Tag Archives: facebook

Facebook pushes for more personal updates with launch of new Lists feature

 Facebook’s status update box is getting a new feature called Lists, which begins rolling out today. This is the first major update to the entry field since the launch of colored backgrounds just over a year ago, and also serves as a way to encourage Facebook users to share more personal content. The feature, like it sounds, lets users make lists of anything they choose – New… Read More

10 Ways Universities Can Use Facebook to Market to and Connect With Students

When I was in university two years ago, Facebook was already intertwined with student life.

We heard about news and events through Facebook Pages and collaborated on group work through Facebook Groups. After graduating, I’ve been getting updates about the university through the alumni Facebook Page. Nowadays, it’s also common for prospective students to research on Facebook when deciding their university and course.

With Facebook being a part and parcel of university students’ lives, there are many things that social media teams at universities can do to market the university, engage students, and stay in touch with alumni.

Here are just some ideas I’ve found through my research that you can implement for your university…

Facebook for Universities: 10 Creative Ideas for Social Media Managers

10 Facebook ideas for universities that want to be social

1. Share news, achievements, and milestones

A great, easy way to get started with using Facebook for your university is to share news about the university, such as achievements of students and professors and milestones of the university. This way, prospective, present, and past students can stay up-to-date with the happenings in the university while they are on Facebook.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shares about an average of one post every weekday (which is a great frequency to begin with).

MIT Facebook post

If you want to go one step further, you could list the milestones of the university on the Facebook Page’s About section, like the University of Cambridge did. They listed their key milestones all the way back to 1209 when the university was founded.

University of Cambridge milestones

To list a milestone on your university’s Facebook Page, click on the three dots below the Page cover photo and select “Create Milestone”.

Create a milestone on Facebook Page

A popup will appear for you to fill out the details of the milestone, expand on the story, and add relevant photos. If you want to celebrate this milestone with your Page fans, you can leave the “Hide from News Feed” checkbox unchecked and hit “Save”. The milestone will be added to your Page and shared on its timeline.

Facebook Page milestone popup

2. Collect reviews from current and past students

Besides websites such as The Student Room and the UCAS, prospective students are also using social media to research their university options. They join Facebook Groups of the courses they are interested in, speak with current students, and check out reviews of the universities.

Facebook provides a section for you to collect reviews and ratings from current and past students, where you can also react or comment on the reviews. And yes, it’s important to respond to reviews, especially if it’s an unhappy comment.

A university that does this well is the University of Southern Queensland (Australia). They have garnered over 500 reviews and are rated 4.4 stars out of 5.

University of Southern Queensland Facebook reviews

To turn on the review section for your Facebook Page, navigate to “Settings” > “Edit Page” > “Tabs”. Besides “Reviews”, click on “Settings”, toggle the “Show Reviews” option, and hit “Save”.

Facebook review section settings

3. Provide virtual tours for prospective students

Another thing that prospective students might be keen on is checking out the university campus. Virtual tours via social media is a great way to let them explore your beautiful campus, especially for international students who are not able to fly over for the university’s open day.

Thanks to Facebook Live, you can even take them on a live, interactive tour around the campus. For example, two graduates at the University of Sussex did a Facebook Live tour of their campus and replied to questions via the comments.



You don’t need any expensive or fancy equipment to do this. All you need is a smartphone, Facebook Live, and a few passionate students who are interested in showing people around, like Steph and Matt.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are also virtual tours that are created using virtual reality technology. The virtual tour can then be added to your Facebook Page, like how Yale University did.

Yale University VR campus tour

4. Use Messenger to answer inquiries

In the past, emails and phone calls are the most common ways of contacting universities. With the rise of social media and messaging apps, Facebook Messenger opened up another communication channel between universities and students.

For example, Harvard University has a “Send Message” call-to-action on their Facebook Page. According to the Facebook, the Harvard University team typically replies to messages instantly.

Harvard University Facebook Messenger

If you are unable to check your Page’s messages regularly throughout your workday, you could use Facebook’s Response Assistant to set up automated greetings and replies to let students know that you’ll get back to them soon. You can find this under your Page “Settings” > “Messaging”.

Facebook Page Response Assistant

5. Welcome and bring new students together

Starting university life can be quite scary to many. It can be worse if you do not know anyone else going to the same university as you. So many universities create Facebook Groups for new students to ask questions, interact with one another, and get information about events and activities.

For example, the University of California, Davis creates a new Facebook group for every batch of new students at the university, which is managed by a group of administrators from their marketing and communications team.

UC Davis Freshman Facebook Group

Such groups can allow new students to connect and interact with one another even before the university term starts. After the term has started, you can use this group to inform students about events and activities happening on the campus.

It’s also common to have Facebook Groups for the various degrees and residence halls. For example, the Student Union at the University of Warwick sets up an official Facebook Group for every hall annually so that students living in the same hall can get to know one another better and organize activities via the group.

University of Warwick Hall Facebook Groups

If you would like to create Facebook Groups for the students in your university, here’s our guide to help you get started.

6. Curate student-generated content

Beside sharing news and announcements from the university, you could also share photos and videos taken by students. This not only gives prospective students a view of the university from current students’ perspectives but also engages current students by featuring them on the university’s Facebook Page. How cool would that be!

For instance, the social media team at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) started a hashtag campaign, #CalPolyNow, to help share students’ voices and photos. Students would use the hashtags while posting on Instagram, and the team would re-post selected photos on the university Instagram account and cross-post some on their Facebook Page (with permission).

If you feel that the students in your university are more active on Instagram, you could also link to the university’s Instagram account from the Facebook Page. Using Facebook apps such as Instatab or Instagram Page App, you can add your Instagram gallery to your Facebook Page for free. Here’s an example by Cal Poly:

Cal Poly Facebook Instagram Feed

Alternatively, you could curate Instagram posts taken by students and compile them into a Facebook photo album, like Brigham Young University did.

Brigham Young University student-generated content

7. Offer career advice and support

Not every student would know how to plan their career. I certainly didn’t know when I was in university. Thankfully, many universities now offer career planning advice and support. Facebook is a great way to spread these helpful resources to the student body.

For example, the Student Careers & Skills at the University of Warwick has a Facebook Page, where they share career advice and inform students of relevant career fairs and events.

University of Warwick Student Careers and Skills

(Fun fact: Our CEO Joel Gascoigne and I both went to the University of Warwick!)

8. Organize and promote university events

With Facebook, you can also easily organize and market events at your university. Instead of having to create a new website for an event, you can simply create an event page on Facebook, where you can state the date, time, venue, and details of the event.

For example, Imperial College London regularly uses Facebook to promote events at their university.

Imperial College London events

An additional advantage is that Facebook would help you spread the word about your events. When students indicate that they are going to an event, Facebook would show that to their friends either on their News Feed or via notifications. This can help attract more people to your events.

You could go one step further by boosting your event on Facebook (as in advertising it on Facebook). Once you have created your event page on Facebook, there’s a “Boost Event” button that’ll allow you to advertise your event. Here’s more information about creating an event ad on Facebook.

Facebook promote event

9. Create sub-Facebook Pages

If you were to search “uc berkeley” on Facebook, you’ll see not one but more than 50 Facebook Pages. There’s the main UC Berkeley Facebook Page but there’s also one for the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, one for the UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and many more.

UC Berkeley Facebook Pages

Every university is so diverse with many different departments, societies, and clubs. And each has its own unique set of audience. Rather than having one Facebook Page for the entire university, it’ll be more appropriate (and more fun) to have a Facebook Page for each group.

Of course, you do not have to manage every one of them as long as there’s someone within each group that is willing to. As the marketing team for the university, it’ll be great to lay out some guidelines or offer advice to the “marketer” in each group.

You can also give them an awareness boost by featuring them on the university’s main Facebook Page. If you like the Pages with the main Facebook Page, you can feature them by going to “Settings” > “Featured” and selecting which Pages you want to feature.

UC Berkeley featured Pages

To like another Page, click on the three dots below their cover photo and then “Like As Your Page”, and select the Page you want to like as.

Facebook Like As Your Page

10. Connect with alumni through Facebook Pages or Groups

We’ve talked a lot about marketing to prospective students and engaging current students. But staying in touch with the alumni is important, too. Alumni can help graduates jump-start their career and contribute through volunteering and fundraising.

For instance, Stanford University has several alumni Facebook Pages. On their main alumni Facebook Page, they share stories about their alumni and reminisce about the Stanford history.

Stanford Alumni Facebook Page

Over to you: What other ideas for you have?

Most students are on Facebook and are using Facebook Groups and Messenger to collaborate and communicate with one another. So Facebook is increasingly becoming an important channel for social media teams at universities to market, engage, and stay in touch with students. (The same can also be said for other social media networks such as Instagram and Twitter.)

As a recap, here are the 10 ideas I’ve found through my research and from my personal experience at university:

  1. Share news, achievements, and milestones
  2. Collect reviews from current and past students
  3. Provide virtual tours for prospective students
  4. Use Messenger to answer inquiries
  5. Welcome and bring new students together
  6. Curate student-generated content
  7. Offer career advice and support
  8. Organize and promote university events
  9. Create sub-Facebook Pages
  10. Connect with alumni through Facebook Pages or Groups

What other cool ideas can you think of that social media managers at universities can try? Are there anything special that you do at your university? It’ll be great to hear from you!

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about social media at universities, you might like our podcast interview with Nikki Sunstrum, Director of Social Media at the University of Michigan.

The awesome featured image above is by Jason Leung, taken from Unsplash.

Facebook is creating a news section in Watch to feature breaking news

 Facebook is going to create a new news section in its video streaming platform Facebook Watch to feature breaking news stories. The move, which Campbell Brown, the company’s year-old head of news partnerships, announced onstage at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, is part of a broader evolution of Facebook’s news strategy. Read More

Facebook starts pushing its data-tracking Onavo VPN within its main mobile app

 Onavo Protect, the VPN client from the data-security app maker acquired by Facebook back in 2013, has now popped up in the Facebook app itself, under the new banner “Protect” in the navigation menu. Clicking through on “Protect” will redirect Facebook users to the “Onavo Protect – VPN Security” app’s listing on the App Store. We’re… Read More

Two of America’s closest allies are getting tough with Facebook

It’s been well-documented by now that America’s lawmakers, while increasingly fed-up with tech giants’ negligence in combating fake news and foreign interference, have let much of the problem slide, giving those companies who bring in billions of dollars a year a free pass to continue business as usual.

America’s allies, however, seem less star-struck with companies’ massive financial resources: in the past week alone, both Canada and the U.K. have angrily confronted Facebook executives over the issue.

According to a report on Thursday by The Toronto Star, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg back in November and argued that the company wasn’t doing enough to combat the spread of fake news. Trudeau warned that, unless the company cracked down on the problem, it could face new regulation from Ottawa.

Canada has a federal election coming up in 2019 and the Communications Security Establishment (the country’s equivalent of the NSA) has already warned that it is “very likely” outside groups will attempt to influence the vote through “information warfare.”

The same day the Star report was published, British lawmakers visiting Washington D.C. fiercely criticized executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google over their failure to effectively self-regulate their platforms. The British Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee spent hours at George Washington University grilling the executives, asking, among other questions, “Why has your self-regulation so demonstrably failed and how many chances do you need?” Lawmakers said that big tech’s attempts to tackle misleading and illegal content were “unambitious”.

“Isn’t Facebook a massive surveillance operation?” Conservative MP Rebecca Pow asked.

Labour Party MP Jo Stevens said that connection between Facebook and its users was like an “abusive relationship” where one side was exercising “coercive control.”

The specter of regulation is a looming threat for Facebook, especially in Europe. In late 2017, Ofcom — the U.K’s national media regulator — and then-Culture Secretary Karen Bradley considered changing Facebook, Google and other tech giants’ legal status to “publishers” — giving them more responsibility for the kind of material that appears on their sites. Facebook has long-argued that it is merely a conduit of information and shouldn’t be held responsible for false or misleading content shared on its platform.

Germany, meanwhile, has gone even further. Last year, officials enacted a controversial law stating that social media companies could face up to $60 million in fines they failed to remove “obviously illegal content” within 24 hours.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, has been doing nonstop damage control over the past year, in order to combat the increasingly loud pro-regulation chorus from lawmakers all over the world. In a January post, he wrote that one his main focuses in the new year would be ensuring that time spent on Facebook would be “time well spent” for users, and that family and friends, not public content, would form the core of the user experience. Referring to statistics showing that users spent 50 million fewer hours per day on Facebook during the last quarter of 2017, Zuckerberg added that he wanted the company to focus on quality, not quantity.


Facebook picks up half-hour dramedy series starring Elizabeth Olsen

 Facebook isn’t one to be outdone by Apple’s recent big content spending: It’s purchasing a 10-episode, straight-to-series half-hour drama-comedy series produced and starring Elizabeth Olsen. The production also includes Lizzy Weiss on board as showrunner, Kit Steinkellner as creator and lead writer and Master of None‘s James Ponsoldt as a directly and executive producer… Read More