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I never knew what to do with Facebook groups

September 20, 2018

Facebook has 26,000 internal groups for employees. That was a stat I heard at Facebook when they were pitching “Workplace” — an intranet that is free to non-profits, but runs at around 3K per month for businesses. It is an intranet build around the concept of groups. If your employees can build work groups, they can also build play groups and enjoy work just a little more.

For highered, the group system works perfectly for class years. Classes are groups, both when they enter the school, and come back for reunions — next fall the class of 1969 turns 50.

In the admissions cycle, the group is a yield tool. Invite the growing group of early decision applicants into the group, and prompt them to up-sell the school to the people on the fence. ED students are the unique subset of people who love you, and you love them. So getting them to sell isn’t hard.

But that was the extent of the strategy. When August rolled around the class convocated, the groups sat idle. Sure, some entrepreneurial students would pitch their group/idea/play to the people, but mostly they sat silent. It always felt wrong for a comms person to go in there and pitch things after graduation.

Facebook now lets pages join and post in groups.

I don’t know if this is something Stanford lobbied for — but this solves all sorts of issues. Before I was ousted at Colgate, I had made a policy that no one but students would post in class year groups. They didn’t need more selling — the give message should be it (giving of time or $$). Incidentally, this isn’t the policy now — there is such a push to sell nostalgia on alumni right now that even I, a non-alum has blocked all efforts.)

That said, a page can tell class year groups about events, free useful apps (like the Evertrue app) and free classes. The Page postings can actually add value, and grease the wheels for giving.

If you’re reading this and you’re a digital strategist in highered, you should craft a strategy for telling your class years content that is meaningful to them.

What do you think? What was your class year Facebook group strategy?

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