you’re coming from. I can understand that it happens to many ministries and churches, and it *can* be an avenue for disconnect and dissent…. but that isn’t the case for our church, so I probably didn’t use the best phrasing.

        I did not intend to come across like our college ministry is “its own church” in the sense that they are drifting from the “church core” as you put it. Our church core IS college students! As such, there is very little disconnect between our college students and everyone else. They are heavily involved with everyone else, and everyone else is involved with them. I guess you’d have to understand our church culture to get it because my words aren’t conveying it very well. :-/ So, multiple pages really works well for us. I get that it doesn’t work for every church and every culture, though! Great thoughts.

  • Mike Miller

    Phil, you hit the nail on the head here:

    “Big responsibility to maintain – Is there someone who can daily commit to posting valuable content, monitor the page for comments and questions, and represent your church and brand well?”

    Wether it’s a stand-alone site or a Facebook page, ministries rarely plan for the maintaining of the site and it’s content. This is our constant battle with the different areas we work with.

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  • Christan

    Great info! My church began with an all church Facebook Group where members had to be approved and added by the administrators. It has morphed from a page intended for prayer requests and promotions to a community page where anything is posted (personal pictures, sales ads, complaints, etc). A Facebook Page was then created, so the church staff could control the purposes of the page. I am now in charge of managing these pages. Is it counterintuitive to keep the Group page? Should we let it be what it is, or does that conflict with the success of this new Facebook Page? Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Hi Christan! Your story sounds like what I inherited when I started as Communications Director at West Ridge. For us, I decided to get rid of the Group page so that we could put all our efforts in engagement on the Page. From what I’ve experienced, groups are great for smaller closed groups of people, but quickly can get off track with a broader audience. If you decide to keep the group, I’d just encourage you to try to focus the conversation and info on the page around the purpose of why you have it (such as prayer, event updates, etc.)

  • Jacob Hinchman

    This is a great site. We are trying to create a social media presence for our church youth and parents. We have about 400+ preshool – 12th grade. We are trying to figure out how to best reach parents (younger) and youth (older). Currently we are set up under individual accounts Preschool, K-6, 7-12. This leads to all of the problems mentioned above. Each of these groups use a targeted social media plan, We have given some thought to combing this into a single site with multiple posters, but have not found a good solution. What do you think?

    • With the audience primarily being parents here, I think merging the two pages makes sense. Many parents have more than one child, and it’s nice to see what’s happening throughout all ages on one page.

      If your youth page has the primary audience of just the students, then it would make sense to keep them separate. Just define what your purpose is on each page (geared towards parents, or students), and stay consistent on the type of content you post.

      • Jacob Hinchman

        Thanks
        Jake