Find Your School’s Voice on Facebook

Knowing how to leverage your Facebook page is only half the battle. Staying up with the persistent changes is becoming exponentially harder as Facebook continues to innovate. For Facebook administrators, it’s one more place to displace your time, and it’s hard to keep up.

 

With more than 800 million active users (as of October of 2011), Facebook has arguably become one of the most effective places for schools to spend their time in social media. With more than 50% of active users logging into Facebook on any given day, that’s a reach of potentially 400 million users every single day.

But no matter what the statistics, your school must create compelling content to a) get your constituents to even see the content (hello, “top stories”), and b) generate an engaging conversation to increase your interaction rate (which will, in turn, get your story into the news feed of your constituents). So how does your school swing it? Well, here are a few ideas to get your updates more visible:

Create a “top story

Facebook walls foster community, create conversational forums and allow fans to have a voice that’s heard. Those conversation can’t happen unless your page’s stories are found by caring constituents. But you can’t just rub the magic genie bottle and hope that your school’s posts earn their way into top news.

According to Facebook, their “News Feed algorithm” is based on: how many friends are commenting on a certain piece of content, who posted the content, and what type of content it is (e.g. photo, video, or status update).

 

So how do you get your comments in the top of the stream? Tell a good story with media-rich content without social media management tools (i.e. without Hootsuite), and you’re promised (Facebook says!) to get a higher interaction rate.

Name your Facebook pages TODAY

Nearly every school administrator or faculty member is now dabbling in Facebook, but have you customized the web address for all of your pages? Want to send out a Facebook alumni url to the class of 1986? Now you don’t have to wait to get 25 fans before you can make it pretty. To do so, visithttp://www.facebook.com/username.

 

Want an even cooler shortcut? Tighten the Facebook.com to fb.com and clear up space for other information (i.e. fb.com/edsocialmedia works just as well as typing in facebook.com/edsocialmedia).

 

We’re taking the guesswork out of page administration and sharing what we know at our Facebook professional development day in Princeton, NJ. Centralized around finding the appropriate voice for your school amidst the uncharted territories of Facebook’s new system, we’ll cover best practices for Facebook pages, demonstrate successes and discuss the challenges in the new administrative settings. Click here for more information.

 

What do you want to hear about in the Facebook Bootcamp? Leave us a comment!

Madeline Riley

Madeline Riley was the Director of Publications at Stratton Mountain School, a ski and snowboard academy in southern Vermont. When she's not using social media, she's often doing something active, whether it be yoga, biking, and/or running.

http://twitter.com/madelinesen

  • Hblalock

    Hi Madeline,nWhy would utilizingu00a0suchu00a0social media management tools (i.e.u00a0 Hootsuite)u00a0negatively impactu00a0the interaction rate. Can you explain?nthanks!nHeidinhblalock@friendsbalt.org

  • Hi Heidi, thanks for the comment. Facebook, for some reason, doesn’t weigh posts as high when they originate from third-party (or social media management tools). Some of the reasoning is because the posts aren’t optimized for Facebook (i.e. the links don’t show a preview or the photos don’t display appropriately). nnOther theories as to why this would happen are because scheduled (less timely) information doesn’t generate as many comments and reactions, which, in result, lowers the edgerank because fewer people interact with the post. Here’s an article to help explain more: nnhttp://edgerankchecker.com/blog/2011/09/does-using-a-third-party-api-decrease-your-engagement-per-post/nnWe might see a shift in how this is calculated since Facebook had recently updated the Top News and Recent News sections. nnIt’s really important to generate posts the elicit conversations, reactions and comments. Many institutions right now are re-posting information from press releases and news stories. Although this allows you to have a “presence” on several social media channels, you will find that you generate better interaction with conversations that are tailored for Facebook itself. u00a0 nnI think it’s important to find what works for your school, and if HootSuite helps you manage your social media presence, by all means continue to use it. However, when you find the time, test your audience reaction when you post more “off the cuff” updates and information. Many times, you’ll receive a higher interaction rate. Hope that helps!