Every so often, I hear those who are trying to use Facebook for ministry lament the fact that their followers do not engage with the Facebook posts in a conversational way. They do not answer questions that are posed and rarely comment. The ministers wonder if they are wasting their time because they think that Facebook is for conversations.
A Facebook Page for your parish, diocese, religious community or ministry helps bring awareness of your group to the larger community and provides a social network for your followers. It is a community builder/supporter more than a conversation place. Through your Facebook page, you bring your followers some news, inspiration, insight and encouragement for living the Gospel and/or carrying out the ministry or charism they share with you. The quality of your content, that is whether it actually informs, inspires, and helps followers in a positive way, determines if you will get new followers and how long they will stay with you.
If you are expecting “conversations,” most likely you will be disappointed. However, you can measure engagement in other ways:
- Are you getting new followers weekly or monthly?
- Is the average reach (that is the number of views) of your posts increasing over time?
- Is the average engagement through likes, comments and shares growing?
Everyone can see how many followers you have. If the number of followers has not increased at all for a period of time, your Page is probably not that helpful or you have exhausted the possible number of followers available in your niche. You need to promote your Page wherever possible and you may want to use Facebook ads to get more Likes as well.
If you are the Administrator of your Facebook Page, you can go to Insights (The link is on the white menu bar above your Cover Photo. Your page must have more than 30 Likes to get Insights) and see what your average “reach” and “engagement” are over a period of time. You will also see how individual Posts are doing—how many people view them and how many people like, share and comment on them. Find the Posts that get the most views and the most engagement and try to do more like those. There is also a place where you can compare your Page with the Pages of your peers. I like this. It gives some perspective. To learn more about Facebook Insights, click here.
If your numbers are static or consistently declining, you need to upgrade the quality of your content and/or provide more posts that delight your followers. This takes work.
Here are some hints for increasing reach and engagement on your Facebook Page:
- Upload your own short videos directly to Facebook periodically throughout the year. (This means you have to create them or have them created for you.)
- Try to include photos or images with your posts as these generate more engagement than those without. Photos of members celebrating anniversaries or at parish/community events or activities are often a big hit.
- Create and post meaningful picture quotes whenever you can
- Post at least 3 times a week—any less and the networking aspect weakens and people lose interest.
- Be sure that most of your content adds value to the lives of their followers, less promoting events you want them to attend or things you want them to buy. Occasional promotions are okay, but if your site is mostly promotions, your followers will start ignoring you.
- Post links to good content from other pages that your followers may find helpful.
- Post a variety of media over the course of a week or month: videos, photos, picture quotes, links and text only posts to keep your page from getting boring.
- Post according to your mission. Read the last 10 posts on your Facebook Page. Overall what impression do they give of your parish/community/ministry? Is that the impression you want to make? If not, change it.
Your comments are welcome. If you have found types of posts that generate greater interest than others, please tell us about them below. Thank you.