How to advertise with Facebook Basic Flyers to reach your current or prospective students

September 21st, 2007 Karine Joly 2 Comments

If you read this blog, you probably understand how important Facebook has become for our prospective and current students as well as our younger alums.

While this new communication channel should always be used with caution by higher ed institutions to avoid “invading” their students’ primary social hang out, it makes a lot of sense to take advantage of advertising opportunities offered by the platform (and I don’t make a dime by writing this – although if Mark Zuckenberg and any Facebook Execs read these lines, chocolates or flowers are always welcome ;-).

One of the cheapest (that could also be the most efficient) way to advertise on the popular social networking website is to use Facebook Basic Flyers. Originally used by Facebook members to advertise parties or other social events on campus, Facebook Basic Flyers don’t require a Madison Avenue budget but can deliver great results.

Butler Flyer

Want an example?

Reader and HEE member Brad Ward, Electronic Communication Coordinator at Butler University, has used these virtual flyers to recruit student bloggers. Brad shared the results of this initiative on the recently launched team blog: Squared Peg:

I put an ad in 2 places: BLUE, the student employment database on campus, and Facebook, using their flyers. BLUE yielded 8 applications in 10 days, Facebook gave me nearly 40. Total cost for the Facebook ad? $50. We ran the flyer to the right for 10 days at 2,500 impressions per day (25,000 total) for a cost of $5/day. I targeted both genders, age 18-24, undergrads only, in the Butler network. By doing this I was able to reach and get a response from 1% of the entire student body. I’d consider that a success.

As you can see, Facebook Basic Flyers look like a very cost-effective way to advertise something to your student population with great results. Beyond the 40 applicants for the student blogger position, this $50 advertising campaign started to raise awareness about the student blogger program in the current student population. In this age of virtual word of mouth, Butler students can play a decisive role in the promotion of these admissions-sponsored blogs to their younger real (or virtual) friends who are interested in learning more about Butler.

So, how can you use Facebook Flyers for your next outreach campaign targeted to students?

  • Go to the flyer page on Facebook
  • Choose a theme for the layout
  • Indicate if you want to include a photo or not (you should add a graphic as this will attract the eyes of your audience far more than just text)
  • Enter your title (25 characters max) and text (200 characters max) for your flyer
  • Don’t forget to add a link to a landing web page (it’s optional, but make sure you do it as this will help you track the ROI of your flyer)
  • Choose the demographics of your target audience (gender, age, network affiliation – that should be your institution network in this last case)
  • Select the budget and the schedule for your campaign
  • Read the terms of service (the usual provisions about copyrights as well as some disclaimers: on some small network, Facebook might not be able to reach the targeted number of impressions. They can also stop running your campaign if the content is offensive or for any other reasons, but it seems — have I already told you I’m not a lawyer? – that they will give you a refund in the last case.)
  • Proceed with the credit card payment (no check unless you buy a $20,000 campaign)


My advice is to start small, run a $10 or $15 test, and make sure you set an external landing page to track the click-through rate. If you use Facebook Basic Flyers for an event or something including a call to action, track the conversion rate as well.

If you run (or have run) a campaign using flyers, share your results with us by posting a comment.