If you manage a Facebook page, you’re aware of the challenge of reaching followers in the most effective way. We’ve faced this challenge in managing The Collegian’s Facebook page, and in the process, we’ve discovered what works and what misses the mark when attempting to reach our audience.
So if your society or department’s Facebook page could use a face-lift, perhaps our list of nine tips can help give your page the boost and reach you’re seeking.
1. Chart your goals. What do you hope to accomplish through your Facebook page? Does the page exist to inform? To entertain? To create awareness? Or to connect people? Make a list of three to five goals for your page, and craft your messaging to accomplish those goals.
Goals for a society page may include connecting members, increasing member participation and sharing photos of recent society events. If you manage a departmental page, your goals will vary. These goals may include providing education information, posting announcements and sharing updates within the department.
If you don’t have specific objectives for your page, you may find that you aren’t even sure what to post. Clearly defining your goals will give your page a specific purpose, making your page effective and worthwhile.
2. Take advantage of rich media. Whenever possible, post relevant photos and videos, because rich media top the charts in Facebook’s user engagement stats. According to Fast Company, posts that include photos get 39 percent more engagement than normal status updates. And self-explanatory photos get the most interaction. When we post photos on The Collegian’s Facebook page, user engagement skyrockets.
Do your research or become a photographer so you can share great photos. But be careful: don’t post a photo without a purpose. Users could grow tired of irrelevant photos appearing in their newsfeeds.
Try making a promotional video for your upcoming society outing, or post photos from intramural games.
For department pages, photos of students working and studying in the classroom should generate more engagement.
3. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t post large paragraphs of text. Most followers won’t stick around long enough to read all that text — they may keep scrolling. Mr. Kasey McClure, director of Activities & Organizations at BJU, advises that when it comes to social media posts, less is more. “Be concise in your communication,” McClure said. “This goes with anything that you say in digital format. The longer your message, the least likely [your followers] are to read your message.”
Do you have a long, detailed message to communicate to your society? Maybe Facebook isn’t the right medium. An email could be more effective in that case.
So think short, punchy and to the point. Just don’t throw grammatical accuracy out the window. That’s always important.
4. Point followers to original content. Be resourceful, and find ways to provide users with content they can get only from your page. Nearly all of our posts are article links that direct online traffic to The Collegian’s website. By sharing content that’s unique to our page, we can capture reader interest most effectively.
Department pages can share links to educational and news articles that specifically apply to the page and that will be of interest to followers.
You may even consider starting a blog for your society or department and sharing blog posts on a consistent basis. Quality, original content from a blog could help your page gain a solid following of interested readers.
5. Engage with questions. According to Fast Company, question posts earn 100 percent more engagement than typical text-only posts. Think of a conversation-starting question, and ask it!
Societies could ask for feedback about an idea or event, and departments could ask for student opinions about a recent lecture, group project or experiment. Just be sure to post questions that will apply to the largest group of people possible.
But here’s a word of caution: there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to questions. Don’t overuse them; readers may stop responding to redundant posts.
6. Remember the “social” in social media. Your page shouldn’t be an impersonal entity; it’s meant for interaction. “Be sure to respond to comments and feedback, surveys and posts,” McClure said. “If you want your news to show up in the news feeds of your members, you need to make sure that you are posting frequently and responding to what people say.”
Stay up to date with the interaction on your page, and make the best use of the medium by connecting with followers.
7. Be insightful. Learn how to make the most of your page by following your page’s Facebook Insights. These statistics provide useful information that should guide when, what and how you post. Particularly useful for The Collegian, the Insights charts show the times of day that people interact most with your page. Jump on that information by posting when the most followers are most engaged. You can also learn the types of posts that gain the highest interaction and the highest virality — how quickly a post is seen by the highest number of people.
8. Make use of management tools. If you feel like you could use some extra help, sign up for a social media management app like HootSuite or Pagemodo. These apps provide tools for scheduling posts and keeping track of multiple social media pages and accounts.
If you plan to share links on a consistent basis, keep track of user interaction with your shared links by using bit.ly or Google’s URL shortener.
9. Search for feedback and opportunities. Apart from your webpage, talk to society members or those in your department. Ask them what’s working and what’s falling flat. Live, candid feedback can give you tips for making more improvements.
And don’t forget to be on the look out for opportunities to share information and snap photos. Be prepared, searching for “shareable” ideas at every society meeting, special guest lecture or event you host.
Are these tips helpful? Let us know by posting on our Facebook wall: BJU – The Collegian.