Radio and TV programs are regularly inviting us to their Facebook pages. Friends and relatives are asking “Aren’t you on Facebook yet?” Some of our constituents are encouraging us to start a Facebook page. Here are six questions to ask yourself before you put your ministry or organization on Facebook.
1) Should I be on Facebook for my ministry? Only you can answer that. If you want to connect with those you serve in a way that is convenient to them; if you want to educate people about your mission and the activities of your organization; if you want to be available to respond to inquiries and to facilitate conversations online, then the answer is “yes.” If you do not want do these things, then the answer is “no.”
2) If I want to be on Facebook to serve my ministry, what do I have to know?You need to know that being on Facebook for ministry is not the same as being on Facebook as a private individual. Your Facebook updates and uploads (links, photos, videos, etc.) are about your ministry, not about your personal life. Be sure to follow any guidelines that your organization has about the use of social media.
3) Are there different ways to put my ministry on Facebook? As a matter of fact, your ministry can be on Facebook in three different ways: as a profile, a group, and a page. Each presence has its own features and you may choose to use all three or just one. You most likely will want a profile for yourself where you can share just with your friends and family and a page for your ministry which is public.
4) Does having a Facebook presence require a lot of time? A Facebook presence does require an investment of time, but youdecide how much time you will spend. Think about how you want to use Facebook and use it in a way that fits your availability. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Who do you want to connect with on Facebook?
- What do they want to see from you?
- How often do you need to post updates to keep them current?
- How often will you monitor the site and respond to comments and questions (daily, 2-3 x a week, etc.)?
Then make yourself a schedule and keep it, but stay flexible.
5) Who should post updates on my Facebook page (often referred to as a fan page)? That is an important decision to make. You have options in this regard. I believe that only the site administrators and people you designate should post updates on a ministry Facebook page. This is your official ministry page, you should set the agenda and the context. Let everyone else comment. Some ministry sites are letting everyone post updates and (in my opinion) their sites look chaotic and some of the posts do not reflect the values of the organization or ministry. It is confusing for your fans. You should also set the rules i.e. disrespectful and malicious comments will be deleted and the writer will be blocked from the site, etc.
6) How do I get followers on Facebook? You will need to advertise your presence on Facebook in every way that you can. Have a link to your Facebook site on your ministry website. List your Facebook address on every piece of print material that goes out from your office. Tell people about it when you are working with them.
There are many short tutorial videos on YouTube on how to set up a Facebook profile, group or page. Just go to www.YouTube.com and search for what you want to learn. If you want something in print, I have found the 2nd edition of Facebook for Dummies by Leah Perlman and Carolyn Abram very helpful and easy to read. If you want more info about the book, click here.
Remember, the most important thing about your Facebook ministry site is not the number of followers you have, it is about the service you provide, the trust you build, and the relationships you form by being helpful, open, and responsive to their feedback.
Please share your questions and comments below. If you have a Facebook profile, group or page for ministry, please share your experience and what you have learned. Thank you.