Churches & the Facebook News Feed: Why Should You Care?

Churches & the Facebook News Feed: Why Should You Care?

February 7, 2011 by

There’s a little secret about Facebook that every church should know. Understanding it will help you accomplish two primary goals—more effective outreach and being good stewards of God’s resources.

The secret? Building a cool page with flashy apps and custom tabs is a complete waste of time and money.

Think about it. When’s the last time you visited any “fan” or “like” pages? Probably when you “liked” them in the first place. Statistically, only about 4% of Facebook users ever visit a page a second time.

Contrary to what app developers and marketers want you to believe, Facebook success is all about showing up on people’s walls. If people don’t see you on their wall, you don’t exist. And as a church, if you don’t exist, Facebook is useless for outreach, announcements or anything else.

Quick example: I run the fan page for Logos Bible Software. I recently told our fans about a scholarship we award to seminary and bible college students. That same day only 78 people visited our actual fan page, but over 4,200 users saw us in their news feed!

Facebook “Blocks” Boring Content
No doubt you have hundreds of friends who together post thousands of things on Facebook every day, yet only a handful of these posts show up on your wall. Why? Because Facebook rates every page and action with its EdgeRank algorithm to make sure you only see your friends’ most interesting activity.

And how can Facebook tell if something’s interesting? By tracking the number and kind of interactions (comments, likes, shares, clicks, views, etc.) it gets.

So at least from an organizational standpoint, posting interesting stuff on your wall (the technical term for this is news feed optimization or NFO) is really what Facebook is all about.

Good news: Understanding NFO will save your church a ton of time and money since you don’t need to try a bunch of gimmicks in search of that elusive feature or service to make your page the coolest one ever.

Bad news: Posting good content will take a personal touch and a little effort. But isn’t that really just more good news? It forces churches to come across as real and personal, which they should be doing anyway—especially if they’re using social media. (Whether organizations realize it or not, Facebook users view the site as much more than a cyber bulletin board. And they consistently refuse to engage bulletin board level content.)

Create Engaging Content
Until people “like” your page, your posts won’t appear directly in their feeds. Statistics show that the best way to get people to “like” your page is to create an automatic landing tab that makes it instantly clear what you want visitors to do. Great examples of this are Red Bull and Pepsi.

PageLever offers a great free landing tab service (And they’re offering a free upgrade to churches: Just add PageLever to your page and e-mail jeff [at] pagelever with the page URL to get the free upgrade). And it’s quite simple to make this custom tab the default one people see when they visit your page for the first time. (Update: Facebook has since updated how to make a default tab, rendering these instructions obsolete. Here are some new instructions that should work.)

But once people start connecting to your Facebook page, how do you engage them? At the core of all this, that’s the question we have to answer.

Come back tomorrow as we cover how to engage people in part two of our series on creating quality Facebook content.

Post By:

Stephen Smith

Among other things, Stephen Smith oversees social media for Logos Bible Software, where he makes sure the personal, friendly nature of the company doesn’t get lost behind organizational barriers. He engages users to help them get the most out of their bible study experience and personal walk with the Lord.
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4 Responses to “Churches & the Facebook News Feed: Why Should You Care?”

  • Deni Avant
    February 7, 2011

    Great insight—especially about creating the customized landing page! I’m really looking forward to part two tomorrow!

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  • Adam Lehman
    February 9, 2011


    I was discussing this with a collaborator last week. He wanted to make a Facebook page with loads of custom tabs and uber-engaging features. I told him none of that matters in the Facebook ecosystem. What matters – at least until Facebook changes something up – is getting into the home feed. That’s it.

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  • Jeff Widman
    February 11, 2011

    Wow–15+ people have emailed me for free upgrades… Glad we can help! Again, if you’re a Christian non-profit, email me:

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  • Sarah S
    February 15, 2011

    Hello, First time poster and excited to be a part of the group

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