Church Facebook Survey Points to Opportunities for Churches in Social Media

A recent survey conducted by OurChurch.Com on the subject of churches and Facebook points to 5 specific opportunities churches have to improve their use of Facebook and connect better with their members and their community.

Most respondents indicated they don’t think their church is doing a particularly good job with Facebook.  While those results could be perceived as negative, a closer look reveals some big opportunities for those churches willing to embrace the world’s largest social network.

  • 39% of respondents rated their church’s use of Facebook as poor (1-3 on a 10 scale)
  • 42% rated their church’s use of Facebook as mediocre (4-7 on a 10 scale)
  • 10% rated their church’s use of Facebook as good (8-10 on a 10 scale)

church facebook survey rating

1) Communicate More

Clearly people would like to see their church do more on Facebook.  54% indicated they would like to see their church post to Facebook more frequently, 13% indicated they’d like to see their church post at their current frequency, and only 1% indicated they want their church to post less frequently.

church facebook survey update frequency

2) Ministry Pages

A second opportunity for churches is for individual ministries to engage with people through Facebook pages.  87% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I would subscribe to the Facebook pages/groups of the ministries within my church that I’m involved with if they had them.”

church facebook survey ministry pages

3) Facilitate Connections

A third opportunity for churches is to help their people connect with one another.  88% of respondents said they use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends.  However, only 53% said that they use Facebook to keep in touch with church friends and what’s happening in their church.  The gap between the two – 35% of respondents – are people who currently connect with friends on Facebook but not friends from church.

church facebook survey friends

4) Evangelism

A fourth opportunity for churches is to encourage and train their people to develop relationships with those who are not Christian and show God’s grace and love to them.  Only 45% of the survey respondents indicated that is something they do now.

church facebook survey evangelism

5) Facebook Ads

A fifth opportunity for churches is to use Facebook ads to reach out to people in their community.  While the vast majority of respondents have not used Facebook ads (or didn’t answer the question), of those who have 54% would recommend other churches use Facebook ads vs only 7% who would recommend against them.

church facebook survey facebook ads
The survey was conducted between August 11, 2010 and August 31, 2010.  Results are based on 193 responses.  It was conducted online and not in a scientific manner, therefore results represent only those who participated.  You can view the full church Facebook survey summary.

If you’re interested in how the data breaks down by demographics or interested in comparing sub-sets of the data, post a comment about it.

What are your reactions to the survey’s findings?

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.

18 Responses to “Church Facebook Survey Points to Opportunities for Churches in Social Media”

  1. With the technology today churches have to move forward. A Sunday gathering is fine but what about the rest of the week. There are numerous questions which pastors have to deal with. this is where Facebook would come in. One queston is the events surrounding the RETURN OF JESUS.

  2. Not surprising that churches are under-using Facebook. The bigger issue, I think, is that churches are not using their websites well. Facebook is great, but the website needs to be the corner piece of the marketing effort. I've advised one church client to not get involved with Facebook until their website is overhauled. Ultimately, social media drives people online back to the website.

    My favorite church use for Facebook is individual ministries. It's a great way for people who share a common ministry bond to keep in touch. Sometimes ministries get lost in the big church picture, and this is a great way for them to build community. Thanks for the post. Keep up the good work.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Sep 10, 2010 at 10:57 am

      Thanks Chris. For the most part I agree with you, but I think things have been changing in terms of social media driving people to the website. I think churches would like to use social media to drive people to their website. But I think most people would like to engage with their church in Facebook and would be happy to get all the news they need from their church in Facebook without ever having to go to their church's website.

      • I think that is true. Although it creates a situation of haves/have nots when all the pics and latest news in in FB since those who aren't on (for whatever the reason) realize they are missing out or uninformed. Haven't solved that yet except to promote FB!

        • PaulSteinbrueck Oct 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

          Chances are people who are not on FB were not checking the website regularly for pics and latest news, so they're not really losing something they had. Instead those on FB are gaining something they previously didn't have.

  3. OK. Since you asked . . . I would love to see the responses of those not formally affiliated with a church. I noticed (on the comprehensive summary) that a large chunk of the respondents were pastors or other church staff, many of whom are also FB content creators that, presumably, have a heightened interest in using Facebook to advance church mission. I think it would be interesting to see what the "just user" group had to say. Because you generated a nice sample size a break down of this nature would be worth a look.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Sep 13, 2010 at 7:52 am

      Thanks for the suggestion. It would be good to breakdown the results based on the role people have in their church. I'll see what we can do about that.

    • True. Of the three churches we primarily interact with on Facebook. It seems largely a publishing/one-way communication from staff to congregation, OR indivs responding to staff/pastor and their response. Not the community owning it and using it to respond to each other. I'm imagining they are doing this on their own walls instead(?).

      • PaulSteinbrueck Oct 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm

        Mark, I see that a lot too. I think most church's still don't really get social media. They think of it as another broadcast channel, rather than an opportunity to interact. Churches that "get it" ask questions, ask for input, ask people to post pics, feedback, etc.

  4. The Mormon church seems to find value in online ads. I've seen them many times on religious sites.

  5. Hour Of Redemption Oct 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I greet you all in the name of the Most high Almighty God, and With much regards to you and your highly respected management, I on behalf of our church Hour of Redemption Church International hereby writing to seek for your affable assistance for the church.

    Please, I am the head pastor by name: Rev. Godwin Senyo Sogbo of the church, and here is the churches contact: +233-20-773-7039, +233-28-953-665, with our Registration number: G. 17.986.

    Please, actually we the church seek for your support in form of anything to help enlarge the church.

    The church is located near R.T.C park in Ho, i the Volta Region of Ghana.
    In the mean time, I wish to express my innermost gratitude and appreciation to you for all your wonderful and excellent priceless services that you have been rendering for the growth of various house of God in this world, may the good lord continue to keep and sustain you all for his work.

  6. Great post! I have found that many of the churches we work with use Facebook in two ways. As an icebreaker with unchurched and as an usher to the body. I have received more then once a letter saying a family has given their life to Jesus because they found them on Facebook. :) Makes me wonder if I should be a fanpage designer instead of a web designer :)

  7. Gretchen Hastings Jun 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Paul, can I post this article on our Florida Conference UMC news page in a section we call conversations? Let me know, and thanks,

    Gretchen Hastings
    Director of Communications
    Florida Conference, United Methodist Church

    • PaulSteinbrueck Jun 10, 2011 at 9:39 am

      Hi Gretchen, I'd love for you to post an excerpt from this blog post with a link to the rest of the post, but please don't copy the entire post.

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