I have a secret weapon I use for our diocesan Facebook page, and it’s Google Alerts.
For those who don’t know about it, Google Alerts allows you to set up custom searches in Google and then receive an email whenever a new match occurs. This allows you to discover new content on subjects that interest you, but it’s also a great way to monitor what others are saying about your diocese, your parish, your school, or your ministry. If they’re saying good things, share it on Facebook!
To set up Google Alerts, follow these steps:
- Go to http://www.google.com/alerts. If you don’t already have one you’ll need to sign up for a Google account.
- Set up your custom searches. A great place to start is with the newspapers in your area; in the search field, use the “site:” prefix before a URL to limit the search to that site. For instance, I’ve set up searches for the word “Catholic” on the web sites of each of the major newspapers in our diocese. Every time one of those papers runs a story with the word “Catholic” in it, I get an email with a link to the story. If you just want stories on your parish, replace “catholic” with the name of your parish.
- Choose how often you want to receive emails. Once per day will be often enough for most searches.
- Wait for the emails to start arriving in your inbox! Review the links that come in and post any relevant links to your Facebook page!
It’s important to look over the stories before you post them. Sometimes you’ll get obituaries, and sometimes the stories aren’t flattering. Be careful, and be sure to share the good news about your ministry!