There’s a rule in fishing that you should fish where the fish are. The same is true for connecting and communicating with the Scouts and families in you Pack, Troop, Team, Post, Ship, or Crew. If you want to reach them, go where they are; these days a whole bunch of them are on Facebook and other Social Media sites. Today in this short video, we’ll teach you the basics of setting up a Facebook Page for your scout unit. We’ll also share some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you bring your unit into the world of Social Media.
Three-quarters of online parents use Facebook…Mothers are more likely to use Facebook than fathers, with 81% of moms and 66% of dads using the platform.…Nearly 6 out of 10 parents said they had encountered useful social media-based information regarding parenting in the last 30 days,…Most parent users are also taking advantage of Facebook to reconnect with past friends and peers, and to stay in touch with neighbors and family.
When I was a new Scoutmaster 40 years ago, it was a real job getting the word out to parents and Scouts in our troop. Announcements were typed in a newsletter format, run on a mimeograph machine, then delivered to every home by hand. Whew!
…and today, all I would do is post it on Facebook—guess what, that’s where the “fish’s” parents are! Well at least metaphorically.
These days so many parents are on Facebook and other social media sites it would be a waste if your Scout unit wasn’t there. But if you had to pick, Facebook is the best social media platform to post announcements for your unit. At the same time it’s a great recruiting tool and if your unit is church sponsored, it is also good for community outreach too.
BSA has prepared a short video that teaches you the basics of setting up a Facebook page for your scout unit. They also share some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you bring your unit into the world of Social Media.
In the above video, Bryan Wendell, said
If you’re like 70% of Americans, you already have a Facebook account and that makes the next step easy. Once you’re logged into your personal account, go to facebook.com/pages/create to begin the creation process. Facebook will guide you through the rest.
You want to set up a public fan page. The key is “public,” which ensures that anyone who wants to learn more about your unit can find it. Include the time and location of your unit’s weekly meetings for anyone who might want to visit and make your cover photo a signature image of what your unit’s all about. If you’re a troop or crew that emphasizes high adventure, make your photo something that reflects that. Remember, this Facebook fan page could be your first impression for some who visit.
Speaking of, keep in mind that there are two types of people that will visit your page. The first is current Scouts, Scouters, and their families. They want to connect with other Scouts and Scouters, learn about upcoming meetings and activities, and see photos from recent events. The second type of visitor is perspective Scouts and their families. These are your potential customers so treat them as such. They want to find contact information for leaders in case they have questions, they want to visit your unit’s website if you have one, so include that url, and, if you’re lucky, they want to visit your unit, so include when and where your unit meets.
A lot of this basic information can go on the About page. Fill in as much as possible. Remember that you might be competing against other units for a new Scout, so the more information you provide, the better your odds of recruiting that Scout.
Once your Facebook page is up and running, keep feeding it new content frequently. Post something at least once per week but no more than two times per day. Any less than weekly, and you risk losing your audience and your momentum. Post too frequently however, and you could lost them as well.
With that in mind, we’ve put together several dos and a few don’ts for your Facebook page. First, here are some things you can do:
- Do create multiple administrators for your Facebook page, including your top youth leaders. This will help your page to be updated more regularly. Youth Protection rules require you have at least two adult administrators on your page.
- Do maintain “two-deep leadership” online, meaning no one-on-one contact between adults and youth via social media messaging or email.
- Do post consistently. Update your Facebook page weekly at least so your users remain active.
- Do encourage interactivity. Ask questions and solicit feedback. You could consider posts that ask, “What was your favorite part of our campout last weekend?” Or “Post photos of your Scout’s pinewood derby car.” Or “What are your packing tips for our Philmont trip next month?”
- Do conform to the Scout Oath and Law in anything you post and moderate comments to make sure that nobody posts anything inappropriate on your page. Consider your Facebook page a public bulletin board. It’s your responsibility to make sure it stays friendly, courteous and kind.
- Do check your page frequently. Yes, you’re looking for content that’s inappropriate, but you’re also seeking out questions you can answer from Scouts or perspective Scouts.
Now for some don’ts:
- Don’t post last names of youth members in a public place that anyone can see.
- Don’t share a Scout’s identifying information like phone number, address, or birthday.
- Don’t create a fan page that you can’t maintain. Be sure you have enough volunteers to keep it moderated and up to date.
- Don’t say anything online you wouldn’t say to a person’s face. That’s true of any website.
There are many other social media channels out there that today’s Scouts and Venturers use every day. Consider whether giving your unit a presence on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Vine, Pinterest, or Tumblr would benefit the unit’s ability to recruit and retain Scouts.
If you are your unit’s membership chairman, you can find many more helpful tips inside the BSA’s Social Media Guidelines. Social media has the potential to revolutionize the way you do and share Scouting. Using these platforms to share your activities, build interest, and give Scouts some well-deserved pride in their accomplishments will help you build and improve your unit and program. So let’s get “social” Scouting! Then tell us about it in the comment section below.
Read more on this subject and learn at to get your social media certification at The Boy Scout.