In my last article, I wrote about why I believe Pastors and ministry leader should focus the limited time they have on Facebook Groups instead of blogs. You can read that article here.
In the next couple paragraphs, I want to give you some easy to follow instructions on how to run a successful FB group (personally I manage a few them with my largest one being about 700 members).
We will cover all the basics of how to get started to crafting an effective post. Trust me getting a private FB group up and running is a lot easier than you think.
What is a facebook group?
FB groups have been around for awhile but it seems like in the last few years they have really gained popularity for being places you can connect with people around a centralized topic.
The difference between posting in a FB group vs directly on your personal timeline is when you post in a group the content stays there and it cannot be seen or shared with people outside of the group. This makes people feel more comfortable to engage with content.
How to start a group.
This part is super simple. Below I lay out a step-by-step plan for getting your church private FB group up and going.
- Go to the left-hand menu in FB and under the ‘explore’ heading click on Groups
- In the right-hand corner click the green ‘Create a Group’ Button
- From here you will see a pop-up where you can name your group as well as pick a privacy setting. I would recommend having a closed group.
- Leave it on the default group type.
- You will need to add a few people to the group initially
- Leave it as a “Closed Group” this allows anyone to find the group but you will need to approve them to be in the group. And they will not be able to see the post until approved.
- Now just pick a cool icon and hit ‘OK’ to start your group
Personalize your group
First, upload a header image I would recommend only using your logo on this and not worry about any text that way it looks good on mobile, tablet and desktop.
Next, you will want to go to ‘Edit group settings’ by hitting the three ‘ … ‘ next to notifications in the header bar. Here you need to do a couple of things:
- Hit the customize address and put in a custom name and hit the ‘customize address’ button. This will give you a vanity URL so instead of your FB group URL being something like ‘www.facebook.com/groups/756572774506301‘ it will be ‘www.facebook.com/groups/yourchurchgroupname‘ this is a simple way to give your FB group some class.
- Take a moment and write a description for your group as well as a link to some rules for being in the group. I would recommend using google docs and make the document viewable to everyone.
- Now you need to add a location — since you are a church with a physical address it’s good to fill this out.
- Create a welcome video explaining the purpose of the group and ‘pin it.’
- Lastly, click on ‘All group posts must be approved by an admin or a moderator.’ if you want to avoid removing random embarrassing post please make sure this is clicked.
That’s it! You can now start adding members and regular attenders to the group.
? PRO-TIP: Download the Facebook Group App for your mobile Device.
How to manage a group.
First, you are going to want to choose some moderators. These are people who will be able to review post as they are added to the group.
Now that you have moderators I would sit down and create a weekly agenda you are going to follow. 2-3 times per week you are going to want to have some type of content that helps people engage with the group.
The four keys to creating great content:
- Keep it SIMPLE
- Create a SYSTEM
- Track your STATS
- Then STICK with it
Let’s start with the first key of keeping it SIMPLE. Below I am going to share two posts neither one were flashy. In both posts, I asked a simple question and they both generated some great engagement. The takeaway here is just to create simple content that anyone can comment on don’t overthink the production value.
You are going to get burn out super quick on FB groups if you don’t build a system. I would recommend you cough up the cash and spend $60 for a year-long membership to buffer.com it will be a life saver. Then just once a month plan out your post and schedule them but don’t forget to check-in and see who is commenting.
One of the most important things with social media that most people don’t think about is their stats. Facebook gives you tons of data on what is working.
Instead of always trying to post new things take some time every month and go back to see which post performed well, which videos got the most views, which questions got the most comments and what pictures got the most likes. Then rinse and repeat. Create similar content to get similar or better results.
? PRO-TIP: Every month we give away free social media graphics use them as post for your FB group. See examples here.
Lastly, you need to stick with it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is an highly-engaged FB group. So settle in, dig deep and invest into it for at least 90 days. I promise you will not be disappointed with the results.
You are ready to start your group!
Personally, I am excited to get your feedback recently I was reading about how church polled their congregation and found that 50% of their members were on FB during the week. I would imagine it would be similar for your church which means Facebook becomes the best way for you to connect, equip and encourage your members throughout the week.