If you minister at a parish, a diocese, a religious community or Catholic organization, you may want to know whether having a Facebook Fan Page is worth the effort. That is a reasonable question—even if you already have a Fan Page. A Fan Page is different from your personal Profile Page. It is a commitment.
My bottom line answer is: If you want to use a Fan Page as a ministry in itself and/or as support to an off-line ministry and you are willing and able to put in the time and effort to “minister” via Facebook, then it is worth it. If you are not interested in using Facebook as a ministry and/or you do not have the time to devote to ministering on this platform, then don’t do it.
Don’t let well-meaning people talk you into it either. Just be honest and tell them: I know it could be a great help to our (parish, diocese, religious community or Catholic organization) and help us inspire, educate, engage our members and others interested in our mission, charism, community, but I (we) do not have the time to create the kind of content that would make a Facebook Fan Page a ministry.
People will say to you- We can use it for announcements or posting photos of events.
A Facebook Fan Page for Ministry
A Facebook Fan Page used for ministry is more than a bulletin board. You are a minister—do you have an hour or two every week for posting announcements or photos (which you may also have to take)? Someone may offer to do that for you, but here is what will happen—followers get bored if all you offer is announcements and/or photos of events (unless they or someone they know were at the events.) It is also tedious for the person posting—after a while they may not want to do it anymore. The followers will not be interested and the posts will reach fewer of them over time. Facebook has an algorithm that sees to that. An unattended or boring page is not better than no page.
For a ministry Facebook Fan Page, someone needs to be posting original content on a regular basis that adds value to the lives of your followers. This is in addition to select announcements and event photos. There needs to be variety and consistency in the posts. The person posting needs to be a minister—a professional (paid or unpaid) in your organization.
The Facebook Minister
Here is what the Facebook Fan Page Minister needs:
- An understanding of your audiences. Who are you speaking to on this platform?
- Knowledge of the Catholic Faith as it is lived today
- A strategy and plan. How many posts will you make each week and how many of them will be original content? Don’t over post. Post once a day on a minimum of three days a week and a maximum of 3 Posts a day—but not multiple posts every day. Too many posts turn people off.
- A willingness to put in the time to post on a regular basis (This will vary from one to five hours a week, depending on the amount of research and creativity involved.)
- The skill to create quality content: which include the images, videos and text that will make-up the posts
- A desire to continue improving Facebook deliverables by studying Facebook Insights and discovering areas of strength to build on and areas of weakness to correct.
- A commitment to monitor the Page and respond to comments when appropriate
There are many benefits to having a Facebook Fan Page for your ministry. I have written about them in previous posts. We need to remember that like any ministry, it takes time and work to achieve them. If you are not able to carry it out, consider hiring someone who can. That will be worth it.