Discussions

Facebook Closed Groups?

Posted by Margaret Fontana @hackensackmeridianhealth, Thu, Jul 11 4:06pm

HI All, Is anyone hosting a closed Facebook group for patients? If so, what is your process, moderation protocals, liabilities, rules etc?

I have helped several hospitals setup groups for patients. If you want to chat I would be more than happy to share. You can email me at rsmith@jarrardinc.com

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@reedsmith This is a big question. Can you share a couple of tips or guidelines for the community?

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Of course, so this is tricky but I would only do it as an extension of an in-person group. Allow the person who coordinates the IRL group to manage this group. You need a policy posted within the group that each individual signs and the coordinator keeps. Have the group admin (individual FB profile) be tied to an accessible email (gmail or org) so if the coordinator leaves someone can still access the group and limits the ability for someone to hijack the group.

The policy is a big one and I have a sample somewhere I can provide as a jumping off point. There needs to be ground rules. A code of conduct so to speak. And someone from the outside needs to keep an eye on it.

Dan, what are you thoughts?

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@reedsmith

Of course, so this is tricky but I would only do it as an extension of an in-person group. Allow the person who coordinates the IRL group to manage this group. You need a policy posted within the group that each individual signs and the coordinator keeps. Have the group admin (individual FB profile) be tied to an accessible email (gmail or org) so if the coordinator leaves someone can still access the group and limits the ability for someone to hijack the group.

The policy is a big one and I have a sample somewhere I can provide as a jumping off point. There needs to be ground rules. A code of conduct so to speak. And someone from the outside needs to keep an eye on it.

Dan, what are you thoughts?

Jump to this post

This is all solid advice, @reedsmith. You've implied that the group needs a manager, and that's an important point. This is not a case of "if you build it they will come." A successful Facebook support group requires nurturing, and a good manager is an essential piece.

Another important idea: start small. Don't invite a whole bunch of people to join before you have activity in the support group or newcomers will be disappointed and not return. Start by interviewing 10-15 potential members to make sure there's interest. Then invite them to be founding members of the online group. For the first month or two encourage that group post and comment. Once there is real activity in the group, start inviting others to attend.

I outline this process in a blogpost here: https://www.hivestrategies.com/post/start-your-online-support-group-on-the-right-foot

Full disclosure: I manage this Social Media Network 3 or 4 hours a day. I also provide expert advice for Facebook support groups through my consultancy Hive Strategies. You can find more information there.

Margaret @hackensackmeridianhealth – what other questions do you have?

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@DanHinmon

This is all solid advice, @reedsmith. You've implied that the group needs a manager, and that's an important point. This is not a case of "if you build it they will come." A successful Facebook support group requires nurturing, and a good manager is an essential piece.

Another important idea: start small. Don't invite a whole bunch of people to join before you have activity in the support group or newcomers will be disappointed and not return. Start by interviewing 10-15 potential members to make sure there's interest. Then invite them to be founding members of the online group. For the first month or two encourage that group post and comment. Once there is real activity in the group, start inviting others to attend.

I outline this process in a blogpost here: https://www.hivestrategies.com/post/start-your-online-support-group-on-the-right-foot

Full disclosure: I manage this Social Media Network 3 or 4 hours a day. I also provide expert advice for Facebook support groups through my consultancy Hive Strategies. You can find more information there.

Margaret @hackensackmeridianhealth – what other questions do you have?

Jump to this post

This is great information Reed and Dan, appreciate it. I'll share with my team and come back to chat with you with more thoughts.

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Hello – Our situation is a little different, as we are a patient organization, but feel free to use any of the following guidelines that are useful. I think the key is to require that potential new members agree in advance to follow the group rules, which you can do with the "questions" feature.

https://gdatf.org/news/facebook-group-guidelines/

I personally feel that Facebook groups are a HUGE headache to moderate, but right now, that's where most of our community is engaging.

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