Discussions

Facebook closed groups

Posted by Carol Vassar @vassarradio, Feb 9, 2018

Hi all: My organization is looking to do closed Facebook groups. Does anyone have experience in this area? Anyone have policies, procedures, guidelines that they have found successful and are willing to share? Thanks!

We are also looking into this, so I’m interested if anyone else has done it.

REPLY

Same here! Would love some best practices and guidance from anyone who’s gone down this path already! Thanks!

REPLY

These Facebook patient support groups are gaining popularity in hospitals, especially since Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is putting more resources into improving the platforms. @edbennett and @colleenyoung presented a webinar a year ago that includes many useful tips. You can view that at this link:https://socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/webinar/hospital-sponsored-online-patient-support-groups/?date=1485820800

I presented on this subject to the Healthcare Communicators of Oregon last November. You can see my PowerPoint at this link:

@vassarradio @PaigeTSuffel @egrenz – Do you have specific questions? Two important keys: 1) Managing a Facebook community is very very different than managing a FB page. You need to understand principles of community management to focus on engagement and activity. 2) Make sure your community matches a marketing objective. If not, you’ll lose leadership support over time.

I’m also tagging @cynthiamanley. Vanderbilt has a very successful weight loss Facebook community that’s been running for a few years.

REPLY

We have quite a few successful breastfeeding support groups on Facebook.
Our biggest rule going in was that we wanted these groups to be an extension of an in-person group. Knowing they could see the other mom in-person at some point seems to help keep things civil. We also are very big on our guidelines being visible.
We're also just lucky to have some fantastic moderators who keep the group busy. This is definitely a case where you get from it what you put into.
We take on the responsibility as a social team to set the group up, then we hand it completely off to the moderators, who can reach out to us at any time for help. We just check in occasionally to make sure it's active. We also let the moderators know that if they aren't putting the work in and the group isn't active, we'll take the group down.

REPLY
@katiewhitt

We have quite a few successful breastfeeding support groups on Facebook.
Our biggest rule going in was that we wanted these groups to be an extension of an in-person group. Knowing they could see the other mom in-person at some point seems to help keep things civil. We also are very big on our guidelines being visible.
We're also just lucky to have some fantastic moderators who keep the group busy. This is definitely a case where you get from it what you put into.
We take on the responsibility as a social team to set the group up, then we hand it completely off to the moderators, who can reach out to us at any time for help. We just check in occasionally to make sure it's active. We also let the moderators know that if they aren't putting the work in and the group isn't active, we'll take the group down.

Jump to this post

This is almost identical to our approach. We also don't brand the groups as part of our health system. They are named for the support group topic and our region. We approach it like we do in-person support groups. We provide the 'space' (which is virtual in this case) and let the members really self-manage besides our moderators posting articles of interest and us watching to make sure it's civil.

REPLY

Further to this question, has anyone had experience with Facebook groups for referrers i.e. doctors that would refer through to our specialist clinic? We are thinking of setting up live events on Facebook so referrers can talk directly with our specialists. Any tips or tricks on how best to get referrers to join the group and also actively participate in the live events?

REPLY

I discovered a neat feature to closed Facebook groups recently. My husband invited me to join our neighborhood dog park, and to be approved to join I had to give our key fob number, our dog's name and the name of the person who invited me. I don't oversee any Facebook groups at work, but I thought this might be an excellent feature when sensitive information may be discussed in the group.

REPLY
@rmullins80

I discovered a neat feature to closed Facebook groups recently. My husband invited me to join our neighborhood dog park, and to be approved to join I had to give our key fob number, our dog's name and the name of the person who invited me. I don't oversee any Facebook groups at work, but I thought this might be an excellent feature when sensitive information may be discussed in the group.

Jump to this post

I'm very interested in this – do you happen to know how they set it up?

REPLY
@rmullins80

I discovered a neat feature to closed Facebook groups recently. My husband invited me to join our neighborhood dog park, and to be approved to join I had to give our key fob number, our dog's name and the name of the person who invited me. I don't oversee any Facebook groups at work, but I thought this might be an excellent feature when sensitive information may be discussed in the group.

Jump to this post

@vassarradio Closed group admins can set up to 3 questions for those interested in joining the group to answer before you admit them into the group. Group admins can find the “Ask Pending Members Questions” option in their Group’s settings menu. Only admins and moderators can see the answers to the questions. They're not posted to the entire group.

A nice way to make sure those joining your group fit your criteria.

REPLY
@katiewhitt

We have quite a few successful breastfeeding support groups on Facebook.
Our biggest rule going in was that we wanted these groups to be an extension of an in-person group. Knowing they could see the other mom in-person at some point seems to help keep things civil. We also are very big on our guidelines being visible.
We're also just lucky to have some fantastic moderators who keep the group busy. This is definitely a case where you get from it what you put into.
We take on the responsibility as a social team to set the group up, then we hand it completely off to the moderators, who can reach out to us at any time for help. We just check in occasionally to make sure it's active. We also let the moderators know that if they aren't putting the work in and the group isn't active, we'll take the group down.

Jump to this post

It looks like our plan with bariatrics fell through, and our breastfeeding folks were ready and willing to fill the void. Thanks for the great idea!

REPLY

We did exactly that! Now, what do you do if someone doesn't bother to answer the question? We've run into a bit of that with our new EMS community.

REPLY
@vassarradio

We did exactly that! Now, what do you do if someone doesn't bother to answer the question? We've run into a bit of that with our new EMS community.

Jump to this post

You have the choice of not accepting them or checking out their Facebook account to try to tell if they're legitimate. In my experience the people who apply without answering the questions are usually spammers. If someone within the group recommends someone else to join, FB will ask you to approve them without them answering the questions.

REPLY

We had something new come up in our Cancer support group on Facebook last week. A mental health counselor that appears to provide services to cancer patients virtually, joined our group and tried to solicit for patients/customers. We also had someone from outside of our community/region join and ask for donations for a camp for kids with a parent with cancer. Obviously neither were offensive, but we decided we don't want this to mushroom and deleted the posts and added new verbiage about no solicitation or requests for financial support. It seems obvious now, but we did not include that in our terms of use initially. I'll be adding a question to each of our groups, too, just to give people cause around joining our group for these purposes.

REPLY
@lucybordewick

We had something new come up in our Cancer support group on Facebook last week. A mental health counselor that appears to provide services to cancer patients virtually, joined our group and tried to solicit for patients/customers. We also had someone from outside of our community/region join and ask for donations for a camp for kids with a parent with cancer. Obviously neither were offensive, but we decided we don't want this to mushroom and deleted the posts and added new verbiage about no solicitation or requests for financial support. It seems obvious now, but we did not include that in our terms of use initially. I'll be adding a question to each of our groups, too, just to give people cause around joining our group for these purposes.

Jump to this post

Great suggestion, @lucybordewick. Is this an open or closed Facebook group?

REPLY

All of our groups are closed, but we do not really 'screen' prior to accepting people. We accept most everyone on their word that they are appropriate for the group. This is the first time we have had to remove a post or reference our terms of use.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.