This article on using Facebook events is reprinted with persmission from Christian Webtrends (blog.ourchurch.com) to edit for Christmas. It was originally aimed for Easter, but it’s just as true for Christmas.
The images refer to an Easter service, but you get the idea.
The original article appeared in 2011, and Facebook may have changed the exact procedure.
Details are below.
With social networking site Facebook, your church can take this same concept online by creating a Facebook event for Christmas. People in your church who use Facebook can then easily invite their Facebook friends to Christmas services using this Facebook Event.
Here’s how to do it.
Before you begin…
First you need to have a Facebook page (or group) for your church. I recommend you have a Facebook page for your church. The steps below describe how to create an event from your FB page.
By default there should be an “Events” section on the left side of the FB page. Click the “Create Events.”
Oddly, on the FB page for my church which recently created another FB event there was no link to create a new event. I had to go the to the “Wall… Info… Photos” tabs towards the top, click the + sign to add a tab for events, click that tab, and then click the “+ Create Event” button on the right side. Very cumbersome.
Step 1: Event Info
That will take you to the “Step 1: Event Info” form. Fill in the event name and optional tagline. The event type is awkward.
It’s a required field in the form, but there is no good fits for worship services. “Causes” doesn’t have any adequate sub-categories. Neither does “Music/Arts.” “Other” seems like a good option, until you see that none of the sub-categories there fit either.
I think the categories are only used by other people searching for events, and since the vast majority of people find out about FB events through an invitation from their friends the categories are really irrelevant.
Moving on to the description, I would strongly recommend your church have an official description for every event so that the description is the same on the website, the bulletin/program, and Facebook. Because FB Events only gives one start and one end time, if you have multiple Christmas services include the times of those services in the description.
The rest of the Event info should be self-explanatory.
Step 2: Customize
This form starts with the option to add a picture. I strongly recommend you do this. As with the description, if there is an official Christmas logo/graphic your church is using on the website and program/bulletin, it’s best to use it in the Facebook event.
Next there are a bunch of options. I recommend enabling everything. It’s unlikely that many people will post photos, videos, or links, but that can only enhance the event. Click the save button at the bottom of the page if you make any changes to the default option settings.
Step 3: Update Fans
If you click the “Finish and View” option, it will skip over one of the most important steps, getting the word out to “fans” of your church’s Facebook page. To do that, from the Event page click the “Update Fans of [your church]” link on the right side.
There are two important things you can accomplish by updating your “fans.” First and most obvious, you are getting a reminder out to them to participate in your Christmas services.
Second and equally important, you can encourage them to invite their Facebook friends to the Christmas services and give them instructions on how to do that. So, here’s the update I sent to “fans” of my church (Cypress Meadows Community Church)
Subject: Invite your Friends to Easter at Cypress
As you know this Sunday is Easter, we hope you and your family will join us as we celebrate our risen Savior, Jesus Christ!
Easter is one of the 2 times of the year people who do not know Jesus or are not connected with a church are most open to attending a service. So, we’ve created this Facebook event to make it easy for you to invite your Facebook friends to Easter services at Cypress Meadows.
Just click the link below to the Easter Services event. Then click “Invite People to Come” on the top right of the event page. It couldn’t be easier! Invite your friends so they can experience the amazing love God has for us!
Update the Page Status
Another way to make “fans” aware of the Facebook event and the opportunity it provides to invite friends is to update your church’s FB page status.
Go to your church’s FB page.
In the box labeled “Write something…” enter something like:
is getting ready to celebrate Christmas. Invite your Facebook friends using this Facebook event – http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=63598044471
This message will show up in your “fans” news feed.
It will also appear at the top of your church’s Facebook page.
Of course, change the actual link to the one on your page
Take the Initiative – Invite Your Friends
Last but not least, lead by example. If you are encouraging people to invite their friends to Christmas services using the Facebook event, be the first to do so and invite your friends.
I would suggest inviting all your FB friends who are already a part of your church. But more importantly, I would suggest inviting some of your FB friends who are not a part of your church. After all, that is what this is all about.
Let me ask you this?
Have you created a Facebook event for your church’s Christmas services? If so post a link here.
Got any other ideas for ways to use Facebook to promote or invite people to Christmas services?
The Easter version of the above article appears at OurChurch.com. The principles are the same.
Paul is a great guy to follow on Twitter and he sends out great newsletters.
You can follow him on Twitter at@PaulSteinbrueck