Student Affairs Divisions, Units, Departments, and Offices have been using Facebook Pages as communications and engagement platforms for almost as long as there have been Facebook Pages. In many ways, Facebook Pages have become our outposts for engagement. And for some Student Affairs areas, Facebook Pages have allowed for greater levels of web functionality in the form of comments, photo/video sharing, and polls. Of the 41 functional areas listed in the CAS Standards, I would estimate that there are examples of Facebook Pages being used in some capacity by all of the areas.
On Wednesday, Facebook introduced a new design for Facebook pages. The new design mirrors the Timeline design from Facebook Profiles. As with every iteration of their interface, Facebook has released a guidebook that details the most significant changes. The new design will streamline the user experience as Profiles and Pages will no longer be that dissimilar. Student Affairs areas will need to create cover photos for their Pages as admins will no longer be able to set a default landing page. Additionally, Page admins will be able to send/receive private messages to/from users. However, this doesn't mean that non-directory FERPA-protected information can be shared.
One of the nicest bits of functionality with "new Pages" is that content creators can now "pin" or feature content so that promotions, new images, important updates, etc. will be at the top of the Timeline for a Page.
Facebook has a terrific starting checklist for Page admins:
- Upload a cover photo - I would recommend creating a gallery of cover-ready photos.
- Use a clearly branded profile picture - While not as prominent as your cover photo, it's important to have a recognizable profile picture for your area.
- Pin a post each week - Adding content to Facebook as part of a communications strategy works best when you use a content calendar.
- Arrange your views and apps - This is basically where Facebook lets you customize (to some degree) what users see when they view your page.
- Post daily to your page - I would recommend engaging with commenters, but posting daily might be a bit much.
- Manage your Page through the admin panel - Utilize Facebook Insights data as part of your assessment efforts and make sure that you respond to private messages.
What do you think of the new design for Facebook Pages?
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