This is second post in a series. It might be helpful to start from the beginning. Or not. Whatever works best for you.
Facebook is a powerful platform, that, in a few ways, reminds me of AOL, with it’s quasi-“walled garden” mentality, which is part of what killed AOL, though I don’t know if that’s exactly what will kill Facebook. Either way, until that takes place, let’s look at how to make use of Facebook and its AOL-like features.
Features of the Walled Garden: Pages & Groups
Like most walled gardens, there are features within beyond the flowers, shrubs, and trees. Think of a fancy fountain or nice patio or even a pergola. Facebook has long had such features. Think about FarmVille and the heyday of games on Facebook. Those were a feature, even though they’ve faded away now. More current features of Facebook’s garden are Groups and Pages.
Pages, in no uncertain terms, are basically cloistered websites that function within Facebook’s walled garden. Granted that you can access these pages without a Facebook account, but that’s not much of a feature as a page couldn’t truly replace a website for the outside world, since Facebook could shutdown a page at a moment’s notice
Or even without notice.
However, a page is vital for reaching those on Facebook. My church uses our page to reach people who may have expressed in our church (i.e. liked our page) but who are unlikely to actually attend our church on a regular or even semi-regular basis. The best way to do this is to have those who attend our church to share the various posts that come from our page. When they share our posts, it gives our posts a microcosm of “going viral,” meaning that 2000 people might see our post instead of the usual 150 we get through Facebook’s “organic” reach.*
Groups are vastly different than pages. Not because they offer something different than pages—they don’t—but because they connect us with someone different. Pages are for the outsider, the person at the fringe of what you’re doing and who you are. The group is for the insider, for the core and those a level or two further one, who are slowly moving further inward.
Put it simple: your Facebook Page is your front-face, clean and polished for everyone to see, and your Facebook Group should be reserved for communication between insiders—it’s where the sausage is made, where housekeeping is done away from the public eye.
How I Use a Page & Group
This is really simple and perhaps a bit repetitive, but I use our church’s page to promote events and activities that would interest outsiders. I use the group to keep the church informed about everything. However, some things overlap. For example, I share our weekly worship list through both the page and the group. Yet, some things only happen on the page, like Facebook Events. I only create events on the page, so that they can then be “boosted,” but more on that later.
To be honest, our Facebook group is very vibrant, more so than our page because the page is limited by the organic reach algorithm that Facebook uses. Our group, though, is filled with prayer requests, questions, comments, and a whole host of other signs of life.
And it’s not hard to do! We set our group up so that administrators have to approve those who join, but we allow everyone to post and don’t require admin approval for posting because that limits conversation. However, in such a free environment, you have to be ready to delete posts that don’t belong, and I have done that. In fact, two months ago, I had to delete a partisan political post and speak with the poster in real life in order to explain why we don’t allow those. Social media helps a lot, but it can’t cause problems if you’re not careful.
If I missed anything or if you’ve got question, comment below. Next time, we’ll look at Facebook Events.
*We’ll discuss this a bit more in future post.