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13 reasons why a University should have one Facebook page

April 21, 2018

In 2013 (2013!)  I did a session at a 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.

On Tuesday, I am doing a CASE chat about Facebook strategy.

Seems a good time to revisit this list.

#1: A prospective student = a student = an alum. 

Why on earth would a school need an admissions page, a school page and an alumni page if, and this is important, they are the same people? When you attract people to your page, they become students and then alums. Schools with separate pages need to waste marketing energy attracting people – again – to a page.

#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. At many schools, a first-year student has 18 million things they could follow.

#3: Algorithms.

The page I manage has 28K likes. So 28K people like this page, are friends with about 250 people, and like, on average, another 8 brand pages. Our content needs to compete with all those things. WHY on earth make it compete with content from your own school?

#4: Bad copy.

With so many pages to manage, a school ends up with the desire to feed the beast. “I need to post on Facebook.” The need to post on Facebook is not a strategic reason to post on Facebook and ends up with a bad post. Don’t end up with bad posts, 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.

Your English department Facebook page has 607 likes. The main Page is on the first page of a Google Search for the school and has 27K likes. I’m not awesome at math, but I think 27K > 607. .

#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, especially tours. Be ready.

#8: Marketing. 

It takes marketing effort to get  like. If people click like, you’re done. You can go back to telling stories and quite marketing. for every page your school has, that is more marketing resources that get expended.

#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, and you get half the returns.

#10: There are already too many pages.

The Facebook Pages app helpfully says: “Pages Manager lets you manage up to 50 Pages from your smartphone or tablet.”

Oh. My. God.


It is amazing. It offers detailed analytics of your .edu, of your one Page, it connects your one Instagram. It closes the loop in a way that will only get better. Trust. Me.

#12: Ads. 

Facebook ads from one page. I’m utterly convinced that your last organic post impacts your next ad. I’m convinced that your ad impacts your next post. But all that said, here’s why one page is critical. Facebook is an auction. If I buy 18-12 year old college students, and the English department page buys it too, we artificially increase the cost to reach and the cost to click.


Sorry for yelling. But we are. One page, one focus, ad potential.

#13: Facebook is becoming a better content management system.

This month, I shared videos that had already beed posted on Facebook, back on Facebook. The posts launched with the already banked views. So a new video post launched with 2K views. In April. For yield. And alumni liked the videos because they created a nostalgic memory.

The reasons to attend your school are the same things that generate nostalgia from your alumni.

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 of a Facebook Page, or delete one, let me know. I keep track.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2018 3:27 pm

    Disclaimer: I just deactivated my personal FB account.

    Having said that, much here that I agree with, but I mostly disagree about the “one audience” parts. It’s one audience, segmented into groups whose interests, lives and expectations for social media could not be more different from one other. As an alumnus, I don’t care at all – even a little – about the stuff that high school applicants or current undergrads are looking for. Except, maybe, an awesome photo. Once a month.

    But then again, I’m the guy who deactivated my FB account….so…..

    • April 26, 2018 10:33 am

      It is a valid point. However, I do think the things that make an alum nostalgic can also be the reasons to attend a school. That said, it isn’t perfect. We want to attract academically gifted, curious students. At the same time, we want to celebrate the successes of our academically gifted, curious alumni.

      It is a fine line. And if it can’t be addressed, the alternative solution, a segmenting of the messages, creates more problems, I think.

      thanks for the comment.

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