I have been using Facebook for ministry since 2005. I was a ministry intern at LaTech Wesley. At that point in time only .edu email accounts could get a Facebook profile. Half of the interns had it and the other half hadn’t signed up when they were in college. Those of us who used Facebook for ministry had a much easier time connecting with students and discipling them.
Things haven’t changed.
I want to share a little hack built inside Facebook that will seriously help you.
Do you know about lists in Facebook?
Facebook organizes your friends into lists based off of area, schools, jobs, etc. The built in lists are great-but you can totally take it one step further. (here is Facebook’s list FAQ for those of you unfamiliar)
Creating and organizing your own lists can really help you put groups of similar people together. Lists are private (unlike twitter) and can only be seen by you.
Using Facebook lists for ministry is a killer time saver. One of the best reasons to use Facebook for ministry is to be able to keep up with folks. The only issue is Facebook as an algorithm they use to show you others posts in the news feed. No one really knows exactly how this works, but we know they try to intelligently keep people you regularly interact with in the news feed as well as throw curve balls in as well to see if you will interact with that person.
I have over 2000+ “friends” on Facebook, so this means I am only able to see around 10% of them in my newsfeed regularly.
Lists allow you to select different groups in the newsfeed. I can select the “Monroe, La” group Facebook automatically makes to see what my friends in Monroe are doing. I can view just their posts or I can send a status update directly to them.
Hacking your Facebook lists and take them to the next level
The basic Facebook created lists are great. They can be serious help for ministry.
But I encourage you to create your own lists. Besides creating a list for your church, think of the places you spend time and minister to folks?
Are you friending them on Facebook? You should be. Facebook is such a low level of relationship for the average person it won’t be weird. If you have interacted with them enough to get a first and last name, add them on Facebook. Then you need to add them to a list.
I have lists for people I meet at different meetings, the coffee shop I hang out at, the cigar store I hang out in and at just about every place I interact with people. I probably have around 15+ lists I have built with people around my community in them. It makes it really easy to keep up with people.
I am able to see JUST their posts when I want to and interact JUST with them. I can share updates specifically designed for those people. It makes connecting much easier and lets all of us get to know each other better.
Lists are a great hack for Facebook. I encourage you to begin building a few of them and start utilizing them in ministry.