So you want to create a Facebook page for your parish. You may even be wondering why you are really creating one. How do you do it? Who will maintain it? What do you post to it? All are valid questions that will be touched on.
First, a Facebook page provides a parish with several benefits. One, you get an additional avenue to communicate with your parish. The service has about 154 million users in the US and 500 million users worldwide. That means that a good majority of the US population are users (with large percentages of adult generations), and if you surveyed your parish you would most likely find a good majority of users in your parish community. Facebook users are typically loyal users as well. They check their accounts and are active daily on the service. All of this together provides parish communities today a powerful additional avenue to communicate with parishioners and spread the Good News much farther than our existing geographic areas.
Before you get started. You will want to do a few things prior to actually creating the page which takes about 20 minutes. This is where you can get your Tech Ministry involved.
- Decide who will create the page initially and who will be the “Administrators”. I recommend having at least 3 ‘Administrators’ selected. This gives you multiple people that can monitor and keep posts and interactions on the page lively.
- Create a ‘Profile’ image. These images can be 200 pixels wide by 600 pixels long. This way you can add a small photo of your parish as well as information such as address and phone number. Some pages have begun updating this image monthly adding to the image a “Fan of the month” which is a great idea.
So how do you create your own parish Facebook Page? Here’s how:
- Click here to begin creating a page.
- Select the type of page which will be ‘Company, Organization, or Institution’
- Select “Church” from the dropdown menu and enter the name of your parish.
- You now have the “shell” of you page. It’s time to customize it. Select “Edit Page” in the upper right hand corner.
- On the next menu, choose “Profile Picture”. Profile pictures can be up to 200 pixels wide by 600 pixels long. This gives you enough space to create a nice looking “banner” style image for your page like the one shown above. Choose the image you created and upload it.
- Once your image is uploaded, select “Edit Thumbnail” under the image. Move the image around to find the best part of your image that will show up each time you post which will also appear on the “wall” of those following your page.
- Now select “Manage Permissions” from the menu on the left. You will need to make some decisions here, but don’t be too concerned because they can be changed at any time. One will be what those who “Like” (or follow) your page can or can not post it the “wall”. Most pages allow others to post things but limit others adding photos or videos. Check or uncheck the appropriate boxes for what you choose to allow. There is also a “Profanity Blocklist” at the bottom. Select “Strong” from the dropdown menu.
Now your page is set and ready to go. The initial URL (web address) will be long and look kind of strange. Once you have 25 “Likes” to your page, you can change this to one that is simple your parish name which would make the URL look like “www.Facebook.com/your-parish-name”. Getting those initial “Likes” should not be difficult as you should announce it to your parish via the bulletin, at the end of Masses, your website, and add a Facebook icon to your website linking to your page.
So what do you post your page? This is the great thing because it can be used for a variety of purposes for posts and here are some ideas:
- Photos of events
- Announcements of events and links to more information
- Link to a blog post from your clergy and ask a question or initiate a thought. This is a great way to get a conversation going.
- Videos or articles you find relating to the faith.
- Daily readings
- So forth and so on
Those are the basics. There is more, but we’ll leave it there for now. Here’s some examples of great Catholic Facebook pages to draw ideas from as well:
- Catholic Tech Talk
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- CatholicTV.com “Your Catholic Broadband Network”
- Ask A Catholic Priest
- Ask A Catholic Nun
- Plus many others you can find by simply searching “Catholic” on Facebook
What are your thoughts on Facebook pages for parishes? How are you using Facebook for your parish?