At last count, there are over 800 million Facebook users. Chances are, there are many people in your parish using Facebook every day.
It’s necessary for parishes to develop a strong social media presence to connect with their members and people seeking to learn more. You could be missing out on a vital resource to connect with your community.
What should a parish’s Facebook page contain? Here are things that I’ve seen that keep me visiting the parish page again and again.
1. Update the information
Basic information such as location, parish office hours, and Mass times are easy to add in the About section. Let people know when they can drop in for Reconciliation, or visit with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.
You can access this information via your Archdiocese website, but the Facebook page can be quickly updated to reflect any changes.
Who is the priest? Permanent deacon? Does the parish have a school?
Show everyone what you look like! It’s easy to upload pictures of parish events, staff, church or school buildings and more.
2. Tell people what’s happening
I tend to pore over a bulletin or the Archdiocesan newspaper to find out things that are happening at my parish or around the city. Parishioners can easily skim through a parish Facebook page to check out upcoming events.
Online, it’s easy to make things visual. In my area, many parishes are using Father Robert Barron’s Catholicism program for faith formation for adults. A neighboring parish recently posted a video that was approved by the well known music video producer on their Facebook page explaining the ins and outs of the 10 week series. That’s something you certainly can’t get across in a paper bulletin.
3. Ask for help
Need help with VBS? Preparing for lector training? Put out the call on the parish Facebook page. You may get a quicker response than using a phone tree or emails.
4. Pay it forward
After a large project, it’s easy to thank members for their participation by making a post on the Facebook page. You can mention folks by name or keep it anonymous.
Share resources outside your parish. One of my favorite parishes in my area has a wonderful Facebook page, frequently sharing the Gospel readings of the day, songs, or videos. Recently, I even spotted a video from That Catholic Show!
5. Make connections
Encourage ownership of the Facebook page to parishioners. You can post a question, host a poll, or share thoughts from church members. Ask your parishioners to spread the word about the page, and share it with others.
6. Use separate pages for separate ministries
One of my favorite parishes in my area, St. Gabriel, does a wonderful job utilizing Facebook. They have a main page, along with separate pages for religious education, mother’s club, child care, and their music ministries. Parishioners and people looking for information can easily find what they need.
7. Go global
Don’t make it ALL about the individual parish, but focus on the Church as a whole. Call attention to worldwide events like Catholic Youth Day – let folks know what’s going on in the Catholic Church in other parts of the world.
Does your parish have a Facebook page?
Do you have tips and tricks to share? Any pitfalls to avoid? Be sure and share your thoughts in the comment box.
Copyright © 2012, Dianna Kennedy
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