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Image by Darby Jones using Pixabay content.

Turn boring announcements into engaging Facebook posts

 

By Dan Wunderlich

Announcements during worship often seem like a necessary evil for churches. We need to let people know what's happening, but many seem to tune out as soon as the announcements start. Several MyCom articles offers ways to capture attention with creativity and inspire action with your announcements.

Another way some churches try to overcome the in-person tuning out is by posting announcements to Facebook. We assume that if people see announcements in their news feed during the week, it will help them stay connected.

However, just posting an announcement on Facebook doesn't make it interesting or engaging. That can be a major problem for your online ministry!

In early 2018, Facebook made major changes to the News Feed algorithm. The most important part is that Facebook now prioritizes posts that receive engagement in the form of comments and shares, and, to a lesser degree, likes.

In practical terms this means that if people are commenting on and sharing your posts, more people will see them. If people are simply reading them and moving on, Facebook will reduce the number of people who see them. So, let's be honest, when was the last time your church announcements generated lots of comments and shares on Facebook?

This doesn't mean you should stop posting announcements to Facebook. It does mean you need to find ways to make people care and to generate engagement.

Below are nine ways to turn an announcement into a post that generates engagement. And, in order to make the examples practical, let's assume that you need to get the word out about a bake sale to support a youth mission trip.

An important note about "engagement bait"

Many of the sample posts below encourage users to leave a comment or interact in some other way. However, you should avoid explicitly asking people to leave a comment, share a post or use specific reactions ("like," "love," etc.). This is known as "engagement bait," and Facebook is cracking down on these types of posts. Instead, use open-ended questions like those you see in the examples.

Most Facebook users understand that questions can be answered in the comments. However, if engagement is slow at first, recruit a volunteer social media team from within your church to help start conversations. Notify the volunteers whenever you post something new. They can start the conversation by posting their comments first.

1. Rank items

We all love giving our opinions — especially online. We're even more open when the topic is fun! Take advantage of this by asking users to rank items in order of their favorites.

Facebook post example – text post
This Sunday, we will be hosting a bake sale to raise funds for the youth mission trip. All of the following items will be for sale, but we want to know what you crave the most! Rank them:

  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Pie
  • Bread

2. Create a poll

Similar to ranking is polling. Ask users to choose between two options. You can use text, images or animated GIFs. This requires less work for users who only have to click on one option, but it still registers as engagement.

Facebook post example – poll
This Sunday, we will be hosting a bake sale to raise funds for the youth mission trip. What will you be taking home?
Option 1 – Photo of chocolate chip cookies
Option 2 – Photo of brownies

3. Use GIFs and emojis

Emojis and animated GIFs are fun ways to express yourself online. They are visual, creative, and often a source of humor. Ask users to share a GIF or emoji reflecting their feeling, experience or opinion of something related to the topic of your announcement.

Facebook post example – text
This Sunday, we will host a bake sale to raise funds for the youth mission trip. Using only a GIF or an emoji, show us how you feel when you smell a plate of chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven!

4. Share a story or memory

Sharing a story or a memory is a great way to capture and keep attention. If your announcement pertains to something that happens regularly — weekly, monthly, or annually — share a story from the past. Including images or a video can also help people connect with the story.

Facebook post example – text, image or video
Whenever we have a pot luck dinner, one of the most popular items is Betty's key lime pie. If you've ever had a piece, you know that her secret recipe makes for the perfect combination of tart and sweet. This Sunday, we will be hosting a bake sale to raise funds for the youth mission trip, and Betty will be providing five whole key lime pies! Share a memory of your favorite dessert! (Include a photo of Betty and one of her pies as part of the post)

5. Ask for suggestions

Asking for recommendations or creative ideas is a great way to generate engagement. Users connect with the announcement, and connection helps us remember.

Facebook post example – text
This Sunday, we will host a bake sale to raise funds for the youth mission trip. What kinds of baked goods will tempt you the most?

Facebook post example – text
This Sunday, we will host a bake sale to raise funds for the youth mission trip, but "Youth Mission Trip Bake Sale" is a mouthful! What creative suggestions do you have for a better name?

6. Share the impact of the event

Not every post needs to ask specifically for a response. You can also create an inspiring or uplifting post that your church members might want to share with their friends.

Facebook ost description – text, photos, or video
Using stories, images and/or video, share the impact that the youth mission team will be making. How many houses will be repaired, people fed or kids taught via VBS? Can you share a story of an individual you met and served during a previous trip to the same project? Close the post or video by letting people know that they can help make this impact possible by purchasing items at the bake sale.

7. Create games or competitions

Games or competitions beg users to play. Offering a simple prize can increase participation.

Facebook post example – text
WIN FREE COOKIES! This Sunday, we will host a bake sale to raise funds for the youth mission trip. Can you guess which dessert is Pastor Laurie's favorite? We will draw a name from all those who guess the correct answer. That winner will get a free item from the bake sale!

8. Use video or live video

Video is a great way to capture attention on Facebook. Using Facebook Live to broadcast video and interact with your live viewers boosts engagement even more.

Facebook post example – Facebook Live
Broadcast a "cooking show" where someone from the church makes a batch of simple cookies. Have the cook share the recipe and talk through the steps. The person holding the camera (a smart phone) can ask viewers for baking questions or ask them to share their favorite desserts and baking tips. At regular intervals during the broadcast, mention that there will be a bake sale on Sunday supporting the youth mission trip.

9. Ask for submissions

If you have an announcement of an event related to something that users might do outside of church, ask them to share their version. This is listed last because the bake sale example is not the best vehicle for it, but it can be effective with other types of announcements.

Facebook post example – text
This Sunday evening, we will meet at the church at 5 p.m. to go caroling in the neighborhoods around the church. No doubt we will see lots of Christmas lights, but we want to see yours too! Post a photo of your lights or decorated tree!

Bonus pro tip!

You can always pair these posts with a great picture to garner even more attention. Check out our screencast tutorial on how to use Adobe Spark's free graphic design editor to add a little pizazz to your Facebook posts. Adobe Spark can also help you create sermon series graphics, scripture quotes, event posters and much more! It even helps you resize images to the correct aspect ratio for posting to all the major social media channels. Have fun!