We all know it is more than a fad. Facebook is here to stay as both a social networking site and a social marketing tool. When used effectively, Facebook can help you build community, better understand your members, and engage them in deeper and more meaningful ways. Below are some ways that you can use Facebook to engage your community:
1) Tell your members you are on Facebook! They aren’t mind readers. The old mantra “If you build it, they will come” will only work if your members are in the know. Is your Facebook icon clearly visible on your website and showing on every page? Have you sent an e-mail to your members telling them to find you on Facebook? Ask for a publicity committee to help you spread the word. Think about including a “like us on Facebook” link in your e-mail signatures, at the bottom of your E-newsletters and on your website.
2) Communicate with your members online. Keep your members engaged and connected with constant updates, questions, fun trivia, and pictures. Your members already like your synagogue; now it is your job to connect them online. Aim for posting on Facebook about three times a day (morning, lunch, and afternoon) and aim to ask one question and to share one photo a day. Archive photos always make captivating posts. We enjoy how Jvillage Network member Congregation Kol Ami maintains a fun and lively Facebook page.
3) Think strategically. Managing social media is not something that can be put on auto-pilot. Social media managers need to invest the time and resources necessary to make your organization successful on social media. You will want to make social media an integral part of your marketing and public relations initiatives and be sure you are using the channels in tandem. If you are profiling a new member or program in your latest newsletter, announce that on social media. If you want to publicize a new staff member or program, start with a post on Facebook. Remember to link back to an article or announcement on your website.
4) Don’t forget branding! Your timeline cover needs to clearly identify your organization. Keep in line with the color and style of your other marketing materials. Jvillage Member Congregation Beth Shalom highlights one of their beautiful stained glass pieces on their Facebook page and website.
5) Content.Content.Content. Rich, engaging, fun content is the key to your success on social media. You can be serious and silly on Facebook, but the most important aspect is that you make an authentic, genuine presence. Feel free to post anecdotal tidbits or recipes throughout the day, but be sure to make sure your Facebook posts are about your organization and that you are highlighting upcoming events, programs, and other opportunities. Your posts need to be timely, useful, and relevant content that will appeal to your members. If you are struggling with coming up content ideas to share, the Jvillage Content Channels always features relevant, timely, and interesting content.
6) Create a Contest. One very easy way to engage your members is to give them incentive to win something. Everyone loves to participate in contests and win prizes. Try posting a trivia contest and ask your congregants a history question about your congregation, such as “In what year did the kitchen first get renovated?” or “When did we first hire a cantor? The first congregant to answer correctly could win something from your gift shop.
8) Analyze. Watch what is working and do more of that. Use bitly to drive traffic to your Facebook page and see how many clicks you get. Explore your Facebook insights and learn what kinds of posts are getting the most response. You will also be able to learn what demographic is most active on your site and then you can target accordingly to them, or try to attract a different group.
9) Have fun! Thank your members for their support and highlight their accomplishments and remember that social media is about being social. Connect with other synagogues in your area by liking their pages and share their posts. You may even make some new friends offline!