Q: Where can I find a sample Facebook policy from a Unitarian Universalist congregation?

A: Right here! This sample Facebook Policy from the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church (PDF) is an excellent starting point for congregations looking to develop their own Facebook Page policies.

Other resources that may be useful to your congregation as you establish or reexamine your Facebook Page are:

All of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s social media resources are available on the Top Picks for Social Media section of UUA.org

If you have a sample social media policy from a Unitarian Universalist congregation that you would like to share (and have permission to), please post a link to the policy in the comments or e-mail me at pw_specialist@uua.org

Choosing administrators for your congregation’s Facebook Page

I’ve received many questions from congregational leaders this summer about choosing administrators for Facebook Pages. Below are some tips to help your congregation make decisions about Page administration. Please keep in mind that this advice assumes that your congregation has already agreed to establish a page and that all potential administrators of that page have been authorized by the congregation to serve in that capacity.

  • The person who creates the Page will automatically become a page administrator.
  • The Page administrator can then select other people to serve as administrators. Once someone is an administrator, he or she can also add new administrators.
  • There should always be more than one person serving as an administrator for your congregation’s Facebook page. My recommendation is to have at least three trustworthy people in the congregation serving as page administrators, even if all three are not actively involved in day-to-day management of the page.
  • A person who administers a page can only post to the wall using the page name. For example, if Sally Smith is the administrator for the Page of the First Parish Happyville, all of the announcements that she posts to the wall will appear as coming from “First Parish Happyville” and not from “Sally Smith.” This restriction can be limiting for ministers or others who want to post as themselves. For example, a minister might want to write, “I’ll be at the potluck on Friday! Hope to see many of you there.” It’s awkward and confusing to write that as “First Parish Happyville.”
  • Announcements posted to the Page wall by administrators appear in the News Feeds of people who like the page.
  • Keep in mind that setting up multiple accounts for a single individual is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Use;  a person can either serve as a page administrator or can post as an individual on the wall. Not both (unfortunately!)

The tips above are based on the questions most frequently asked by congregations. To explore a wider range of technical issues related to page administration, visit Facebook’s help excellent section on “Creating, administering and editing your Page.”

Changing from a Facebook Group or Profile to a Page

Congregations often find themselves in the unfortunate position of having started a Group or a user profile for their congregation then deciding that they need to switch to having an organizational Page. Making the switch usually entails asking all of the congregation’s current friends or Group members to “like” the congregation’s new Page, and then eventually deleting the Group or deactivating (or deleting) the user account. (For more information about why a congregation may want to have a Page rather than a Group, please read this earlier post.)

Getting the word out to friends or Group members can be tedious. But Meck Groot, program coordinator for the Clara Barton and Massachusetts Bay District, recently showed how to communicate such a switch with humor and clarity. She sent the following e-mail to constituents earlier this summer (and generously gave permission for it to be shared here):

Subject:  We’re looking for Fans, not Friends on Facebook – sorry!!!

We made a Facebook mistake!

Unfortunately, Judy Murray and I have made a mistake about how to set up a page for Clara Barton and for Mass Bay Districts. We accidentally created two accounts as though CBD and MBD were individuals who wanted friends. We have since learned – through the generous help of true friends – that it is better to set up an organization page and to ask people to become Fans.

So, I have deactivated the CBD and MBD “personal” accounts and created two organization pages of which you can become a fan. To become a fan – and thereby receive information about upcoming events and news – please go to Facebook, find “Clara Barton District of UU Congregations” and/or “Mass Bay District of UU Congregations” and click on the “Like” button to become a fan of one or both organizations.

Sorry to all those who already signed up as friends. We do appreciate your friendship, but now the nature of our relationship must change. It happens!

-Meck Groot, Program Coordinator
Clara Barton and Mass Bay District of UU Congregations