So you want a better church Facebook page. With a little exploration, experimentation, and know-how, Facebook can be an excellent tool to engage your parishioners and communicate with those on the periphery of your congregation.
Last week, we looked at scheduling posts, which helps to make your page more convenient for you. Next week, we’ll look at enhancing the user experience for your parishioners and visitors. This week is a deep dive into the analytics of your church Facebook page. Let’s start getting your feet wet!
If you have friends or family in business, marketing, or tech, you may have heard the term analytics associated with social media. This describes the process of analyzing the data available to you. Facebook provides certain data for your business page free of charge to you. This will show you a general sense of who is visiting your page and when. You can also view the data on certain posts — what did well and what had little impact. Analytics help you understand who is on your page and how they interact with it. This understanding can contribute to smarter, more efficient use of your church Facebook page.
You can find your page analytics under the tab called “Insight.” Ready to take a look?
Who Visits Your Page
By clicking on “People” in the sidebar, you’re given insight into who is interacting with your page. “Fans” are people who have liked your page. It’s divided by age and sex. If you’ve invited all your parishioners to like the church Facebook page, these demographics might be fairly balanced. Your “Followers” are people who have gone a step further and said they want page updates to show up in their news feeds.
The next two categories will give you a sense of where your page information is actually spreading. “People Reached” shows you who saw your page’s content. This is typically through other people’s shares or engagement. This will be one of your highest numbers, as it includes people who may not have “liked” your page. They’ll see information from your parish because someone else shared it to their page. “People Engaged” includes the people who are the movers and shakers of your church Facebook page. These people have specifically tagged the church or shared the church’s posts.
Why do these demographics matter? You may have been trying to use Facebook as an outreach to the younger members of your parish, but is your average engaged member age 45? If reaching millennials through the platform is important to you, you may need to tweak what you’re posting. You may also want to consider further tailoring what you share to the people who are already there in order to grow involvement among those members.
What Visitors Like
By clicking “Posts” in the sidebar, you’ll be taken to a page that gives you detailed analytics about each individual post. At the top of the page, you can see when people who have liked your page are online. This can give you insight into when more people might see what you share.
Further down the page, you can view data on each post from your church Facebook page. You’ll want to pay attention to “Reach” and “Engagement.” This tells you how well a particular post did. By clicking the dropdown box next to “Reach,” you can choose what you see. If your parish is running paid ads, displaying “Organic/Paid” will show you how many people saw the post naturally and how many saw the post because you paid for a wider spread. If your parish doesn’t pay to boost posts — many don’t — then displaying “Fans/Non-fans” will be most helpful. This will show the distinction between people who like your page and people who don’t. In other words, how many possible parishioners and visitors did your post reach?
The second dropdown arrow lets you pick how you want to display other engagement data. Most parishes will want to make sure the “Post Clicks” option is selected. You’re probably using your church Facebook page to share links to your website, inspirational blogs, or to promote events. You’ll want to know how many people actually dug deeper to find out more.
If your parish posts videos or shares content to the Facebook story, the “Videos” and “Stories” section in the sidebar will offer similar information.
These analytics may seem overwhelming. It can be a bit of a guessing game to determine why certain posts did well. Was it the time of day? Did we include a funny photo? Did the post promote an event that many people were already interested in? Over time, you should be able to detect patterns.
What Happens Over Time
Facebook Insights offers ways to track multiple points of engagement over time. Clicking “Followers,” “Likes,” “Reach,” “Page Views,” “Page Previews,” and “Actions on Page” will take you to analytics about engagement across time. You can view changes over the course of a week, month, or quarter. You can also select a specific timeframe on the top of the page.
This provides a lot of detail, but it doesn’t need to be a lot of work. If you’ve spent time trying to build up your church Facebook page, this can be a great way to check your progress. If you’re trying to make a case to your parish, your pastor, or a committee about the effectiveness of Facebook, here’s where you’ll find the hard data you need.
If this all seems daunting, don’t worry! Your church Facebook page can function without a deep dive into analytics. However, if you want to enhance the experience for parishioners, plus extend your reach to draw new visitors in, spend some time exploring this section. Take the plunge!