Facebook recently announced a well-publicized change to their algorithm that determines what people actually see in their newsfeed. The social media giant will now be giving more priority to posts from friends and family instead of content shared by brands. Likely, the move is an attempt to get people engaging more while also spending a longer amount of time on Facebook.
Knocking down the priority of posts from brands is frustrating for any of us who manage organizational Facebook pages. It already feels tough to reach the audience we’ve built, especially if we’re not willing to pay. But don’t get caught in a complete doom-filled spiral just yet. Here are some areas to consider that will still help you have a better chance at reaching your followers. Ultimately, Facebook is in the business of connecting people with the stories they care about seeing.
1. Encourage and equip members to share your church.
If the priority of your posts revolves around real people, your attendees are your best advocates (just like they’ve always been). One of the best ways your church can use social media is to create content that members can use and share with their friends on Facebook. It’s a low barrier of entry and a more natural way for people to see how your church is affecting people’s lives. Also, take moments to give specific examples to your congregation of how they can share your church online.
2. Quality, shareable content still wins.
At its main core, the Facebook algorithm isn’t changing. The more likes, shares and comments a post has, the better chance that it will be shown to more people. As you’re crafting social media content, keep these questions in mind: Who is your audience? What are their needs? How can you fulfill those needs in the most meaningful way? When you’re delighting your followers, they can’t help but share the content with their friends.
3. Consider adding more video.
Facebook itself will always have features the company thinks are important for the future success of the platform. This is where video comes into play. Senior leaders at Facebook have said in the future they could envision the newsfeed being solely video. That’s likely why the algorithm seemingly gives a preference to videos, and the new live video features. (Logically, this makes sense with the continued rise of visual communication and videos online.) If your church is using video, make sure you’re figuring out how to include Facebook in your strategy.
4. Know that ad prices could go up.
For many organizations, advertising on Facebook is an affordable option for reaching more people. In theory, if Facebook decides to give less priority to brands, there will be fewer ad spaces resulting in higher costs. There’s no proof of this, but it wouldn’t be surprising. This serves as a reminder that good communication plans have multiple platforms for sharing information. Going all in on Facebook can become a problem when or if changes like this are made.
5. Utilize Facebook groups.
While you need a main, public Facebook page for your church as a whole, Facebook groups are a way to create a more private communication hub for niche clusters in your church. Groups not only let you share thoughts like a traditional Facebook page, but there are also collaboration tools, like document sharing, at your disposal. Posts to a group have a much better chance of showing up in someone’s newsfeed. Facebook groups could work well for a women’s group, worship team or volunteers.
Jerod Clark is the communications consultant and project manager for Church Juice, an organization that provides free resources to help churches communicate better.