Looking for a way to stay connected when you aren’t physically in the same room? A Facebook Group is just one option to do this, especially since most people already have a Facebook account. But, as with any social networking accounts, a Facebook group has a ton of settings that you should explore.
A group is different from a page. They are more intimate and allow more conversations to occur. Any member of the group can post (as long as the settings allow it). A page does not allow for this level of interaction. Plus, it helps that Facebook has emphasized groups lately over pages – this means that Facebook Groups will get priority in the algorithm while Pages will be downplayed. If you run a page, just know that it will be more challenging to connect with your audience without spending money on advertisements.
How to Start a Facebook Group:
From your computer, you can go to the top right corner (next to your profile picture) and click “Create.” You’ll see an option to create a Group.
Next, you’ll want to name your Facebook group. Make sure it simple but detailed enough that people know what it is. If you already know some people who should be in the group, go ahead and add them. However, you must be friends with them. Facebook will send them an invitation.
Groups are opt-in, meaning that you must actively accept the invitation or join the group in order to be a member.
There are two levels of privacy. Public means that anyone can find it and see what’s posted in the group without joining. This also means that anything shared in the group can be shared out of the group (i.e. I can share a post from your group to my personal Facebook page). Private means that anyone can find the group, BUT they cannot see what’s in the group until they join. Then, you cannot share anything in the group outside of the group.
Private groups are recommended for groups that may share private or sensitive information – prayer requests, church needs around church members, etc.
Once you determine the privacy, hit “Create.”
Getting the Group Set Up:
Your Facebook group is now created! You’ve got a few more steps to get it just right. A great place to start is the cover photo. You can upload any picture here, but keep in mind it will look different between mobile and the computer. Keep text centered if you add any to the picture.
Next, go to the “Edit Group Settings” tab by either going to the left-hand sidebar (new Facebook design) or under the cover photo (classic Facebook design). Let’s walk through all your options:
- Group Name: If you need to edit the name at any time, go here and just type in a new one!
- Group Type: You can see all the options here. If you are setting up something for a church group, you most likely want to keep it at General. If it’s an educational group, you can always look into the Social Learning tab so you can include learning units. That’s a little more than most people need.
- Description: Include a description of what your group is and will do. This is how people know whether or not the group is right for them.
- Location: If your group is specific to people located in a particular city/region, choose it here. This is optional.
- Tags: You can type in words that describe your group here. This is also optional.
- Apps: Very rarely will you ever need this.
- Linked pages: If your group is related to a page (Church page, for example) you can link it as a way for others to find your group more easily. However, you must be an admin in both the group and page to make the match.
- Color: This is a bonus – you can pick a color for your group.
- Web address: You can make a unique web address just for your group. Facebook requires that it be unique, so it will kick it back to you if it’s already taken.
- Privacy: If you need to change the privacy, do so here. You can only do this when you have less than about 100 members. Otherwise, you get locked in.
- Badges: These are fun little tags that show up next to your members’ names as they interact. Choose the ones you want to allow here.
- Post Topics: You can add topics to each of your posts to help organize them in the Discussion section.
- Membership approval: If you need to make sure the people in your group are legitimately supposed to be there (i.e. you don’t want any men in your women’s group!) then you will want to check the box that requires Only Admins and moderators to approve the members.
- Membership Pre-approvals: You don’t need this unless you manage a ton of groups.
- Membership Requests: If you want to moderate the people in your group a little bit more, then you can ask questions as people join.
- Automatic member approval: You can check this out, but it’s often not needed unless your group is growing faster than you can manage.
- Membership Requests from Pages: Rarely will you want to add a page to your group. Generally, you don’t need this, but you may want to add your church page as a “member.”
- Posting Permissions: For the best conversations, allow anyone to post.
- Post Approval: If you allow anyone to post, then select whether you want to review the posts before they are public.
- Keywords: If you want to monitor your group a little more, you can add keywords here. This is also not something you’re going to need unless your group is large.
After you sort out all of your settings, move on to the group rules.
Go to “Moderate Group” under the more section under the cover photo. You’ll see more options but go to “Create Rules.” Make any rule you would like to apply to your group. Here are a few recommended rules:
- Be Kind and Respectful: Be kind and courteous in your discussions. Debates are allowed and even healthy, but be respectful as you post and comment.
- No Promotions or Spam: This group is intended to share ideas, create conversation, and promote community. Financial promotions or materials will not be allowed.
- Right to Delete Posts: Group admins reserve the right to delete any post/comment that does not meet the standards of the group expectations.
When people request to join the Facebook group, you will have to approve them. Go to “Member Requests” under the Moderate Group tab. Then, you will see everyone asking to join. You can approve them all at one time or one by one.
Now, create a post! Go to Discussion and post just like you would on your personal page. You can add video, photos, a file (PDF, PowerPoint, Word), polls, etc.
Invite people to your group by going to the right-hand side bar and typing in names. They will only appear if you’re already friends with them.
Those are the basics! Enjoy your group! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We also have a Communications Ministry Facebook Group you can join for more tips like these. For more posts, click here.