[This post has been submitted for the Carnival of Genealogical Societies, 4th Edition at the California Genealogical Society and Library blog, California Ancestors.]
The Facebook page for the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) has been in existence since May 2010 when the ISGS board approved a comprehensive social media plan for the society. Having a presence on Facebook allows us to reach a wider audience than just a blog or a website. In addition, our hopes are to attract a younger audience since many younger genealogists spend more time on social media sites such as Facebook.
Some of the features of the ISGS Facebook page include:
- A vanity URL of http://www.facebook.com/ILGenSoc. In order to secure your vanity URL (meaning your society name rather than the number gibberish generated by Facebook), you must have at least 25 fans/likes for your page. Then go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ and click Set a username for your Pages.
- A Welcome tab which not only summarizes the ISGS mission and what can be found on our Facebook page, but more importantly instructions on clicking the Like button. Doing so allows ISGS posts to be come part of that user's News Feed. Check out this free cheat sheet on creating a Welcome Tab.
- We list our location, email, website, telephone and office hours just as we would on our website.
- Most of our posts are related to the ISGS blog and represent news and insights on Illinois genealogy. We also post items of interest from other sites and blogs that our readers may have missed.
- The Events section is very important because it helps get the word out on our workshops and conferences such as our upcoming Fall 2010 Conference in Peoria.
Some tips for other genealogical societies pondering the creation of a Facebook page for their society:
- Have more than one administrator but only one person actively managing the page. It is wise from a data successorship standpoint to make sure the account does not reside with just one person in case of an emergency. The administrators of the ISGS Facebook Page are the Publicity Chair and the President.
- Don't allow others to post items right away - if your society members are skittish about social media technology such as Facebook, go slow.
- Having one person post items means there is also a uniformity to the message that the society wants to send out. That person should also be able to coordinate blog posts, Twitter messages etc. with the Facebook page.
- Make sure there is an article in your society newsletter letting folks know about your Facebook page and how they can follow the news items by clicking the Like button.