The Law Enforcement Social Media Blog

The authoritative resource for news and information about law enforcement social media. From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Nixle, we discuss social media and its use as the ultimate community policing tool.

Facebook Groups For Law Enforcement

Facebook Groups For Law Enforcement

The business world is embracing the use of Facebook Group pages. This is especially true for small business owners, who don't have the capital to pay Facebook for it's advanced advertising options. Because of this, many have flocked to the group feature. In doing so, they uncovered some really great features.

Notifications

With a Facebook group, members of the group will receive a notification when anyone posts in the group. You can edit these notifications to the following settings: 

  • All Posts - You'll get notifications any time members post in the group
  • Highlights - You'll get notifications for posts with lots of likes and comments, and friend's posts
  • Friend's Posts - You'll get notifications when your friends post
  • Off - You won't get any notifications

You can adjust these settings by clicking on Notifications on the top right of the page.

Notification settings

Your department's Facebook page is what is called a "fanpage," and the only way for followers of your page to know when something new has been posted is by manually going to your department's page, or if the post appears in their news timeline.

Privacy Options

Using a Facebook group for law enforcement social media purposes just might be the alternative to the standard department page. One of the greatest features of group pages are the privacy options, which are:

  • Public - Anyone can join or be added or invited by a member. Non-group members can see the group's members and posts.
  • Closed - Anyone can ask to join or be added or invited by a member. Non-group members can see the group's members, but can not see the posts.
  • Secret - Members must be invited by a member or added by a group administrator. Non-group members can not search or see the group.

It is our suggestion that any group established by a police department for the benefit of the public, be left open to the public.

If there is some type of restriction needed for a group, for example, a neighborhood watch group wanting to restrict access to only those people living or working in that particular area, it might be wise this group NOT be established by the police department. Have the neighborhood watch group create the Facebook group page, and you can simply a contributor or member of the group.

Can They See You?

In order to set up a group, you have to do so as a person, and not your department. So you have to login to your personal Facebook profile and create the group. Does this "open" you up to the world?

Creating a group does not alter your settings in any way, and participating (commenting, sharing, posting) in a group is not the same as becoming friends. The only thing the public will see is your profile picture, which opens up a whole new issue, we're not going to address in this article!

Have More Facebook Group Questions?

Visit the official Facebook Group information page here for all of your questions, such as:

  • Group Basics
  • Admin Basics
  • Group Features
  • Groups for Schools
  • Using Dropbox in Groups
  • Group Privacy & Abuse
  • Troubleshooting

How Can You Use Facebook Groups?

Here are some examples of groups which can be set up by law enforcement social media managers for their department, like;

  • Join Anytown PD - This group could be used for recruitment purposes
  • Ask Anytown PD - Members of the community can ask questions of your department
  • Traffic for Anytown PD - Members can post traffic complaints, hazards or ask questions of traffic officers

Throttle Your Involvement and Creativity

Just keep in mind that the more "dialed in" or "drilled down" you get with using Facebook group pages, the more work you may be creating for yourself. Depending on the time you are able to allot yourself on a daily basis for maintaining a group, you may find it easier to apply the "K.I.S.S." principal. 

Start out with one group and see where it takes you.

Your Group's Cover Photo

The cover or banner photo at the top of the group page should be sized properly. If not, you'll get a stretched out or blurry photo, which won't look very professional.

Photo dimensions

Although in the podcast we shared the dimensions of the photo needs to be 851 x 317 pixels, which is the size of a normal Facebook fanpage. Although we found this to work, the actual correct size for a Facebook Group cover photo should be 801 pixels by 250 pixels.

Have You Joined Our Group?

We recognize that people use Facebook far more than they visit our website. Because of this, we created the Law Enforcement Social Media Group page, which is a secret group. To join, please visit our sign up page by clicking here. Keep in mind, the group page is restricted to law enforcement social media managers only.

 

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