Archive for Facebook – Page 2


Trying to stay up with all the different social media programs you have subscribed to? Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and a few RRS feeds you subscribe to? It would be sure nice if everything was in one place.  A place you can read, respond and post all on one dashboard.  Social media HootSuite offers a dashboard that brings it all together very nicely. In a short time, while you are at your home computer you can have up to five of your favorite social media streams all setup on the HootSuite dashboard. Viewing multiple social media networks on one screen is sudden very cool without opening a new page.  HootSuite lets you link up to two RSS or Atom Feeds.

Pastors on Facebook

Here are 8 great things a pastor can do on Facebook. by  Paul Steinbrueck

1. Listen. James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters,
take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow
to become angry” Nothing could be more important on Facebook. Listen more than
you speak. By listening you’ll get to know people better and learn what’s going
on in their lives. You find out who is hurting, who is frustrated, who is
thriving, who is gifted in ways you never realized.

2. Pray. James 5:16 tells us, “The prayer of a righteous
person is powerful and effective.” Whether your Facebook friends post good news
or bad, a success or a failure, you can always pray for them. When you do, ask
God for guidance as to how to respond if at all. He may prompt you with the
words to type in a reply. He may prompt you to pick up the phone. Who knows
what could happen.

3. Engage/comment. Of course, if all you do is listen and
pray, you’re not going to have much impact on Facebook. In fact, nobody’s going
to even know you’re there. Show you care about your Facebook friends by engaging
with them. Comment on people’s updates. When other people comment on your
updates, reply back to them. Respond promptly to messages and new friend

4. Publicly encourage. One of the best ways you can engage
with people and show you care is to encourage them. It doesn’t take a lot of
time or effort either. You can post a comment on someone’s update with a simple:
“Congrats!” “That’s awesome!” or “I’m praying for you,” shows the person (and
their Facebook friends) that you really are listening and you care.

5. Respond privately to sensitive issues. Facebook not only
provides the means to respond publicly to your friends, but also privately. If
someone posts an update alluding to a personal or sensitive issue – their
relationship status changes, they’ve lost their job, they sound depressed – in
addition to publicly encouraging them, you may want to want to send them a
private message. Not only does it give you the opportunity to say something you
might night want to say publicly, but by asking open-ended questions you invite
them to open up more privately about what’s going on and how they’re really

6. Be human. People are not connecting with you on Facebook
so they can hear about God and church all the time. They want to relate to you
as human being. Post about what’s happening in your life. Share photos and
video of your family. Talk about your other interests and hobbies. Share links
to articles you think are interesting.

7. Be authentic. People are also not connecting with you so
they can see how perfect people live. Don’t just post the good stuff that’s
going on in your life. It’s OK to express sadness, anger and frustration. In
fact, it’s not just OK, it’s necessary. We are all frail and sinful. People
need to understand that as a pastor you are not better than they are. You are
just blessed to be forgiven and have the Holy Spirit at work in your life.

8. Initiate friend requests. Some people are afraid to
initiate a friend request with a pastor. After you meet someone in the
community or meet someone for the first time at church, initiate a friend
request with them the next time you’re on Facebook. Remember Jesus hung out
with prostitutes and tax collectors, so you should be hanging out on Facebook
with people who are not Christians too.

Did You Know 4.0

This is another official update to the original “Shift Happens” video. This completely new Fall 2009 version includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist. For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit and

Content by XPLANE, The Economist, Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Laura Bestler. Music by DoKashiteru, “Home Tonight.” Design and development by XPLANE, You can follow us on Twitter at

Social Media Practices and Procedures Manual

Now that you’ve established guidelines for staff and volunteer leader participation online, this portion of your social media policy can describe HOW you hope to support and sustain a social media initiative. Here are some things topics you may want to discuss and document in your social media manual:

  • Publication schedule. Establish a plan for how often posts will appear in your various social media channels (e.g. one video a month on YouTube, two wall posts per week on Facebook, a Twitter update every other day). This ensures that the areas don’t become stale, and by spreading out posts you make “space” for member comments and contributions.
  • Automated posts. Automation methods can help keep your site fresh. For example, an “Announcements” RSS feed on your congregation website can automatically update your congregation Facebook Wall and Twitter feed. This acknowledges that members have different preferences for how they receive information, and you are striving to provide church information in the most convenient way for them.
  • Moderator schedule. If you are successful, members and prospective members will be participating with posts, comments on your Facebook wall, and be sharing links, photos and videos with other members. Part of the responsibility of having a social media presence is monitoring what goes on there. Establish and schedule a social media team to monitor your site 7 days a week. Not all members of the team need administrator rights to remove posts that are spam or offensive, but they need to know how to contact an administrator if intervention is needed.
  • Helpful tools. If you’re lucky enough to have several congregation staff members interested in participating online, tools like MediaFunnel and HootSuite can help coordinate and manage your social media presence by letting you schedule posts, establish a work flow and review process.
  • Talk about your approach. In the least, your social media presence might be a convenient way to get announcements out to members in a place where they are already visiting (and each announcement can be used to drive people to more information on your congregation Web site). So in addition to collecting together updates for occasional publication in the Sunday bulletin or congregation newsletter, as soon as you hear about some event, deadline, news item, update, etc., you would do a wall post on the congregation Facebook page. The best posts are ones that also invite members to comment. And the ideal site has members posting announcements and reminders themselves.
  • Developing a place for members to reflect on their faith. Is there a “member care” or “fellowship” group who could intentionally post reflections, event images and videos, and questions for member response? Maybe approach members of your adult education or learning committee to develop regular questions to post online (make sure other committee members are ready to respond with comments, in order to prime the pump). For some sample questions, check out some of the “talk bubbles” that have been posted on
  • Look for models of effective use of social media in congregations. One example of a congregation with well-developed e-communication tools is Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, Minn. ( A church staff person does regular Facebook posts and members occasionally comment ( It’s interesting to note that, in general, discussion boards seem fairly quiet on Facebook, but people are often willing to comment and “like” wall posts. Polling congregation staff and lay leaders to see if others are willing to post and comment is an important step, otherwise, by default all posts will be from you. That may be helpful for members, but not as interesting as the variety you have with many people contributing. A “Welcome” page is useful for people who may be new to Facebook. Facebook has become the most popular photo-sharing site. Zion has built up a large library of albums that help provide a window into congregational life. Facebook’s “tagging” feature lets parents or the people pictured decide if they will be identified in a photo.


Social Media and Congregations

Strategies, Guidelines, Best Practices and Resources

Elements of a Social Media Strategy

Elements of a Social Media Strategy

The resource list below has a number of good references for helping you develop a comprehensive social media strategy. Ideally this strategy will be one component of an overall communication plan for your congregation that includes all the ways you interact with your members and the community. A good strategy provides a rationale, plus some structure and foundation for this aspect of ministry. Basic strategy elements should address some of these questions:

  • What’s the plan? Involve key stakeholders in planning a strategy. What is your organizational strategy … where does social media fit in? Help the group answer the basic question of: What are your objectives? Evangelism and outreach? Information for members? Inspiration?
  • Who is your target audience? Are you primarily trying to reach and connect members, or are you primarily hoping to reach out to the community and prospective members? Most congregations are trying to reach both, but you should still describe your audience as thoroughly as possible, since you will want to target your efforts and possibly use different channels to reach different audience segments.
  • Why are we considering this means of communicating? Outline your reasons for this initiative. Social media offers the possibility for collaborating with purpose. It can extend the community that gathers on Sunday morning into the rest of the week and integrate “church life” into daily life.
  • Where? When choosing a social media platform, the most cost effective and successful approach is usually to boldly go where your members are. Are your members active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc.? This may mean setting aside your personal preference for social media platform in favor of reaching your members where they are.
  • Public vs. Private space? Eventually you will probably need both: outposts where your members already are; home spaces for private groups. You can also build private spaces within public spaces (e.g. private Facebook groups). Start with where people are. If you outgrow that, consult with key users and get their buy-in before branching out.
  • Who will implement the strategy? Are you willing to shift your thinking about congregational communication, and shift your time from other tasks, to feed and monitor a social media presence? This work is a great opportunity for lay leadership, but staff oversight and some level of participation is needed. Your strategy needs to identify the human resources that will be applied to setting up and maintaining a social media presence.
  • How will the strategy be implemented? Transforming into a networked organization involves trust and getting more people involved. This is easier when you have a policy to empower staff and volunteers to communicate freely in a responsible way. Develop work flows for how information will be shared over time, and a schedule of who will monitor and support this virtual community on a regular basis.
  • How will the communication needs of all members continue to be met?  It is important to avoid creating a “technology gap” in your overall communication strategy, where members without the means or desire for digital connections are left out. Using online community to help mobilize volunteers to connect with the offline community can help fill this gap, as well as on-demand printing of some essential communications for those who indicate that preference.


Social Media and Congregations

Strategies, Guidelines, Best Practices and Resources

Facebook Tips

Strategies for Effective Facebook Wall Posts: A Statistical Review
Buddy Media Platform

  • Keep it short and sweet.  Shorter posts have a higher engagement rate.
  • Avoid URL Shorteners. Full URLs have higher engagement rates.  With a shortened URL there is no indication where the link goes & users may be less likely to click.
  • Post When People Are Listening. Posting outside of business hours can increase engagement rates.  Think about it – would you be engaging in personal posts during work hours?
    • In General
      • Thursdays & Fridays = highest engagement rates
      • Wednesday = lowest engagement rates
      • Saturday & Sunday = above average engagement rates
    • For Healthcare
      • Thursday = highest engagement rates for health-care & beauty industries
  • Give Simple, Clear Instructions. Fans will follow instructions.  Be direct by asking people to “like” you.  Ask fans to “post”, “comment”, or “tell” you something.
    • To Get Likes.  Use words: like, take, submit, watch, post, comment.
    • To Get Comments. Use words: post, comment, tell us, check, like, submit.
  • Ask Questions at the End.  Posts that end with a question (remember to be direct) have a higher engagement rate.
    • Where, When, Would, Should.  These words drive the highest engagement rates.
    • Avoid Why.  Why questions have the lowest “like” and comment rates, and may be perceived as intrusive and/or challenging.

16 Ways to Get More Comments On Your Facebook Page
John Haydon

  • Ask Specific Questions. Specificity will get more comments.
  • Ask Yes or No Questions.  Yes or no: Are you more likely to answer “yes or no” questions, or open-ended ones that require time and attention? Point given.
  • Ask edgy questions.  Edgy questions draw more attention and engagement.
  • Ask questions about a photo.  Share a photo and ask fans to comment.
  • Ask fun questions.  Don’t be afraid to go off topic a little bit – show them you are human and not just “the government”.  However, don’t go overboard – we are still a federal agency.
  • Ask who attended an event.  Did you just hold a Welcome Home Event? Ask your fans if they attended (and maybe what they thought about it).
  • Ask for tip.  Ask for tips to improve your program / facility.
  • Ask humanistic questions.  Example: “When you were first recovering from a brain aneurysm, what gave you the most hope?”
  • Stay Away From Risky Questions.  Questions that could get people to release PHI / PII should be avoided.  There are many identity thieves using Facebook that would love to get these responses.

Defining Social Media

There are a number of great social media tutorials on YouTube and A simple view is that social media are web and mobile device-based tools for sharing. Some basic characteristics of social media include:

  • Listening to what members and others are saying, about their congregation, the ELCA as a denomination, “being Lutheran” and about what is going on in their lives. Members are able to post text, images, sound and video in easily accessible ways, so following them online can provide helpful community insights.
  • Posting useful, inspiring text, images, audio and/or video on a regular basis.
  • Commenting on the posts of others.
  • Sharing, pointing others to information and resources that may be of help to them.

Some congregations are abandoning traditional websites and doing all their online communication through social media sites like Facebook; others use their website as the place where they bring all their social media initiatives together in one spot: announcements from Twitter, calendar from Google, photos from Flickr and videos from YouTube. As Facebook features expand, it may be less necessary to use separate sites for photos, videos and groups. Facebook is already the most popular photo-sharing site.


Social Media and Congregations

Strategies, Guidelines, Best Practices and Resources

Shift Happen’s 2010

Did You Know? 2011 “We are living in exponential times”

20 Questions Which Will Stimulate Activity In Your Online Community


A key to a successful Facebook fan page is to ensure you are engaging with your fans.  Here’s a great article that has some ideas to get some dialog started with your fans.


The Online Community Guide

20 Questions Which Will Stimulate Activity In Your Online Community

Are you struggling to stimulate activity in your online community? Do you have lots of members but little participation. Try asking the sorts of questions that stimulate discussion in every online community.

Here are 20 to get you started:

  1. What is your favourite ………. ?Asking members about their favourite anything will stimulate a response. Try it.
  2. What is your average day like?People love to talk about themselves. Ask them what their average day is like and they’ll tell you. They’ll also compare it with anyone else that answers.
  3. What do you think about ………?Giving opinions is human nature. When you ask for opinions you’ll get a lot.
  4. What advice would you give to the person above you? Careful about these. Can stimulate a lot of activity, can also get way out of hand. Useful for a light-hearted touch to your community efforts.
  5. Can anyone recommend …..?People like to be helpful and show off knowledge. Asking for recommendations will solicit knowledge and engagement from users.
  6. What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you whilst ….. ? Self explanatory. Let members share their stories. It’ll almost certainly boost activity and return visits. Members will slowly get to know and like each other.
  7. Can anyone fix …… ?Present a difficult problem, let members try to suggest ways to fix it.
  8. What is the best/worst …………….. ?Opinions, opinions, opinions. Solicit them in as many different ways as possible. Pick a sub-category and ask people for their best/worst suggestions.
  9. Who do you most admire?Pick someone in your niche you most admire and tell others why.
  10. Is {x} really better than {y}?Make it controversial. Pick an issue members will be split on – but not divisively so. Ask questions about it. Let people take sides.
  11. If you weren’t ……….., would you ………….. ?Create a hypothetical situation in which all members can give their opinion on something radical.
  12. Who/What are your top 5 …………… ?Ranking is addictive. Ask people to rank their top 5 anything and then try to create an overall ranking based upon the community.
  13. How would you handle {topical issue}?If your members in charge, how would they handle a topical issue in your sector?
  14. What …… do you use?Relevant in almost all online communities, ask people to compare what relevant products/services they use. Companies love this information too.
  15. Does anyone know how to ………….. ?Does anyone know provokes interest, the how to can be broad or specific. People are likely to participate.
  16. Has anyone tried…………….. ?Again, has anyone is all-encompassing and people are likely to share their experiences.
  17. Is …….. right about ………. ?Take someone’s stance on a topical issue and throw it open to comment by the entire community.
  18. What would you do if ……. ?Create a hypothetical situation, perhaps a problem lots of people face, and ask members what they would do. Life problems work well here.
  19. What should every newcomer know about ….? Well, what should every newcomer know about something relevant in your sector? It’s great advice – perfect for a sticky-thread.
  20. Share your pictures/top tips here. Sharing advice and pictures can be an easy win for stimulating activity. Try it. I suspect you will find it easy to gain lots of valuable insights.

The more open-ended the question, the more everyone can participate. When you post a question, try prodding a few members to reply and get the activity started.