Friday Five is a new series we’re starting here at South Jersey Christian Events where people involved in ministry share five things related in some way to doing ministry. If you are interested in contributing a Friday Five post, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m no expert when it comes to Facebook, but I’ve managed a few Facebook pages over the last few years and I see what a lot of other page operators are doing in the newsfeed for South Jersey Christian Event’s Facebook page. Here are five things I’d recommend you not do with your ministry’s Facebook page. Be sure to post any rebuttals and add your own to the list in the comments.
5. Leave the cover photo blank. Timeline has plenty of detractors but one of the obvious positives of the new formatting for pages has been the cover photo space. It’s a big piece of real estate that can help you separate your page from the pack. Find a great photograph to use as your cover photo – ours right now is a wonderful photo from a recent concert at Fallout Shelter 511. Doesn’t it look so inviting going to a Facebook page with a nice large photo instead of white space? Facebook frowns upon using this space for advertising so be sure to find a compelling photo – preferably one with people if you’re a church – to put her. A good example of this is the photo a missionary couple I know have on their page.
4. Write really long blocks of text for status updates. Like Twitter and texting, Facebook users expect status updates to be short, snappy and visual, not lengthy blocks of text. If you have a lot to share with your fans, write a short snappy sentence and link them to your website or blog, preferably with a photo. Think about what captures your eye more – a long post with text or a short one with a photo? Also be considerate of how frequently you space out posts. Posting 10 times in the span of a minute starts to look a lot like spam in a newsfeed.
3. Spam other Facebook pages. I saw a photo posted recently on a college website that was taken at a summer camp where a lot of current and former students of the camp were serving on staff. In the comment section on the post, a page for a mission organization posted a comment urging the volunteers to serve on a mission trip for an organization 3,000 miles away. You might think you are being helpful by sharing this valuable information, but that’s spam. Copying and pasting the same thing on the walls of all the pages you like: also spam. We love when people share information on our wall about upcoming events and encourage you to post at your heart’s content but consider the audience and ask yourself what you would think if you were on the other end when posting on other pages. Develop reciprocal relationships with other pages first by using proper netiquette.
2. Autopost everything and talk only about yourself. I’m not a big fan of auto-posting at all, but I realize that it can be extremely helpful for organizations with limited resources – that and the new scheduling feature is really helpful for getting the most out of your posts. We auto-post all of our posts once to Facebook and once to Twitter just to make sure we don’t forget to post things manually. If you are going to auto-post – particularly with Bible verses you read on YouVersion – make sure there are real posts in between. Otherwise people may start to think your page has been taken over by robots. Don’t forget the word social in social media with how you manage your page. Just as in real life no one likes a person who only talks about themselves, do other things besides promote your ministry on your page – post photos, ask random questions, share posts from other pages, post videos, etc. One page I see doing this a lot is the one for Second UMC in Millville.
1. Use a personal profile instead of a page. Facebook created pages for a reason. If you have a personal profile for your church, ministry or organization (you are able to friend people and do all the things you can do with a profile with your name on it) you are violating Facebook policy. Facebook has a lot of policies related to pages concerning contests and other ways you use your page, but none more important than this one. A Christian organization, church or ministry violating policy sets a very poor example. If you’re doing this, please stop.
What would you add to this list?