For quite a while, Christian media organizations, churches and other ministries have been wondering how to best leverage the key features of Facebook to fuel growth.
Some are making Facebook the center of their digital platforms. But, as the failed social reader experiments of The Guardian and Washington Post show, that can be a dangerous proposition.
Many publishers and brands in the digital space are finding out that they don’t call the shots in the digital world, especially when it comes to Facebook.
You will recall that last year Facebook made a change in their EdgeRank Algorithm that limits the reach of posts from businesses on Facebook to their fans.
GroupM Next, a global media investment management group, conducted their own analysis of 25 brands and the effects of the algorithm change.
Overall GroupM found that the reach of brands dropped 38%; links dropped 68%; and shares dropped 59%. The one thing that improved were status updates without links or media.
Can anyone really blame Facebook for throttling business traffic? If brands can reach 100% of their audience for free, then generating real ad revenue from these same businesses would be a non-starter.
But if you are a Christian church or broadcast organization that is used to reaching 100% of your listening or viewing audience over the course of a week or month, how excited can you really get about linking to anything on Facebook knowing that less than 10% of your fans will ever see it – unless you pay for the privilege, of course.
How is Facebook working for you?
Should you continue to focus on or expand efforts to push your audience and partners to Facebook? Or, should you diversify your digital outreaches through multiple networks, channels and platforms?
Is the amount of time and money you are spending to develop audience on Facebook translating into an acceptable return on investment or return on ministry? Does Facebook work closely with you as a partner; share meaningful data to help you grow and monetize your activity; strategize on the the best methods and tactics for impacting your audience?
Facebook sets their own rules and Christian organizations have to play by them just like everyone else. I’m not suggesting that organizations stop their use of Facebook. Facebook should be used for things they are good at. They should be a part of a plan for engaging new and existing audiences with the gospel too and should have a place at the table … just probably not at the head of the table.
No Christian media business or ministry should rely too heavily on one mainstream digital media platform, especially when there are alternatives.