Guidelines for setting up Facebook Pages and Groups
SMART Recovery is all for utilizing social media as a method of attracting individuals to your meeting or region, and communicating recovery-related information. Please keep in mind that when you have SMART Recovery’s name on Facebook (FB), SMART’s reputation is at stake. Always take time to think before you post. Avoid information that’s not relevant to recovery within SMART, e.g., politics, religion, debate about what recovery programs work, etc. Use your Facebook presence as a positive way to get the SMART Recovery message shared for your meeting/area.
Before setting up a Facebook page, be sure to ask yourself if you have the time to commit to keeping the page updated. If not, or if in doubt, hold off. It’s not helpful for people to visit a Facebook page where the most recent post is months old! If you have the energy to invest, here are some guidelines for setting up your Facebook page or group.
Share your FB page info with the Central Office
When you set up your FB page, please advise the Central Office via firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to include you on our list of Facebook admins so that we can easily reach you with important organization-wide info that we’d like for you to share via your page (e.g., annual conference info, webinar announcements, etc.). We also would like to follow and like your FB page and sometimes share your content on the SMART Recovery USA Facebook page.
Choose a name for your FB page
When you’re ready to get underway, you need to choose a name for your Page or Group. You want to be easily found by people in your area, so we suggest choosing a name that includes city and state.
(e.g., SMART Recovery Charleston SC). Many states have cities with the same name so it is a good idea to include a state abbreviation along with the city or regional name to avoid confusion. For example, someone searching Facebook for SMART in Charleston, SC would find a FB page titled SMART Recovery Charleston and not have any way to know if that the page is for Charleston, WV or Charleston, SC.
Do you want a FB “page” or a FB “group”? How to decide
Next, you want to consider how much ongoing time you want to spend and your level of expertise, which includes moderating skills and experience administrating a Facebook page or group. Are you going to be the sole admin or do you have other help? Are your priorities promotional or to provide a community for people to communicate between meetings?
FB pages are better for promotion. They are easier to control, require less moderating skill, and take less time. The easiest way to go, is under page settings, go to visitor posts, and click “disable posts by other people on the Page”. This will give complete control over what posts you want on your page and you will then only need to deal with participants’ comments.
FB groups are a good choice for community discussions. Closed and secret settings are less open to the public. A caution is that even in secret groups, there still is a small privacy concern as Facebook requires people to use their real names. Note that groups are not good for promotion.
Updating your FB page or group
Ideally, pages and groups should be updated at least once a week. Social media experts have advised us to limit postings to an average of 7-10 posts per week.
Moderating participant posts or comments should be done as soon as possible after received.
Content for your FB page or group
SMART Recovery pages and groups are only for SMART Recovery activities – promoting, educating, communicating, community support. If you have a secondary interest, please post to your own page or set up a page of your own. You can post a link to or share these secondary interests from time to time if they are relevant to SMART Recovery in your local area.
You are always free to share SMART Recovery USA posts on your local/regional page as well as content of interest to those in your geographic area.
Considerations for selecting content to share via your FB page or group:
- There is a seemingly endless supply of online content related to addiction and recovery that is available for sharing with your audience. SMART is a “recovery program” the preferred focus of your FB page should be recovery oriented (vs the horrors of addiction).
- Content that is positive, includes encouraging information, possibilities, and outcomes are all good choices.
- Photos of drug paraphernalia (sometimes included with a news article that you may want to share) may be a trigger for some in your audience. Please use discretion in selecting what you share
- Emphasize the benefits and positive aspects of the SMART Recovery Program. Be encouraging.
- Use our brand values including “Power of Choice”, science-based methods and principle, 4-Point Program, etc.
- Don’t bash other programs.
- Be professional – use professional language, check spelling and punctuation before posting.
- Post SMART Recovery material and things related to our program.
- Read and understand the content you are posting; check the source of the content; beware of false or “fake” information if applicable.
- Avoid posts political or religious issues. Occasionally addiction news items that have some mention of politics are suitable, but use caution if there is apt to be a lot of confrontational discussion.
Good sources for content to post:
- SMART Recovery USA page
- SMART Recovery USA blog
- SMART Recovery Website
- SMART Recovery Tweets (Twitter)
- SMART Recovery local and international country pages
- Like minded sources (e.g., Center for Motivation & Change, Psychology Today, Partnership for Drug Free Kids, ONDCP, Treatment Research Institute, Young People in Recovery)
- Trusted news sources (e.g., Washington Post, New York Times, The Fix)
- Book reviews from the SMART quarterly newsletter, News & Views
Consult the posting guidelines section below for detailed information on the appropriateness of posts. These posting guidelines will also be helpful to you in deciding on the appropriateness of participants’ comments and posts.
SMART Recovery social media is open to participants, friends and family, volunteers, and all who support our organization.
Differences of opinion are welcome if they are respectful. Be courteous and respect those asking questions with friendly, informative discussions. As an admin, you may delete posts that are inappropriate. Individuals posting on your page or in your group may be permanently banned immediately for a serious, willful, and/or repeated violation of any of these rules.
Comment threads between two or a small group of people are not allowed. This is especially true in a Facebook Group where posts will go to the top every time a comment is made.
Individual sequential posts are inappropriate; although, it is reasonable to make a sequential post giving additional important information or to remind someone of an upcoming event.
Posts and comments that are not allowed:
- Ones that contain, discuss or promote:
- abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening or harassing language
- personal attacks or threats of any kind
- racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm, or any negative targeting of any kind against any group, individual, or organization
- harasses or advocates harassment of another person
- is ethnically objectionable
- exploits people in a sexual or violent manner
- contains nudity, violence, or offensive subject matter or contains a link to an adult website
- illegal activity
- political issues
- religious issues
- issues that are supposed to be kept confidential – about the SMART Recovery Organization and individual participants
- posts with excessive drug paraphernalia or war on drug information
- posting of premium content from any website
- fake news or any content intended to mislead
- Posts that are spam, solicitations or advertisements
- Personally identifiable information (e.g. phone numbers, street addresses or email addresses), private or sensitive details about another person
- Material or information that you don’t have the right to post or share
- Information that you know is false or misleading or promotes illegal activities or conduct that is abusive, threatening, obscene, defamatory or libelous
- An illegal or unauthorized copy of another person’s copyrighted work, such as providing pirated computer programs or links to them, providing information to circumvent manufacture-installed copy-protect devices, or providing pirated music or links to pirated music files
- The transmission of “junk mail,” “chain letters,” or unsolicited mass mailing, instant messaging, “spimming,” or “spamming”.
- Posts that further or promote any criminal activity or enterprise or provides instructional information about illegal activities including, but not limited to drug dealing, making or buying illegal weapons, violating someone’s privacy, or providing or creating computer viruses
- Posts that solicit passwords or personal identifying information for commercial or unlawful purposes from other participants.
- Posts that involves commercial activities and/or sales (including links to for-profit websites) without our prior written consent such as contests, sweepstakes, barter, advertising, or pyramid schemes
- Posts containing material denouncing SMART Recovery®, the Board of Directors of SMART Recovery®, the President or Executive Director SMART Recovery®, or any volunteer of SMART Recovery®
- Posts containing a link to an image that is not hosted by a reputable image service such as photobucket, ImageShack or Flickr (“hotlinking” is not allowed)
- Posts involving the posting of any private topics, e-mails, or posts without the original writer’s consent
- Posts that include a photograph of another person that you have posted without that person’s consent; or uses sexually suggestive imagery or any other unfair, misleading or deceptive content
- Posts that conflict with the views of SMART Recovery®
That may sound like a lot of “dos and don’ts” but it’s fair for you to have a solid understanding of how to create a helpful, resourceful Facebook page, and to eliminate possible conflicts and issues when doing so.
You may also wish to visit an “oldie but goodie” special event from 2014 – Social Media for Facilitators. The video presentation may be found here.
All the best if you start a Facebook page – remember to contact email@example.com so we can like and follow your page when it’s live on Facebook!