This is the fourth post in a series. It might be helpful to start from the beginning. Or not. Whatever works best for you.
This is probably going to be the least technical post of the series, at least until the last, but that’s not because it’s content it unimportant. One could argue that it’s the most important content of the series so far for today we are talking about how to actually get your content out to the most people possible.
I’ll cover this in two sections, looking at the best and then second best methods. And before you ask, those rankings are absolutely my own and have little to no objective basis.
The Best Method – Mobilizing Your People
Last summer, I taught a class on social media. One of the most fruitful lessons in the class was when I explained “Like” vs. “Share” to my class. So many of them had thought that liking or loving status was the best way to respond, and while I affirmed the that is great, I encouraged them to share more.
As you’re likely aware, sharing is the fastest way to go from “virtually no audience” to “viral” on Facebook. It exponentially (or nearly exponentially) increases your audience. If one person in your audience shares the post, and then one of their friends who is not in your audience shares it, you’ve suddenly tapped into a much larger stream of people. Now, it may be a stream that overlaps with your Page, but still, several well-placed, well-timed shares could be beneficial.
That’s why I share everything my church page posts, and it’s why I encourage all of our staff and deacons to do the same: we all have different circles of friends who aren’t attached to our page. Our friends may overlap, but we all have some distinct section somewhere in our friends list.
This becomes even more powerful when you get your whole church behind it. Now, this is where I’ve hit a few snags. I’ll usually create a page post and a group post that offer the same information, and I will howl with frustration when people share the group post that’s attached to my personal profile instead of the official church page post. It’s never demoralizing. This is where this method actually has to meet reality: it’s only going to work if you teach your people how to do it.
I have to communicate, communicate, communicate that our Facebook Group is for “behind the scenes,” “family-only” communication. The Facebook Page is our platform for outreach. Eventually, I’ll get everyone on board. Until then, I’ll rely on the second method to help fill-in any gaps.
The Second Best Method – Boosting Your Posts
I called this method second best because it doesn’t encourage investing in your people or empowering them to communicate with their friends about their faith or their church. Also, this method costs money, and I’m not really big on spending money when viable, free alternatives exist. Now, I used to create ads for my church using the Facebook sidebar, since that’s gone away, my focus has shifted to the “boosted” post or event. If you want more details on how to create Facebook ads, Jeremy has posted a great infographic on the topic, and I’ve always found Facebook’s own information to be quite helpful. What I’d like to do with the rest of this post is offer some anecdotal thoughts on Facebook ads and give you a good word of warning.
Last summer, I was running the social media campaign for a community event my church was hosting. I created a Facebook event, created images and posts to be shared on Facebook—it was all set up, but I wanted to go further than before. My pastor and I decided to boost our Facebook event, which is basically like boosting a post, but I think it’s more effective to boost an event over a post, unless you want to share your event from your page and then boost that, which could be the best of both worlds.
Anyway, we boosted a few posts centered round and from our event. Usually, our posts get between 100 and 180 in views. These posts were reaching over 2000! Now, that doesn’t mean nearly as much as one might think, since a lot of people will see the post and move on. However, given the right image and copy, you might see some of these paid placements pay off in page likes, event RSVP’s, or at least shares. That’s what happened with us: we gained nearly 100 page likes, a much increased amount of interested in the event, and several posts were shared by people who don’t like our page, which mean that they were people who saw the post because of the boost. What’s more, many of these shares had an individual tagged in them, which mean that not only were these posts being shared by an individual outside of our normal sphere of influence but at least one person in there sphere would be directly impacted, while countless others would see it, though without that direct impact of being tagged. Good stuff, right!
Now, for the warning: be careful with the image you use for your event and any related posts. Make it as text free as possible. If your image is over 20% text—as determined by Facebook—you will not be able to use it in your ads or in any boosted post or event. This struck me hardest when I realized that one of the events I had created this past year was “un-boostable” because the header image on the event page had too much text. Save your time; design a logo for you event that is image/symbol heavy and text-lite.