There are many opinions about how to use Facebook in your children’s ministry. Do I need a Facebook Page? Do I need a group that is closed or open? Can I post pictures of kids? How do I use it to promote my ministry. I will attempt to answer all these questions and explain the framework for a Kidmin Social Media Strategy.
1. Should I have a Facebook Page for my Kids Ministry?
Without question the answer is yes! However, if your going to do it, be ready to manage it. The worst thing you can do is to create one, then never post to it or update it. The reason is this, if someone finds your page and it hasn’t been updated in weeks or months it appears that you have abandoned it. If you launch a fan page you will need to update it at least every 48 hours and can post things up to 3 times per day depending on your audience.
A great tool to schedule post in advance is www.hootsuite.com. Its free and you can add several accounts, pages, and groups.
2. Should I have a fan page, a group, or a personal page?
What ever you do DO NOT set up a ministry page as a personal page where you can add friends. Don’t do it, just don’t do it. Its wrong on so many levels. But you should have a fan page and a group page. I will explain the difference.
A fan page is a public page and is “Liked” by the online community. Once they “Like” your page they will see the page post in their feed. This best use for the page is to promote events, make appropriate announcements, provide meaningful content like scriptures, encouragement, links to articles etc. This is a great tool to reach people who do not attend your church. you can invite people to “Like” your page but you can not make them “Like” it.
A group is a collection of personal accounts “grouped” together by a common thread. You can create a group and add… let’s say in the case of a kids ministry, you might add parents who have kids in your ministry. Anyone in the group can post to the group with questions, share stories etc. You can utilize the group for two way communication, updates, events, need to know information. I recommend a closed group for this. You can add people and people can request to be added to the group. I use this more like inner-church communication. You may also want to create a closed group for your kids team. Again, I recommend this to be a closed group and can be used to communicate between the team as needed. With groups it not necessary to keep a posting schedule but you will want to monitor it and keep it fresh.
3. What if I want to post pictures of kids to promote the ministry?
This topic has a lot of varying responses. Here is how I handle pictures.
Churches, according to the law are not considered “Public” places and therefore attendees have a right to privacy. So if you were to post a picture online and someone wanted to haul you to court, they could and might have a case. But there are a few things can do if you want to use pictures in your ministry.
If you use pictures of people just be courteous. Don’t post bad pictures of people. Posting pictures in a closed group you should be fine, but if your going to post to the general community, I recommend getting a parent to sign a release form, you can get one here.
You can also post notices around your campus, put them in a bulletin or on the bottom of the registration card. The only problem with this is when someone comes and says “I don’t want my picture being used”, then you have to manage that and communicate it to everyone who might post a photo or use live video.
As for posting pictures of kids, its not something I would do every week. Use general pics of large groups, if your going to use a face shot I recommend getting a written consent beforehand. It might seem like a lot of trouble but its nothing in comparison to the amount of trouble it could be.
I hope this helps clear up some confusion about Facebook and Kidmin but guess what, tomorrow will be a new frontier with social media and the game will change. Until then, hang in there and keep doing what you do
How are you leveraging social media for your ministry? Love to hear in the comments below.