Should you get a Facebook page for your university/college?

November 7th, 2007 Karine Joly 6 Comments

That’s the big question of the day with the launch of Facebook pages, a new feature of the popular social networking website introduced to Facebook users this morning on the company blog:

You now have a way to connect with things you are passionate about. We’ve launched Facebook Pages, which are distinct, customized profiles designed for businesses, bands, celebrities and more to represent themselves on Facebook.

And, here is how the new feature was introduced to businesses and other organizations now welcome (profiles have been reserved to individuals since the beginning) to “establish an interactive presence on Facebook:”

Every Facebook Page is a unique experience where users can become more deeply connected with your business or brand. Users can express their support by adding themselves as a fan, writing on your Wall, uploading photos, and joining other fans in discussion groups. You can send updates to your fans regularly — or just with special news or offers. Add applications to your Page and engage your users with videos, reviews, flash content, and more. Creating a Facebook Page is easy, free, and great for all types of businesses,

There is a dedicated category for Education, so universities and colleges are definitely welcome as well.

Shelley Keith, Website Coordinator at Southern Arkansas University (who is also a regular reader of this blog) emailed me about the news this morning and hasn’t wasted any time. She has already put together this Facebook page for her university (she plans to share her experience in creating this page in a future blog postI’ll post the link when it becomes available):

Southern Arkansas University Facebook Page

What looks interesting – besides the fact that it doesn’t cost a penny to create such a page – is that they come with a free service of very promising stats, Facebook Insights:

With Facebook Insights, you have access to data on activity, fan demographics, ad performance, and trends. With this information, you are better equipped to improve your custom content on Facebook and adjust your ad targeting. Facebook Insights is a free service for all Facebook Pages and Social Ads.

It was just launched today, so it’s definitely very early to decide if this is something your institution should do. However, since it just takes a few minutes to create a basic Facebook page, it’s probably wiser to set one up for your school.

Again, my dear readers, what do you think?

6 Responses

  1. Colin Fast says:

    I think the real questions here is: why wouldn’t you get a page for your institution?

    Any of the research we’ve done involving students and prospective students lately indicates that Facebook is taking up massive amounts of their online time. While having a Facebook page (or school-specific application) won’t bring in thousands of applicants on its own, it certainly can’t hurt to have a presence in such an active student community (especially when it’s free).

    I set one up a page for my school (Red River College) within minutes of the service becoming available, although Shelley’s page is making me a bit jealous. I’m off to add more content.

  2. I agree with Colin, there’s no reason to NOT setup a page. However, I’ve been in meetings recently where I spent a lot of time explaining Facebook policy and trying to clarify what departments can and can’t do, now I have to go un-say all of that. :)

  3. Jeff Howard says:

    If students begin to use facebook as a point of entry to initialize their college search then inevitably this is a no brainier for any university.

    These pages are essentially landing pages and I think experimenting with the content will be crucial to improve conversions. The next question to ask is what would I do as a admission marketing department who oversees 3-4 different colleges, should each department have a facebook page or maybe even each major.

    It will be interesting to see how higher ed marketers treat these pages.

  4. Myf Nixon says:

    I’ve set up pages for our colleges, but one thing puzzles me – they don’t seem to be found in Facebook’s search facility, which makes us almost impossible to find beside the several existing ‘unofficial’ FB groups. One thoery is that because we’re global, with colleges in Australia, UK and USA, we don’t show up in anyone’s network.

  5. [...] Facebook launched Facebook Pages in November 2007. It was then that I had to make an important decision. Stay loyal to MySpace or expand and embrace [...]

  6. [...] Last November, Facebook pages were launched as a way to provide businesses, brands, organizations and higher ed institutions with a way to set their own profile on the network. [...]

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