Social networking is one of the most important and useful ways to reach congregants. Through social networking, Jewish people of all ages can connect, spread Jewish culture and share experiences. Social networking has already proven it can connect people of all ages on numerous levels, and Facebook is the most popular social networking website.
Watch and Learn
The webinar Wall to Wall: An Introduction to Facebook is available on our website in the URJ Webinar Archives under the Technology and Marketing section.
Have a question?
Please address all questions about this guide and Facebook to the URJ Web Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 650-4222.
What is Facebook?
Facebook is a social networking website that was initially created for people to keep up with each others lives. It has also proven to be a powerful business tool. Facebook is primarily made up of profiles and pages
Profiles are for people where they share photos, updates, video and anything else about their lives with other people that they have approved as Facebook friends. When you hear people talk about Facebook the majority of the time they are speaking about their profiles. Individuals must have a profile in order to become a fan of your Facebook page.
Pages are for businesses, causes and other institutions like congregations. Pages have similar features to profiles and anyone with a Facebook profile can become a fan of a Facebook page. What does being a fan mean?
When you are a fan of a page you automatically see the updates from that page on your news feed. The news feed is what you see when you first log into Facebook. It is where you see announcements such as, Sara Stein got married, but it is also where you can see that your congregation has an upcoming event. Facebook users will also see when their friends fan a page. For example, it will say Scott Schwartz is now a fan of Congregation Beth El. Anyone who is friends with Scott on Facebook will see this announcement. Some of these Facebook friends may be members of Congregation Beth El and might decide to fan the page as well. Scott might also have unaffiliated Jewish friends on Facebook who live in his area, and some of them might decide to fan the page and in turn become a member of the congregation.
Why should my congregation have a Facebook Page?
Using Facebook means going where your audience is rather than trying to get them to come to you. Congregations must seek out their audience, and 200 million people are on Facebook. Teenagers, young adults, parents of young children, and older generations are on Facebook. Currently, the fastest-growing demographic of users is women over 55. Once an affiliated or unaffiliated individual takes one simple step to fan your Facebook page they will see all updates on their Facebook home page. This encourages a community that exists online, where users are used to interacting. There is also no cost to have a Facebook page.
How do I create a Facebook Page?
There are two paths to reach the create a page form. The first is if you are not logged into Facebook, and the second is if you have a Facebook account and are logged in.
1. If you are not logged in:
Step 1: Go to facebook.com
Step 2: Click the create a page link
2. If you are logged into a Facebook account
Step 1: At the bottom of the Facebook home page click on the advertising link.
Step 2: Click the pages link
Step 3: Click the create a page green button
After following either of these paths you will reach the page pictured in the screenshot below.
Fill out the fields to create your Facebook page.
Now that you have created your page, it is time to add content to it.
Add an Image
Adding a picture to your page will help fans identify you when they find you in a search on Facebook or read about you on their friends news feeds. Choose a picture of your synagogue, your logo or any image that represents the congregation. To add an image click on the edit icon and choose upload a picture as seen in the screen shot below.
Write a Description
Add a brief description in the box below your photo. Click inside the box to type your description and when you are finished click outside the box to save.
Facebook has many tools, also known as applications. Some of them have been created by Facebook and others by third party vendors. The following are six of the most commonly used Facebook applications.
The Wall Tab
The Wall is essentially an electronic bulletin board that provides a place to write brief updates and links to other resources and websites. For example, a congregation can post Hebrew school closings or a Shabbat services reminder.
The Wall also allows fans to easily engage with your page. If a fan posts something inappropriate you can delete what they said and or block them from writing on the page again.
The Info tab allows you to edit basic information, such as your address and hours of operation. You can also edit detailed information such as your website url (address).
The Photos tab allows users and admins (those in charge of the Facebook page) to post photos to the page. For example, congregants can post photos of a family trip to Israel and the congregation can post pictures from an event. The Photos tab allows you to add up to 200 photos at a time.
The Discussions tab serves as a forum for conversations on various topics. You can set up any number of topics, and shared thoughts and experiences on that topic will easily be found in one location. For example, open up a discussion with tips for learning Torah and Haftorah portions.
The Events tab allows the creation of a calendar, easily accessible from the congregation page. You will be able to encourage participation at functions through the events tool. For example, you can remind congregants of holidays and special events. Keep in mind that any event you add to your page will be public. There may be certain events you do not want to be public information. When someone RSVPs to an event it shows up on their newsfeed this helps to spread the word.
The Videos tab allows users and admins to post video to the page. For example, congregants can share videos of their experiences and the congregation can post event coverage.
Edit Your Page
The Edit Settings allow you to limit who can see your Facebook page. Restrictions can be set based on country and age. Entering one or more countries means only people located in those countries can view your page. An age restriction means that anyone under the specified age will not be able to find your page in a search, on their friends profiles or view the content in other ways. This is also where you can set whether your page is published or unpublished. If your page is unpublished only admins will be able to view your page until you publish it.
On a Facebook Page you can add up to twenty-five Admins. You also have the ability to remove Admins.
Send an Update to Fans
With the Facebook update tool you can easily contact all of your fans at once or you can target a specific group by limiting by location, gender and age. For example, contact college-age fans to keep them connected to the congregation while they are at school. Updates do not get lost in a sea of email spam - they go into an individuals Facebook inbox and are categorized as updates making them easily accessible to the recipient.
We hope this has helped you with the basics of Facebook. Please feel free to contact the URJ Web Help Desk at email@example.com or (212) 650-4222 with any questions regarding this guide or Facebook.