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13 reasons why a University should have one Facebook page

August 2, 2013

A few months ago, I did a session at conference called “Can I talk you out of a Facebook page“. My point then and now isn’t to suggest Facebook is a bad marketing tool. My point is that for a University, many Facebook pages make Facebook a bad marketing tool for the school.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Here then are the 13 reasons.

#1: One page will rule them all. 

Start with the point. Facebook allows targeting for posts. A university can post to people ion high school, people in College, and College graduates. Why on earth would a school need an admissions page, a school page and an alumni page if you can target those people with posts?

#2: Confusion.

If the school has a Facebook page, an athletics page, a department page, a Chapel page, a page for the mascot…it confuses people. If people don’t know what to follow, you’re doing it wrong.

#3: Algorithms.

The page I manage has 11,000 fans. Most of the posts go to about 4,000-5,000 people. I think that is because we have a high quality score, last week our page had 5,838 engagements. We do posts to high school students, current students and alums. And many people engage. If the posts are only for and about alums, you miss a chance to let people engage about the experience.

#4: Bad copy.

With so many pages to manage, you end up with too many beasts to feed. When you have to create copy, you end up with bad copy. Don’t end up with bad copy, consolidate.

#5: The best pictures.

I used to think that anyone could take a good picture. I used to think that the iPhone allowed us all to snap the moment, and post it. Then I moved to one of the most stunningly beautiful campuses in the world, and I realized I was wrong. Fewer posts means less desire to snap a photo with an iPhone. You have opportunities to capture moments that rock the socks off your current students and alums. These are the pictures they’ll share – not the crappy iPhone shots. The good pictures make the brand stronger.

#6: Reach.

The admissions page has a few hundred people. The other page (presumably for students has a thousand. The alumni page has the most. One page will always have the most reach.

#7: Location. 

People are checking in like mad. At this point, there isn’t anything we can effectively do with checkins. But the day will come. One page means less confusion on where to check in. Be ready.

#8: Marketing. 

It should go without saying, but I’ll say it. It is easier to get people to like your Facebook when there is only one. If there are two, it is twice as hard. Plus, each one is in competition with the other one.

#9: The good times are over. 

I remember a day when I managed a fast-food Facebook page. I recall the day I sat there hitting refresh and watching the number of fans (they were called fans then) go up by 10’s every refresh. 30 seconds was a few hundred. It was incredible, and it will never happen again. It takes work now. If you have two pages, it takes twice the work, but you get half the returns.

#10: There are already too many pages.

Facebook Pages, the app, has 15 million downloads. There are probably 4 times that many pages (my mom has a Facebook page for her last election cycle). Don’t add any, take them away.

#11: Transitions.

Lets say you disagreed with the first ten. Your school has an admissions page, a current students page and an alumni page. How do you get someone from one page to the other? Do you ask them to unlike the admissions page when they get in? Unlike the student page when they graduate? Why bother figuring all that out when the solution is one page?

#12: Ads. 

Facebook ads are the reason I think you should buy stock. We can take a post about a current student, a recent alum and a professor publishing together in a journal, and boost that to high school students in Dallas. The post is relevant to all people in the College cycle. And we can use ads to push it to people and make them aware of our promise. Too many pages means too little ads. One page, one focus, ad potential.

#13: Facebook is a bad content management system.

Admissions, departments, athletics, alumni affairs – these people want to create content. The magic of these times is that people like to share. They want to share their stories. Help them. Offer them a seat at the content creation table. Have them blog, take videos, capture moments. There are places for those moments. A bunch of Facebook pages is maybe the worst. A bunch of blogs is maybe the best. Each blog post becomes and Facebook post. In the last week we have 18,273 clicks to links on Facebook. That is people subscribing to the feeds from around the school.

That is reach.

The issue is this: it is easy to turn on a Facebook page. That doesn’t mean it should happen. Because guess what, it is just as easy to delete them. It is just as easy to consolidate.

So if you talk someone out, or delete it, let me know in comments.

Here is the slideshare presentation.

A facebook page from Matt Hames
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2013 12:08 pm

    Hey there! I work at Roberts Wesleyan as manager of all things digital 🙂 We’re thinking about merging our alumni page with our regular college page in part due to the presentation of yours I watched! Can you tell me if you know of other colleges who have merged pages successfully? Did you start out with several & then merge, or have you always just had one page? I’m curious to know how you coordinated that.

    • November 17, 2013 1:07 pm

      Hi Meg,

      We had an admission’s page when I got here but we closed it down. The hard part is organizational: getting people to let go of their fiefdoms. If you want, you can call me at Colgate to talk about it. I’m at 315 228 6637.



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