You’ve likely already heard that Facebook is a powerful tool for churches. However, one thing that helps you stand out is church Facebook images.
People enjoy images. Just think about the types of posts you engage with most on your personal social media feeds. Most of some type of image.
The problem is it’s easy to make mistakes with images that could hurt your church. Skip the mistakes, master Facebook images and boost overall engagement.
Images Aren’t Optional
The first thing to know is images aren’t optional. While you definitely don’t have to use them in every single post, you’ll want to use them in the majority of your posts. Social Media Today put together a list of statistics that make it easier to see just how important it is to use church Facebook images on your page.
Some of the more eye-opening numbers include:
- People remember visuals six times better than text alone.
- Adding an image to a Facebook post can increase engagement by 3.2 times.
- Infographics get 200% more shares than posts without images.
- The human mind understands an image in just a tenth of a second, but it takes a full minute to process 200 words.
As you can see, images are not only easier to comprehend, but lead to more overall engagement. The main reason is they stand out as people are scrolling through their feeds. An image quickly tells them what they need to know without stopping to read text, which they may not even do.
Including text on an image allows you to grab attention, convey a message and get social media users to stop scrolling long enough to read the text.
Skip The Stock Photos
Stock photos are wonderful. They’re easy to grab, resize and use for nearly anything. The problem is everyone else is doing it too. While you can use stock photos for background images, such as sharing a blog post and using a stock photo for the background for your blog’s title, opt for original photos for most of your images.
How many times have you seen the same smiling team picture on business pages that share content about team building? How about the two men shaking hands? Those images are everywhere and easy to just scroll by.
We’ve created a list of free and premium sources of church graphics. Just remember, take your own pictures too to mix in.
Master Facebook Image Sizes
This is probably the hardest part of mastering church Facebook images. If you don’t size your images correctly, they’ll look terrible. All this says to your audience is you don’t care enough to make your images look nice. It can hurt your church’s reputation and severely decrease engagement.
Facebook regularly updates size guidelines, so keep a check on your page to make sure your images actually look the way you intend. The guidelines mainly apply to your profile and cover photos.
Since these are the two images people often see first, it’s important to get them right. Plus, your church profile picture follows you around Facebook. If it looks bad, it could reflect badly on your church.
Louise Myers and DreamGrow both provide excellent details on sizing for all types of Facebook page images along with some free templates to help you out.
Pick Quality Images
When you’re short on time, it’s easy to get tempted to just pick any random image. As long as it’s pretty, no one will care, right? Wrong! Your church Facebook images must not only be relevant to the post, but look good too. This means you need to pick images that stand out, are a high enough quality to look good not just on mobile devices but desktops too and add more to your text.
Remember, you could spend a few minutes on a Facebook post and only get a few likes and nothing else. Or, you could spend an extra 5-10 minutes and create a post with the right high-quality image that leads to 50 shares, 100 likes and dozens of comments.
A post with more engagement means you can get away with creating fewer posts overall. In the long term, you actually save more time and prevent social media posting fatigue.
Use Pictures That Tell A Story
Do you know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? It’s true. Your church Facebook images need to tell a story. Sure, you can still use text.
That’s actually a common theme when it comes to sharing important announcements and blog posts. You choose a great background image to showcase your text. However, the image actually supports the text.
John Haydon offers some useful examples of the types of pictures that tell a story. His three main tips include:
- Show action
- Show a relationship
- Show problems
While he does warn against using simple pictures of people posing, those can actually work well for engaging your church’s audience. For instance, a picture of your volunteers posing together for a post that honors all their hard work definitely tells a story.
While Social Media Today focuses on Instagram for their post about storytelling through images, the post points out one very important fact – people want to build a connection. Another important note to take is that people do read the text that goes with an image. You can use your text to further your story.
This approach is ideal when talking about the needs of the community or encouraging people to do more good each day.
Make Sure Pictures Resonate
Storytelling is just part of the picture, no pun intended. However, the pictures have to also resonate with your audience. A meme might tell a great story, but if it’s inappropriate for your audience, it’s not going to resonate well with them. This means they won’t share it and they probably won’t follow you on social media.
One of the top reasons that a person engages with a brand or nonprofit is they feel a connection to them. When you’re reaching out to people for the first time, images go a long way towards building a connection. Not to mention, they make a great first impression for those new to your page.
Use images that inspire, are easy to relate to and show people it’s okay to be faithful. Most importantly, use your images to show your vision and mission are in line with your audience.
Don’t Use Them As A Second Thought
A common mistake churches make with church Facebook images is using them as a second thought. It’s easy to tell when a page is just posting images for the sake of posting them. Think of this as the easy way out. However, that rarely ever works the way you’d hope.
When users see these types of images, they feel your church might be the same. Instead of truly caring about your members and visitors, they see your church as one that’s just trying to get attention without being sincere about God’s word.
Take some time with your images. At first, it will be more time-consuming than you’d like. It’s a good idea to recruit some help with this part. Over the course of a few weeks or a month, you’ll start learning to recognize the perfect image. Odds are, you’ll even have a type of image in mind before you even start searching.
Just like with using social media, it takes some practice. You’ll be hit or miss at first, but you’ll get it.
Ask For Feedback
It’s perfectly okay to admit that your church isn’t a Facebook expert. It’s much better to admit that and ask for feedback than it is to keep making mistakes and losing followers.
So, point out that your church is starting to use images more frequently. Ask followers to please let you know what they think. Do they like them? Are they more likely to share posts? Are there types of images they’d rather see?
People on social media aren’t afraid to share their thoughts. So, ask and let them help you succeed.
Pay Attention To Analytics
Facebook page analytics are your church’s best friend. Not sure if your church Facebook images are helping or hurting? Check your data. Not only should you look at the post itself to check likes, shares and comments, but check your page’s insights.
Your page insights include all types of data about how people are interacting with your page. You can view up to two years of data. This is ample to see trends and see what strategies are working best.
One highly useful piece of information is demographics. You can see what demographics are interacting most with your page and certain types of posts. For instance, you might discover that locals engage more with event announcements while a more global audience connects more with daily devotionals.
As you start using images, pay close attention to how they’re performing. Give it a few months to really see how it goes. This gives your post time to be noticed and get shared.
Consider Your Profile Picture Carefully
The most important church Facebook image is your profile picture. Even if you don’t post a single image for your posts, you need a great profile picture.
This is definitely not the time for a generic photo or a low-quality, grainy picture. Instead, take a photo of your church. If you can ensure your church’s name is in the picture, that’s great too.
Another option is to take a picture of members interacting on your church’s lawn to show that you have an active church. The most important thing is to make sure your church shows clearly in the circular space that Facebook allows.
This picture represents your church all over Facebook. Make it great and you’ll make a great first impression.
Make Your Cover Photo Engaging
The second most important picture is your cover photo. You’ll want more of an action shot for this one. Since it’s bigger, you have more room to showcase your church’s personality. Don’t forget, you can change both your cover photo and profile picture at any time.
Take different cover photos for different seasons and holidays. Get your church staff and members involved. Just have fun with it and make it a true representation of the type of church you have.
Choose The Right Photo Editing Tools
You don’t need professional photo editing skills to edit church Facebook images. However, you will need to edit them.
You’ll often need to resize, change transparency, add text and even crop out certain things. The good news is there are plenty of free and low-cost photo editing tools that even beginners can use easily.
Hootsuite lists 16 such tools. Take some time to try them out to see what you like best. Then, pick a few favorites and use them to quickly edit all your church’s Facebook images.
Ensure All Images Are Legal
Even though people share their entire lives online, this doesn’t mean every image you find is yours for the taking. Many images are copyrighted, meaning you can’t use them or can’t use them without permission.
If you find an image that you really want to use, but it’s not free-use or Creative Commons licensed, then send a message to the owner to ask permission. Often times, nonprofits can get permission more easily since you’re not marketing a product.
Also, pay careful attention to licensing. In many cases, you can use images, such as those you find on Flickr, but you have to credit the owner. You can add this to your image caption.
Share Visuals From Others
Part of the reason that you want to use church Facebook images is so people want to share your posts. However, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break from searching for images and just sharing visual posts from other users.
There are numerous Christian leaders, pages, memes, infographics and more to check out on Facebook. Share their content to mix in with your own. Become the go-to source for all types of Christian content, not just your own announcements and blog posts. This increases engagement dramatically.
Not sure what to share on social media? Start with blog posts. Don’t have a church blog yet? Contact us today to get your very own church website and blog.