Facebook is one of the most well-known social media sites in existence with 1.49 billion active users a month (Zephoria.com, July 2016). Presently in the UK the highest number of users on Facebook are aged between 20 – 29 years old (Statista.com, 2016).
Unlike other platforms such as Instagram, Facebook can be used for a variety of different purposes such as sharing a video, documents, photographs, articles etc. This makes Facebook a versatile platform not only between friends but for businesses too.
Facebook - Information for students
As a student of RGU you may want to consider how using Facebook could help benefit your studies. Not only can you use Facebook to connect with your friends but it is an excellent source of information from brands, businesses and employers.
You may also wish to consider the Facebook pages the university has which you can connect with. This is an easy way to connect with a service or department within the university and obtain useful information about what is happening at RGU.
It is also important to consider what you are posting on your own Facebook page. Remember anything that you post may be seen by someone, even if it is many years later. As a general rule only post what you would be happy for anyone to see online. You may find that when you apply for a job your employer may check your social networking sites and you wouldn’t want anything to be visible which could negatively impact on your chances of a job or further study.
Facebook - Information for staff
Just because Facebook is the most widely used social network, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should have a page. Firstly you need to consider what the purpose of the page would be and who you wish to communicate with. Is it current students, prospective students, staff or alumni?
As a member of RGU staff you may want to consider whether or not having a Facebook page would be beneficial to your department or class. It may be that you don’t see any merit in having a page, however perhaps the functionality of a closed Facebook group might work to help you communicate with your students.
There are many benefits Facebook can bring to the university if used properly. These include student engagement, student recruitment and brand awareness. However, it is important not to underestimate the time which is required to invest in your page if you want it to be successful. In addition to this please remember that any RGU Facebook page has a wider reflection on the university. If your Facebook page is not looked after and updated regularly, this reflects negatively on the university.
With so many users on Facebook you need to ensure that what you choose to post on your page is interesting to your audience. Think about what is of interest to them, what will help engage your audience? This can be difficult. Remember you are competing with other posts users see in their news feeds from friends and businesses. What will make your content stand out?
You can gain insight into your audience on Facebook through the Facebook Insights. This will help you not only identify who is interacting with your content but can tell you their age and where they live which may also help you plan your content.
Facebook - Hints and tips for posting
The great thing about Facebook is that the platform is so versatile, you are not constricted to only uploading one kind of content as you are with other platforms.
Here are some tips about posting on Facebook:
- When you decide to post on Facebook can greatly impact how many people see your post. Check your Facebook Insights to get an indication on when your audience go online. What time of the day is it? Which days of the week? If you have an audience which is overseas remember to consider the time difference.
- What will you post and how often? Planning your posts in advance can help you greatly manage your time but ensure that you are still dedicating enough time to your page. You may want to consider keeping a document and planning the type of content you want to post. You can also schedule your posts in advance to go out on Facebook which is handy for weekends and holidays.
- Respond to comments and messages. People will use your Facebook page as a way to engage with you and find out information. It is a good idea to regularly check your page and answer any messages or posts you receive. Remember that if you do not respond this will leave a negative impact on that person and impacts on the perception of the university.
- Keep track of how you are doing. The Facebook Insights tool is a great free resource which can help you make the most of your page. You can see what type of content is attracting the most engagement as well as how many followers you have and much more. This will help you to better understand the platform and your audience.
- Most people are accessing Facebook from their mobile phone. Try and remember this when you are deciding what to post. Shorter, visual posts with a clear call to action will stand out to users when they scroll through their Facebook feed. Video is by far the biggest thing on Facebook and is a great way of engaging with your audience.
- Try and vary what you are posting about. If you only ever post links to news stories or pictures your audience may get bored and choose not to interact with you. Do some research on other Facebook pages if you need some ideas on what works well. Remember to also check Facebook Insights to get an idea of what is working for your audience.
- We recommend that whenever you are posting about the university you include a link to the RGU website. It is an excellent way to direct prospective students to more information.
Facebook - Glossary of terms
- Facebook Admin – This is the person who creates a Facebook page and has the rights to update and manage the activity.
- Cover photo – This is the image which sits at the top of your Facebook page.
- Facebook groups – Unlike your Facebook page, groups can be closed to the public. Only people you invite to a closed Facebook group will be able to interact with you.
- Facebook Insights – This is a free application built within Facebook that an Admin can go and look at. It provides interesting information about your activity and audience.
- Facebook Like – This is when someone hits the ‘Like’ button on your post. They can also select other emotions on how to react to your post such as Love ‘Heart’ or Wow.
- Facebook Share – This is when someone has decided to share your post on their own Facebook page. This will then be visible to their friends on Facebook.
- News Feed – This is the area on Facebook where users can view updates from all the people or businesses they follow.