The New Facebook Update (and How It Impacts Your Church)

In case you missed it, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a major change to Facebook’s News Feed that will likely have a direct impact on the way your church interacts with current and potential followers.

In a nutshell, Facebook is placing more emphasis on community. You’ll soon start seeing fewer posts from brands and businesses, and more posts from your family and friends. In a news release, Zuckerberg said,

“With this update, we will prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to.”

So, what does this mean for your church?

Long story short, posts that spark conversation and genuine engagement will get more reach and traffic. If your posts don’t tend to get a lot of comments, they’re not going to be seen.

This update may seem frustrating, but think about it this way: relationships, connection, and community are vital to effective ministry, so this new change can serve as a way to adapt your social media strategy to better serve this mission. The church is all about community, so this update actually might play in our favor!

So, how do you adapt to this new change? Here are five easy tips to help you master this new update and engage your Facebook community.

1. Conversation is key.

Community is all about conversations and Facebook is a great place to generate meaningful discussion with your followers. The more conversations happening in the comments sections of your posts, the more your posts will be seen.  How can you encourage conversation?

  • DO include a question with your post. This could be something as simple as “How can we pray for you today?” or “Who can you invite to church this weekend?”
  • DO make sure you respond to every comment you receive – this simple act shows Facebook and your followers that you are committed to fostering relationships!
  • DON’T fall into the trap of comment baiting. If your posts directly ask for likes or comments without creating a real reason to engage (i.e. “Like this post if you agree”), Facebook can suppress or completely block your posts.

2. Go Live

Facebook is heavily emphasizing the use of Facebook Live as a way to generate reach and engagement. The focus on live streaming means you should regularly incorporate this feature — we recommend once per week!

Here are a few ideas for a Facebook Live post:

  • Tip of the week – this could serve as spiritual encouragement to start the week off on the right foot!
  • Staff Member Intro – highlight the people who serve your church by asking them a few questions about who they are and the role they play in making your church great!
  • Behind the Scenes – give a peek into what goes on behind the scenes at your church outside of Sunday services.
  • FAQs – Answer some of the most frequently asked questions about your church or about an upcoming event you may be hosting.

The best part of Facebook Live is that it wasn’t designed to be a high-quality video production set for Hollywood. Just using your webcam or camera video is good enough! Have fun with it, be real and authentic, and don’t worry about it being perfect. Part of the fun is getting to watch it live!  

3. Make a Group Page

Group Pages are considered the ultimate way to connect and engage people on Facebook into a community. When you link a group to your Business Page, Facebook recognizes that you’re cultivating discussion in this community and rewards you for it.

So, who should you invite to your group page? To start, members of your congregation and community! You’ll need to consistently monitor the group pages and engage in the conversations happening there. You can even select VIP staff or church members to help serve as moderators and facilitators for the group.

4. Ask the Audience

Your current followers can choose to receive your alerts and see your content in their News Feed. All it takes is a simple ask: “If you want to stay up-to-date with happenings at [YOUR CHURCH NAME], turn on alerts”.

All they have to do is select “See First” for your updates in their News Feed and choose “On” to see notifications from you.

5. Be Human

The heart behind this algorithm change is to bring people together online. The digital world is flooded with ads for products and services, and these things distract us from connecting to what truly matters. If your posts are sincere, honest, and inviting, your audience is much more likely to connect with you.

Quality over quantity is important. Taking the time to invest in meaningful conversations and interactions with your online community will show Facebook (and the world) that there is a heart behind your social media presence.

Take these tips and implement them in a way that feels authentic for your church community. Social media shifts and changes constantly, but with a little effort, you’ll be able to connect and resonate with your audience!