So you have taken the leap and put your church out on Facebook. You have started to gather followers and you are posting regularly. But in spite of your best efforts, you have no engagement with your Facebook posts. But you are hearing:
- “I love all the stuff that you are posting on Facebook!”
- “Thank you for posting the sermon last week, I wish more people did this”.
- “Thankfully we had the events on Facebook it reminded me this week!”
So you know that people are seeing the work that you are doing. But if you look at the Facebook Insights there is no engagement! In other words, you are not seeing the same excitement online that you hear in church.
I think this is a reflection of a larger issue church’s are suffering from. People coming to church and walk out and don’t talk about it with their friends or family. With the power of Facebook, congregations can more easily share what is going on in their ministries. What I have found is that they just don’t understand how to interact with Facebook to make their engagement meaningful for their church.
How Facebook Works
Most of you probably have a good handle on how Facebook works for your personal accounts. But your church’s account is treated differently. The church’s account is a business account. And Facebook was designed for people to stay connected to people (not businesses). So what does that mean? It means that Facebook will not help promote information that comes from any business (church or otherwise) unless you are willing to pay for it.
Did you know that when a business posts an update only a small percentage of their followers actually get it in their feed? (For example, my church has about 370 followers but only about 85 people see a post on average) That is because Facebook is testing to see if the information is interesting.
If Facebook finds that the information is interesting it will continue to share the post with more followers. Eventually, if it is really interesting Facebook will show that post to people who are not currently followers (this is called organic growth – think advertising without spending money).
So what happens if Facebook finds that the content is not interesting? Over time, if it continues to happen, Facebook will decide that you are altogether not interesting and will limit who sees your posts (even if one is considered interesting later on).
So how does Facebook decide what is interesting?
Facebook Interest Pyrimid
In the simplest of terms – people’s level of interaction with the post determines interest. But not all interaction is equal. Think about the different types of interactions as a pyramid with the least impactful (but easiest to get) at the bottom to the most impactful (and hardest to get) at the top.
Selecting an emotion
We have all done it. We hit the like, love, laugh, wow or angry icons below peoples posts. And for a business, this is the first step to creating interest in a post. But its also the easiest! It doesn’t take much thought to hit that button. In fact, I know there
Facebook knows this is too easy to do. So while it’s a good start, it’s not going to get that organic reach we need.
Commenting on a post
To comment on a post takes time, effort and thought. Facebook will reward your hard work by identifying that your post is interesting. The more people who comment the more interesting the post must be!
Bonus points! If you really want to use the commenting well, start a conversation with someone else who is also commenting.
Sharing a post
The next step in the engagement pyramid is to share that post with your network or within other groups that you follow. For example, the church I work with has several town Facebook groups. I belong to all of them and will frequently share events and services that I want to gain attention to.
This type of engagement is highly valued by Facebook because by sharing the content you are putting your own stamp of approval on it. Bonus points if you include a comment
Sharing a post in a private message
This is considered to be the most powerful type of engagement in Facebook. When a post you have seen is so meaningful that you feel you need to share it personally with someone in messenger rather than with your entire network.
What does this mean for your ministries?
If your congregation begins to interact with the content that you are sharing, then Facebook will believe that you are interesting. If you are interesting, Facebook will share your posts with people who are
Ultimately it means that God’s message and the ways in which we show God’s love to the world will start to reach beyond our church walls. As that message grows hopefully it will lead to more people coming to see what you are all about for themselves.