It’s no secret that social media organic reach is on a downward spiral. As a parish, you may have noticed that the number of users who engage with your posts is disproportionally lower than the people who actually like your page — and you’re not alone. According to a 2020 study compiled by We Are Social, the average reach of an organic post on a Facebook page remains stagnate at 5.20%, meaning only one in roughly every 19 of your followers will see your page’s non-promoted (free) content.
As Facebook and its metrics move more towards “pay for play” advertising methods, parishes without a marketing budget need to find other ways to engage and inspire followers. A great tool that you may not be using is Facebook Stories.
Creativity at its Best
Facebook Stories are short user-generated photo or video collections that can be uploaded to a personal page. Around since 2017 (one year after Instagram Stories launched), it has started rising in popularity the last couple of years. Each story posted can be viewed up to two times and disappears after a full 24 hours. It also offers a wide variety of creative options, such as music, filters, stickers, emojis and text.
Facebook pages as large as Pepsi Co. and as small as your friendly mom and pop restaurant have been using Stories for a while now in their social media strategy. To get the attention of your followers when they are already bombarded with thousands of messages every day, Stories are a great way to stand out from the crowd. About 500 million people now use Facebook Stories every day, meaning it has the potential to help you reach a much bigger audience than through traditional posting.
How to Use it for Your Parish
There are a number of ways that your parish can use the Stories feature. The goal is to use this as short “bursts” of digital content that will hopefully catch the attention of your followers. This happens in two ways — placement because it appears at the top of your newsfeed, and then through Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm.
Here are some easy ways you can repurpose your social media content for Facebook Stories:
To Bring Attention to a Traditional Post | Say you created a post for an upcoming parish event. On the day of, remind your followers of the fun that’s to come by highlighting your post in a Story. Add music, some copy like “Tonight!” and a sticker or two. That post will then move to the top of Facebook feeds everywhere, making the chance of others seeing it that much more likely.
To Share an “IRL” Moment | Video that is shared in a Story needs to be less than 20 seconds, which is often perfect for those “in real life” parish moments. Think a small greeting from your pastor before Mass, reminding parishioners to come to church, or a line-up of the homemade desserts that are sure to sell out at Saturday’s spaghetti dinner (bonus if you use the “boomerang” feature for that one!).
To Encourage a Follower “Follow-Up” | Why just post this Sunday’s Gospel reading, when you can highlight it in a Story and encourage followers to read it before Mass? And when a custom link is added, viewers will be able to select “See more” to open the page within the Facebook browser, so it goes straight to the source without much effort.
To Allow Your “Personality” to Shine Through | Your parish, whether you realize it or not, has a voice. It’s how people perceive your community, and sometimes, it’s hard to highlight that “voice” with a traditional post. Using Stories allows you to add humor, quirkiness, creativity, boldness and more to whatever you’re trying to get across.
Looking for more ways to get the most out of Facebook? Check out “Facebook and Your Parish” for additional ideas.