Facebook Changes and Your Church Page

Facebook is making changes that may affect your communication on Facebook!

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Facebook recently announced a major change to the way businesses (and churches) are considered in people’s Facebook ‘Newsfeeds’. Here’s a brief summary:

  • They want people to see more content from their friends, not businesses ‘selling stuff’.
  • People now need to ‘opt-in’ to guarantee seeing your Facebook Page posts.
  • You may want to allow a small amount of budget for Facebook IF it is vital to your communications strategy.
  • It’s not all bad news – there are things you can do to get around this!

Wait, so how will this affect my church page?

Facebook Pages are generally for businesses. They are not what Facebook was created to do – connect people. Mark Zuckerberg announced some large-scale changes in January 2018 that essentially mean that people will be seeing a lot less content from pages and businesses that they follow, in favour of stuff from friends.

In short, if you use a Facebook Page to communicate with your congregation as a church, it’s about to get a bit more complicated. The people who follow your page will not necessarily see your Facebook posts as much as they used to. And it’s pretty universal!

The evidence

At Kingdom Comms we are a collective of marketers, designers and PR consultants, and since Facebook announced the changes we noticed our own ‘Paid for’ advertising-return absolutely nose-drive! It doesn’t appear to have affected Instagram (which is often included in Facebook advertising) – but it’s had a pretty drastic effect on Facebook. This is to the point that in a professional capacity we’ll be advising either to allow more budget for Facebook advertising or to come up with an alternative strategy (and with GDPR around the corner, it’s not a bad time to have a re-think).

So, what can we do about it?

1. Get your church to actively ‘follow’ your page.

The first step is simple. You need to get your page followers to “Follow” your page. Underneath your Facebook ‘Cover Photo’ is a box saying ‘Following’. If users click on this, they can choose ‘See First’. This goes a long way to making sure they see your page.

Of course, like most things, many people with see this relatively simple step as ‘complicated’ and may opt not to do it. And, another odd consideration is that telling your users to do this via Facebook may not actually help – as people who like your page may not see this post! But, we advise you do what you can.

Get followers to "See First" your posts!

2. Review your Social Media strategy

Some of you reading this will think “we don’t have a Facebook strategy!”. Fair enough. It cannot be a priority for every church. We advise you give a bit of time to ask your congregation the ‘best way’ to contact them. You may find email is still surprisingly popular, or maybe Instagram is the way forwards. But without asking, you will never know! But the question is this: “Is Facebook working for us? Is it worth giving budget to?”.

If the response is “yes, it’s worth it!”, then find a way to use some¬†budget for boosting posts. But do this carefully – boost only the most important pieces of news.

3. Open a Facebook Group

Some people love Facebook groups, others hate them. At our own church (Central Vineyard – around 300 people), we operate a Facebook page for the general public and also a Facebook Group which we invite people to once they register their interest in the church. A group is more likely to successfully get a message across. If you already have a group, you can copy the Page Post to your Group too, and measure the reaction difference.

Further Developments Afoot

There are some reports that Facebook will soon be introducing two “feeds” on Facebook. One is much like the current Newsfeed, and the other would be an “Explore” feed, which shows people what their Pages etc are posting. If this happens, this may help the situation – however, it’s a bit like carefully checking your email spam folder – not everyone does it!

If you have any questions about using Facebook for your church communications, feel free to get in touch with us on our contact page.

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