Since founding Prenger Solutions Group in 2017, my team and I have helped thousands of parishes across North America with their social media presence. One of the most important types of coaching we do is to help parish social media administrators take a look at Facebook Insights.
If you’re administering your parish Facebook page, spend a little time each week using Insights. Just log into Facebook, click on your page, and then use the “Insights” link on the left-hand side to begin. Here are a few things to take a look at:
- On the Page Summary, always use the 28-day view: By default, Facebook shows you your seven-day statistics. That doesn’t tell you much. It’s far better to look at the last month to see how many people you are reaching and engaging each day.
- Post Reach and Post Engagement are critically important: Reach will help you determine how many individuals saw something from your parish enter their screen. This metric will not double-count anyone. Engagement measures the actions people are taking on your content. If they click an image, mash the like button, leave a comment, share with their friends, or let that post sit on their screen for a significant amount of time, that will register as “1 engagement.” So, if I’m a committed follower of your parish, I will only be counted once in reach, but I may be counted 20+ times if I engage with your content a lot. In the end, Engagement is often the more important metric, since it measures how many times your message is being received by people.
- Your Page Likes should always be increasing: Parishes rarely lose followers in significant numbers. However, if your following is stagnant, it’s time to visit a few parish meetings or put a notice in your bulletin about the importance of following the parish online. Remember, parishes with more followers than registered households see their offertory improve. Parishes with small followings tend to hold steady or lose ground each year.
- Click on “Posts”: Once you’re in there, take a look at your published posts that received the most views, likes, and shares in the last several months. Are there any common themes tying them together? Was it the time of day they were posted? The subject matter they covered? The type of post (link, event, photo, or video)?
- Click on the “People” link on the left: This will give you an excellent breakdown of the age and gender of the people you’re reaching with your message. It will also show you where they are logging in from. You’ll probably notice that 80% or more of the people you reach each month are within driving distance of your parish. That’s by design on Facebook’s part, plus it helps you understand that you’re not just reaching random people. You are reaching people online that you can serve in person!
While you don’t need to check Facebook Insights every day, looking at it once or twice a month can help you better understand who you’re reaching, what they like, and where they live. Those are the first steps to inviting them deeper into the life of faith at your parish.
Then, using the navigation bar to the left, click on “Posts.” Once you’re in there, take a look at your published posts that received the most views, likes, and shares last year. Are there any common themes tying them together? Was it the time of day they were posted? The subject matter they covered? The type of post (link, event, photo, or video)?
Prenger Solutions Group is a specialized Catholic fundraising firm that uses technology to help parishes, schools and dioceses raise more money with fewer headaches. PSG’s fundraising and communications experts have raised more than $450 million for Catholic causes while helping more than 4,000 parishes to engage and inspire their parishioners through social media. Nic is the CEO of Prenger Solutions Group.