Facebook Shenanigans: Should You Move Your Ministry Page?
If you have not heard, Facebook is officially “throttling” their Pages section to ensure that they get a large and steady stream of revenue from Facebook Promoted Posts and Facebook Ads. What this means is that your ministry's Facebook Page that you labored over to simply set up and make relevant may have 500 parents, students, and volunteers liking your page and get updates, but only 5-15% of the fans will see any one status update, photo, or link shared on your Page.
We could debate the ethics, morality, and business models of this, but it is being done elsewhere very well. What I want to provide for you are action steps your ministry could take and the consequences (good and bad) that could come with your decision.
You could do nothing and simply continue to engage with your Facebook fans the same as if you had never read this article. The effort to put into this is easy because you keep on as you were. The downside is that you will continue to only reach 5-15% of your page unless your fans regularly directly visit your Facebook Page instead of hoping it comes up in their news feed. The likelihood that they will visit your page weekly is VERY small.
Buy Promoted Posts
Want to reach all 100% of your fans? Pay for your post to be promoted on all of your fans page. The good news of this is that it is on a sliding scale depending on how many fans you have, so someone who has 1,000 fans will pay a bit more than someone with 56 fans. The unfortunate side is that you have to pay out on EVERY SINGLE POST to achieve 100% all of the time. Is it financially effective? That's for you to decide, but I do know not many churches are going to add a line item in their budget for Facebook Marketing.
Migrate To A Facebook Group
Currently Facebook Groups are not being impacted by this and so all 100% of posts are reaching them. The change is less costly than going to another network, yet you have to readvertise the new group and there may be confusion as to which part of Facebook is the active one. If you decide to go this route, initiate the group, give three months for people to join it while doing nothing but advertise the group on the Facebook Page, and then completely shut down the Facebook page so no one gets confused. At the same time, remember to update every single place you marketed your Facebook Page, including your website, business cards, email signatures, and bulletins. What a hassle...
Facebook is not the only social media network out there, but it is definitely the most popular of them. Other alternatives include Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+. Of those four, the one I am promoting a ministry presence is Twitter and Google+. The problem is that each new social network has their own unique ways of doing things, so there will be a learning curve. At the same time, your user base may be completely different on these networks as people have not joined them yet, so you will have to encourage them to go. The upside, you do not have to worry about the IPO on other networks that Facebook has that is driving this shenanigans.
Whatever you do, know that in all honesty that there is no big win.
So what do you plan to do? Share your social media link in the comments below so we can join too! (Facebook or not)