Ryan Wakefield Church Marketing University

Ryan is the founder of Church Marketing University, where he helps churches all over the world get more visitors each week. He and his wife, Amy, and daughter, Katelyn, are a part of Summit Park Church in Kansas City, Missouri.  Ryan has many years of experie... read more

Facebook Thrive Guide for Churches

Facebook has released a new update and it is going to affect 100% of church Facebook pages. Here is what you need to know in order for your church to thrive on Facebook.

Facebook for Churches: A Big Problem or A Big Opportunity?

Be sure you watch the video above or on YouTube to see why I think this can actually be a big opportunity for churches. You are also welcome to download the video to use to help train your team.

Also be sure you read the update directly from Facebook, the included post from Mark Zuckerberg, and watch the video at the bottom of their article.

Facebook Update Recap

The big fear is that we are headed toward a time where no one will see the updates from your church’s Facebook Page in their news feed. Here are a couple of important quotes from Facebook:

“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and

“As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic
decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of
content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people
generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution.”

“Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

So how should churches respond to this update? Here are my top 5 suggestions for churches:

#1 Conversation, Thoughtfulness, Interaction, Engagement

Make sure you use these 4 words to guide the content you post on your church’s page. If you are simply blasting out announcements then you should find another communication channel for that.

“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and
media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should
encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

“Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the
biggest decreases in distribution.”

“But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive

“Using “engagement-bait” to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful
interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”

#2 See First

You can watch an example See First video that explains how your people can turn this feature on. You can download this example video here.

We strongly recommend that pastors take a couple weeks in a row and make a big in-service announcement about the Facebook changes and the option to See First. You can get more ideas on how to promote the See First feature by checking out this Social Church Tip of the Week.

[Church Marketing University churches please reach out to me because we are making you custom See First videos. If you are not a part of CMU yet you can join this group.]

“People who want to see more posts from Pages they follow can choose See First in News
Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favorite Pages.”

#3 Groups

You can think of groups as your new page.  Now when people opt in to your group, that is the new like. By the way, do not get rid of your current Facebook Page. There is still plenty of value in having a page if you approach it correctly. You will also need a Page in order to run Facebook Ads.

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from
your friends, family and groups.”

#4 Live Video

One of the best ways to get interaction on Facebook is by utilizing Facebook Live. We encourage churches to get creative on how you utilize live video on social. Don’t just think in terms of streaming your service live. And if you are streaming your services then figure out a way to do so in such a way that you encourage conversation on Facebook during the live stream.

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For
example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live
videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”

#5 Volunteer Teams

Developing and empowering volunteer teams is going to be a big key to success on Facebook for churches moving forward. You’ll want to consider recruiting photographers, storytellers, writers, videographers, and on camera talent to help the church with your social channels. We also recommend that you develop these two teams:

Social Acceleration Team – This team helps get the interaction and conversation going on your posts.

Digital Hospitality Team – This team serves as your digital connect center throughout the week.

Recap: The New Facebook Algorithm is an Opportunity for Churches

My gut feeling is that businesses won’t be able to compete the same way a savvy church can. The big key is to put your church in the “friends and family zone” moving forward on Facebook.

Be sure you watch the video to get a more in-depth explanation and ideas. If you have any questions leave a comment or jump in our private Church Marketers Facebook Group.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about Facebook for churches from social media experts? Here are some additional resources that I recommend:

Know of some additional articles I should add? Let me know in the comments below!