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How to Manage a Facebook Page in Higher Education

February 18, 2012

Before beginning keep in the goals of a Facebook page is to:

  1. Create a dialog between the program or college with and between current and potential students to address immediate queries.
  2. Facilitate a long term network between current students.
  3. Cultivate a community rich in ideas and culture.

SET THE STAGE

I want to highlight that “you cannot control conversations, but you can influence them.”  This can partially be accomplished by stating a purpose in the ABOUT section. A simple statement provides direction for users about expectations.  Anecdotally, students do not overstep the bounds by using offensive or vulgar terms. Although the postings may not be as professional as the college or group desires, keep in mind that Facebook is an informal means of communication.  Furthermore, requesting users to not post vulgarities may encourage the opposite behavior.  Thus, site managers should focus on desired behavior. Here is an example:

PURPOSE: This page exists to create an open dialog between future students, current students, faculty, and staff about a variety of topics pertaining to educational development, opportunities, news, events, and clubs.

I particularly how the University of Florida addressed this. The created a tab called Facebook Policy with the following statement:

Posts and other content specifically added by administrators of the UF Warrington College of Business Administration Facebook page are official University of Florida content. Opinions expressed by other Facebook users do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the University of Florida. User provided content is not screened or evaluated during the submission process.

All content is bound by the UF Acceptable Use Policy. Further, user are expected to abide by applicable laws, regulations, rules and policies including theUniversity Student Code of conduct, the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy, and other regulations and policies concerning public communications.

We reserve the right to remove content.

We encourage users to report content that violates Facebook’s Code of Conduct by using the official Facebook procedure.

Site managers can also influence the online culture in the way responses are made to queries and posts.  That is, they should be timely, professional, and polite (thank people for posts).

HOW TO GET STUDENTS, CLUBS, AND CREATIVE INQUIRIES TO ENGAGE

Obviously, allow users to make posts. After all, the point is to cultivate an online community.  Create a campaign to promote the page. Focus some marketing efforts on student organizations and encourage postings about meetings and events.  There are many multidisciplinary creative inquiry groups too. So, don’t limit yourself to those that you may think are only relevant to an individual college. For postings by page managers:

  1. Use photos. They get the highest weight in a new feed.
  2. Excite your audience with new information that fans want to know about.
  3. Include actionable tips with links.
  4. Take polls. People like to be heard.

MEASURE EFFECTIVENESS

The number of Likes does not give the full picture.  Also look at comment counts.

Track likes, comment counts, talking about thisper -post insights, daily story feedback, and other metrics.   If you want a real analysis of your performance, please don’t falsely inflate these numbers by liking your own posts.

CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE

Unlike sites or articles, Facebook is an interactive and constantly evolving media. Use the tools previously mentioned to see what your audience is most drawn to.   Take polls and pose questions that will give you the information you need to improve. Adjust to new findings.

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