Problems with Facebook Pages for Churches

facebookAs I wrote a couple weeks ago, Facebook has made some big changes to Facebook Pages that will be a game-change for churches.  Theoretically anyway.

Facebook claims pages function a lot more like personal profiles now. Most importantly status updates, links, pictures and videos posted to an organization’s page are supposed to show up in the new feed of all that organization’s “fans.”  (Ugh! Can’t stand the term “fans.”)

Unfortunately it’s not working out that way for my church’s page.

Last week our senior pastor and our worship leader went to Haiti to visit the church and school we support.  They posted updates about their trip on the church blog.  On several occasions I updated the status on the Cypress Meadows Community Church Facebook page with a link to the latest blog post, but those status updates didn’t show up in the news feed for me or anyone else I asked.

I sent Facebook a message about this yesterday, but haven’t received reply.

Facebook pages also give you the ability to send a message to your organization’s “fans.”  So, this morning I sent a message to the 52 “fans” of my church.  I didn’t receive it and neither has anyone I’ve spoken too.

On the other hand, fans of the new OurChurch.Com Facebook page have been seeing the links to blog articles and announcements we’ve been posting there.

So, I have 2 theories on this.  One possibility is that Facebook doesn’t like churches.  Sounds a bit conspiratorial, but it’s possible.  Facebook says pages for different types of organizaions have different functionality.  The other possibility is that Facebook is having problems transitioning pages that were created before the recent changes.

If it’s the latter, the solution might be to delete the current page and create a new one.

Anyone else have a Facebook page for their church?  Did you create it before or after the recent changes?  Are things posted to the page showing up in “fans” news feeds?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

12 Responses to “Problems with Facebook Pages for Churches”

  1. user error always needs to be considered.

    ;)

  2. I know that have been some issues during the transition. Most likely your issues have to do with being caught in the rollover and nothing against Churches.

  3. @John – very true. Are you just busting on me or is there something specific you think I might have missed?
    @Larry – I hadn’t heard about issues during the transition. Can you post a link? That seems most likely to me too.

  4. I have a Facebook for our church, but I created it as a regular profile with a regular password. I didn’t use the Groups or the Fan pages for it because it doesn’t have all the same functions. If I want to send out a mass message to everyone, I could create a group for it and attach an event. Groups and events lets you send out emails to everyone in the group and message people who are already in your regular profile. If I want to have my personal facebook open and the Leaning Tree Church one logged in at the same time, I open one in my Google Chrome browser I use, and the other in either a Foxfire or Internet Explorer Browser. Since I’m “friends” between the two profiles, I can look back and forth easily to see if what I just posted from one or the other showed up and how it looks. Hope this helps.

  5. Christy, I did that for my church a few months ago too, until Facebook killed it for violating their terms of service. (Only individuals are permitted to have profiles.) I should tell that story here on this blog some time.

  6. Hjalmer Lamminen Mar 19, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Hi,
    It seems like certain things non christian do draw more attention.
    I had an ad for a Dani Johnson site.
    She is a network marketer and good christian.
    She tells it like it is.
    I was sent an email by facebook that I should not have such an ad on facebook, even though I paid for advertising, because they said they do not ike to promote any “hate” messages, so I removed the ad.

  7. When you tried to ‘message’ everyone did you use the personal message setup b/c when i looked at the pages info it says that ‘pages’ can’t message yet (no inbox) so it comes from the admin and looks like the admin sent it.

    I highly doubt facebook would be discriminating just your messages either, especially since other christian pages “have been seeing the links to blog articles and announcements we’ve been posting there.”

    Sounds like you should test the final theory you had about the update by creating a new page and making sure everything works on it (before scrapping your old one) just to make sure it’s not due to some downtime/technical error on facebook’s side.

    Note – how many churches is this affecting as the title of the article is plural?

  8. Hi Sarah, on Facebook pages there is a “Send an update to fans” link. I used that. I can’t say whether it might have appeared to come from me personally rather than the church because nobody received it.

    And just to be clear, I wasn’t suggesting that Facebook might be discriminating against Christians. I was suggesting that because Facebook has said that pages for different types of organizations have different features and because my observation is that the info added to the OurChurch.Com page (a business) is appearing in fans’ newsfeed but info added to the Cypress Meadows page (a church) is not, that perhaps Facebook has configured pages in the church category not to put info in their fans’ newsfeed. I still think that’s unlikely, though.

    I can only speak to the problems with my church’s page. Sorry if the title was confusing. I hope others who have created Facebook pages for their church will reply and let us know if they are experiencing the same problems.

  9. Hi Paul,

    Is this still the case. Seems to be a serious problem if ‘fans’ don’t get the updates – especially for a Church Page, because communication is key (and more important to play a ‘in the week’ role in keeping people on track – informationally and Spiritually)

    Phill
    [twitter: http://twitter.com/phillipgibb ]
    [blog: http://synapticlight.com/ ]

  10. I have observed a similar problem. I maintain the facebook site for a local chapter of a missions organization and have been regularly updating our status. I did see that someone “liked” the status update a couple weeks ago, so clearly someone must have seen it somehow. But none of the new status updates have been showing up in my feed at all. I don’t know if it’s because I’m the admin or what.

    I also wish I had the capability of messaging people rather than just updating them. That is the one thing that makes me wish I hadn’t moved us from a group to a page. Oh well!

    A side note — has anyone found out how to get the Page’s status updates to show on your org’s/church’s websites? I know it’s possible for personal profiles if someone’s using WordPress or Drupal, but haven’t found info on how to do the same with Pages.

  11. Hi Monika, thanks for your comment. I think I’ve found a solution to getting updates to show up in your “fans” news feeds. Post it a few minutes ago here:

    http://blog.ourchurch.com/2009/03/30/trick-facebook-pages-news-feed/

  12. I have also faced the same kind of problems before. Thanks for your solutions guys. Will surely check it.