Thank you Corrinne (Philadelphia LDS DPA) for asking the question of how we are using the Facebook Page for Public Affairs.
Below is a rough guideline of what I expect to get out of our new Facebook page for our stake.
A quick look at our Facebook page below-
Create a portal for events and PR ideas.
For example, we are doing the BYU-Idaho Dance Alliance as a free community family night.
Below is the event’s page for this stake wide activity.
In this first case, I created the event before the initial stake page so they are not linked and we already have people responding (RSVP) to the event, so I didn’t want to re-do it. But in the future, the events FB page will be created under the Stake FB Page and will appear under events for the stake.
At this site, we will invite all members to join the activity, link photos and media to it.
As a missionary portal to encourage members to reach out and share.
I was happy with the initial response right after we created the Dance Alliance page. I invited all of my neighbors, non-member friends, and members to it in the area that I know. Immediately, a non-member friend who I occasionally see from my town RSVP’d to attend the event. I was thrilled that she replied.
Now process the power of every member of our stake sharing the event with their friends and non-member friends alike, what a powerful MISSIONARY tool that could be for not just the event, but for other gospel related videos and articles that the church produces.
As a key area to share news and LDS messages/content that the church produces.
We get dozens of articles from Brother Faust everyday, so how are we using them?
Today, I posted the CNN article and video to the site
In addition, I posted the Mother’s Day “Bible Story Video about Mary” to my own personal FB page with a quick Mother’s Day greeting to my friends.
I have used the LDS Videos on occasion throughout this spring/easter. Many of my friends don’t think we are Christians, so these videos are helping break down that barrier.
My Facebook guidelines-
I invite nearly everyone I meet to join me on FB. I use it as an outlet to personally let people know who I am and to encourage friendships in a non threatening way.
Preface: I share the following story only to illustrate the power of social media in missionary work, not to brag in any way.
Two years ago, I linked up with an acquaintance in our town of Bedford, NH. I would occasionally run into her around town. On Facebook, I invited her to several activities that were “non-threatening” that the church was hosting after she told me she had been in a 10 year struggle to find a church. She almost always declined, but one day she just showed up at church with her family, I invited her to hear/meet the missionaries after she attended church, she declined.
I stayed “Facebook friendly” throughout the year and would stop and talk to her when I would see her in the community. I occasionally linked my personal blog to FB and found out after she was baptized that she read my blog faithfully for the entire year to see if “I was the real deal.” She was baptized last year by an inactive husband who joined on a military base two decades ago and not on our records.
Several months after her baptism, she raised her hand in fireside that I was giving about social media to a Relief Society group and shared how my blog and the things I posted helped her recognize that LDS families were the “real deal.” I was shocked. I had NO idea she read it regularly. I mostly post about my kids and everyday life on my personal blog, but occasionally I throw in a day that looks like this
or a day like this where I used President Faust’s quote last year as a guideline on inner strength and blended my thoughts on created priorities in the home.
Now, I had really nothing to do with all of my friend’s conversion. My friend’s spiritual journey had been in the works for 10 years and I was simply the channel that brought her to the missionaries and social media was a huge part of the invitation. I have such a strong testimony of social media and the link to missionary work.
Next- I try to compliment and stay interested with many people on Facebook in my community. I may not even be good friends with them, but I show support of their programs and their interests. I believe this is a good way to build relationships with them.
Infact, the person who responded above to our BYU-Dance Reliance invitation is one of those people. I will definitely be inviting her to the reception that we are hosting prior to the event, where the mission president and local officials will be attending.
One More Example-
Yesterday, an acquaintance posted that she would be in Salt Lake City today. I don’t know her well but mentioned that it was my hometown and invited her to go to Temple Square on a tour. Come to find out she visited last year and loved it, she planned on visiting again on this trip. It was casual, non-threatening and next time I see her at a little league game I will follow up on her visit.