Ever wondered how the Facebook newsfeed works? As of 2019, it takes into account millions of factors when determining what appears in your parishioners’ feeds. But the three most important factors are still 1) which pages your parishioners have liked and followed, 2) what sort of posts they like, share, and comment on, and 3) the interests of their family and friends. You have the ability to use the newsfeed for good – the good of your parish.
You don’t have a lot of influence over number 3, so Nos. 1 and 2 are critical. The more ways you can encourage parishioners to like and follow your Facebook page, the larger audience you will have. And the more engaging your posts, the higher your content will appear in your parishioners’ feeds.
When creating and posting your own content, don’t make it passive. If you’re creating a Facebook event for this year’s spring gala, for instance, make sure you include in the announcement something that your parishioners can respond to. For example, end your event announcement with a question, like “What did you like the most about last year’s gala?” or a request like “Please share!” That way, people respond, and this pushes the event higher in every other follower’s news feed.
By doing this, you can get a “snowball effect.” a post gets responses, moves higher in every other follower’s feed, and the engagement continues. This is why some posts seem to do much better than others.
Here are two more ways you can boost engagement on your posts:
- Call to action: In your post, ask people if they will “invite five friends” or “share with two families in your neighborhood.” Make sure to keep these calls quantifiable. No one will respond to “invite others!” But “invite five friends!” seems doable.
- Tag parishioners: While you are writing your post, use the @function to tag certain parishioners who are also followers of your page. Anyone who is a ministry leader is fair game, as is anyone who is well known in the parish (a trustee, for example). This not only calls the post to the attention of this particular person, but also their friends, thus getting your post in front of a larger audience.
Mix and match these different methods in a way that feels natural to you, and you’ll soon see your posts are reaching farther and getting a lot more engagement. (Also, while you’re at it – get a social media team together at your parish to help you even further!)