How Much Work is a Ministry Facebook Fan Page?

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on July 12, 2016

in Facebook, social media

facebook-388078_1920If you minister at a parish, a diocese, a religious community or Catholic organization, you may want to know whether having a Facebook Fan Page is worth the effort. That is a reasonable question—even if you already have a Fan Page. A Fan Page is different from your personal Profile Page. It is a commitment.

My bottom line answer is: If you want to use a Fan Page as a ministry in itself and/or as support to an off-line ministry and you are willing and able to put in the time and effort to “minister” via Facebook, then it is worth it. If you are not interested in using Facebook as a ministry and/or you do not have the time to devote to ministering on this platform, then don’t do it.

Don’t let well-meaning people talk you into it either. Just be honest and tell them: I know it could be a great help to our (parish, diocese, religious community or Catholic organization) and help us inspire, educate, engage our members and others interested in our mission, charism, community, but I (we) do not have the time to create the kind of content that would make a Facebook Fan Page a ministry.

People will say to you- We can use it for announcements or posting photos of events.

A Facebook Fan Page for Ministry

A Facebook Fan Page used for ministry is more than a bulletin board. You are a minister—do you have an hour or two every week for posting announcements or photos (which you may also have to take)? Someone may offer to do that for you, but here is what will happen—followers get bored if all you offer is announcements and/or photos of events (unless they or someone they know were at the events.) It is also tedious for the person posting—after a while they may not want to do it anymore. The followers will not be interested and the posts will reach fewer of them over time. Facebook has an algorithm that sees to that. An unattended or boring page is not better than no page.

For a ministry Facebook Fan Page, someone needs to be posting original content on a regular basis that adds value to the lives of your followers. This is in addition to select announcements and event photos. There needs to be variety and consistency in the posts. The person posting needs to be a minister—a professional (paid or unpaid) in your organization.

The Facebook Minister

Here is what the Facebook Fan Page Minister needs:

  1. An understanding of your audiences. Who are you speaking to on this platform?
  2. Knowledge of the Catholic Faith as it is lived today
  3. A strategy and plan. How many posts will you make each week and how many of them will be original content? Don’t over post. Post once a day on a minimum of three days a week and a maximum of 3 Posts a day—but not multiple posts every day. Too many posts turn people off.
  4. A willingness to put in the time to post on a regular basis (This will vary from one to five hours a week, depending on the amount of research and creativity involved.)
  5. The skill to create quality content: which include the images, videos and text that will make-up the posts
  6. A desire to continue improving Facebook deliverables by studying Facebook Insights and discovering areas of strength to build on and areas of weakness to correct.
  7. A commitment to monitor the Page and respond to comments when appropriate

There are many benefits to having a Facebook Fan Page for your ministry.  I have written about them in previous posts. We need to remember that like any ministry, it takes time and work to achieve them.  If you are not able to carry it out, consider hiring someone who can. That will be worth it.

 

 

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Teri Bockstahler July 12, 2016 at 8:23 am

We have built a following of 3250+ for our page. But as you mentioned it is WORK and we are committed. The best feature FB has come out with in the last couple of years is the ability to schedule posts! It’s a lifesaver and game changer. I can post as far out as I want which is very helpful when I’m on vacation or get swamped in other areas of my work. We rarely post events or announcements. We focus on the individuals and happenings in our community. Without fail though, our most viral posts are always cute jokes I manage to find. So I’ve really learned what our followers are interested in by trial and error.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND July 12, 2016 at 8:46 am

Thanks for your comments, Teri. You are a good example of what can be done on Facebook when you are willing to make the commitment.

John J. Boucher July 12, 2016 at 10:41 am

I agree that Facebook as a ministry is challenging. I agree with just about everything you mention in your points too. My wife Therese and I try to weave together two fan pages, two personal pages, four websites, LinkIn and Youtube pages. I also belong to four or five Facebook Catholic groups.

However, No. 3 is a question mark for me. Facebook’s change of the algorithms to focus on business marketing radically altered who sees whatever is posted on our pages. We have found that up to five posts a day on our pages seem to engage far more people than the more limited posting that you suggest. This doesn’t mean that we do that every day. Interest and participation on Facebook general seem to wax and wane from week to week and month to month.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND July 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm

John,

Thanks for your real life feedback.

If you feel that five posts on some days results in greater engagement with more people, then continue to do that. My recommendation for a maximum of 3 per day is based on the challenge that most people have in creating even one quality post and the desire not to overload followers with multiple posts on one day.

While multiple posts result in a higher total number of impressions for the day, the number of unique people who see them usually is not as high. This means that some people are seeing multiple posts in their newsfeeds, not necessarily that there are that many more people reached. Unless the posts are unique and very compelling, many people do not want to have their newsfeeds filled with multiple posts from one site on one day.

Engagement is based on the quality of the content. When people Like, Click, Share and Comment on a post, Facebook shows it to more people.

If anyone else has experience with this–please share with us.

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