It should be both!
For a long time there has been a bit of a war/struggle between should one use a Facebook Group or a Facebook Page for your Church’s Facebook presence. Each have their pros and their cons and we need to better understand what these differences are and how they impact Church communication’s strategy.
In part 1 of the series, we looked at WWW Visibility and Branding. In this second installment of the five part series, we’ll be taking a look at Facebook Notifications and how they differ between Pages and Groups.
Even though Notification is a key driver of Engagement, I am going to discuss them separately. This is where Facebook Groups whacks Pages silly as every member of the group is notified of a new Group Wall Post, in their Notifications Box (see image below).
This means that 100% of the people linked to your Group are by default aware of 100% of your content being posted. This is diametrically different from Pages where Facebook deliberately limits the number of people (your fans) who see your content. And there is no exact (definitive) figure as to how many of your page fans see your content with various reports stating anything from between 15% to 25%, with my own observed experience maxing at 35%. Regardless of how many can see your Page content, the reality is that it is not 100% as with a Group.
This is a significant strategy consideration point. If you opt to run your Church’s social strategy using Groups, then you run the risk of over saturating your members’ notifications box with wall post notifications. Some people may be happy about that, whereas others may be a bit peeved. For those that are not happy with an abundance of notifications from their church’s Facebook Page, can select to turn these notifications off. But this ultimately defeats the object of Groups.
Personally, I like to use my notifications inbox to track items that I’m either directly engaged in (i.e. I’ve commented on a post and someone else has commented on it) or that require my attention (i.e. I’ve been tagged in a post or photo and I need to check that the tagging is correct and appropriate). Therefore, to be getting numerous notifications for Group Posts, would simply not be for me.
The upside for Pages though, is that Facebook has recently introduced Page Notifications.
Theoretically, it sounds as if it’ll work. But I do share Curtis’ commented sentiments on a previous ChurchMag post, will it really be all notifications without exceptions? The downside, is that this new Page Notifications feature is not a default setting. So the challenge will be to get (educate) your page fans to select this new feature manually. But with a reported 15% – 25% newsfeed push rate, this doesn’t seem to be a very viable solution or possibility.
Facebook’s EdgeRank limits the number of Page fans that see your post. There are ways and means of “milking” the algorithm for all that it’s worth, but the reality is its never going to be 100% – because Facebook wants your money through sponsored posts and ads. Groups on the other hand, have a 100% notification rate but a plethora of other “problems” to consider.
In part 3 we’ll be looking at the whole aspect of Engagement and the various mechanisms available to Groups and Pages.