How Facebook's algorithm change will impact your KidMin (and what you can do about it.)
On January 11th, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing it's news feed algorithm so that you see more content from friends, family, and groups. "As we roll this out," Zuck said, "You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.” My first thought was, "Yay! More cute puppy posts from the people I care about!" My second thought was, "Boo! My GO! Curriculum Facebook page is about to get a real kick in the pants!" I use the GO! Facebook page to do 2 things: to share free helpful content (like this), and to give engaging previews of the upcoming GO! lessons that our subscribing churches can then share with their families as a part of their social media strategy. Unfortunately, fewer people are about to see those posts. And I'm not alone! If your KidMin uses Facebook to communicate with parents, you're about to see a big drop in the organic reach of your posts as the changes roll out over the next few months. (And if your KidMin doesn't use Facebook, you need to keep reading!) But don't let your KidMin lay down and die a social media death just yet! Here are a few things you can do to soften (or dare I say, "eliminate") the impact of the new Facebook algorithm: Encourage the families in your church to FOLLOW your KidMin Facebook page. When people simply "like" your KidMin page, Facebook uses their algorithm to decide how often to show them your content. But if people "follow" your page, they're guaranteed to see your content first. Don't be shy about asking the parents in your ministry to follow your page. Parents want to know what their kids are learning at church and how to continue the conversation at home. Your Facebook page is still a great way to do that! Here's how to help them: Send your parents an email, text, printout, carrier pigeon or all of the above telling them about your Facebook page. Instruct them to go to your page, click the "Following" button, then choose "See First." It's that simple.
Want to try it for yourself? Go to GO! Curriculum page, then like us and give us a follow.
Create a group for the families at your church. Facebook groups are different than pages. A page allows you to create a public presence for your KidMin. Only you (or the page admin) can post on your page. A group, on the other hand, “allows people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.” Having a Facebook group for your KidMin would allow your parents to post and share with each other around the common cause of spiritually parenting their kids. And as a bonus, everything you post on the group page will show up in the news feed of the people who are a part of the group. Take THAT, algorithm!
We use groups as a part of our GO! curriculum Facebook strategy. Karl Bastian (a.k.a. the Kidologist) is a GO! superfan and has created the GO! Curriculum Idea Swap where he and all of the other GO! users share creative ideas for using the curriculum.
Create Facebook Live videos for your families. Videos have always been given priority by Facebook's algorithm and that's not going to change. In his announcement, Zuckerberg said that “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.” The parents in your ministry want to see your face and hear your voice. Facebook Live videos are a great way to make that happen. In addition to allowing parents to get to know you better, the live videos allow you to share the exciting things that are happening in your KidMin. If Facebook is currently a part of your social media strategy, you'll need to get smarter about how you use it, or your reach is going to plummet. Don't worry though, if you take the above actions, your page could be even more effective than it was BEFORE the change. And if you're NOT using Facebook (or any other social media) as a part of your parent communication strategy, well...it's never a bad time to get started!