Personally, on a given night when I want to find something to do, I call, text or Instant Message my friends. Generally speaking for all students, when it comes to finding something to do at school, I am going to check my Facebook Events page because it lists almost all the events I would be interested in. While some of the on-campus events I come across on Facebook are run by students and their organizations, the majority are events programmed by the actual school.
Although the events are organized by an institution, it is almost always the case that the Facebook Events are created by students. This is problematic in several ways. One is that unreliable information about events might be delivered if the institution does not assure that details are correct. Also important is the trustworthiness of the Facebook Events; when students create dozens of random events for different entities, how am I supposed to know that my school’s upcoming concert is legitimate? This is also connected to the problem of discrepancies in which several students make multipleEvent Invitations for the same event.
As a student leader myself, I know how important it is to get the word out when you have an event planned. But if you’re an institution spending loads of money to produce an event, what’s more important is whether or not the word being spread is accurate. So why are they leaving the creation of Facebook Events up to complete strangers, who may not always have their best interests in mind? Does that institution really want this unreliable, not up to date exchange of information? If not, how can Higher Ed solve this problem?
The truth of the matter is that it’s a challenge that may not be easily met with one practical solution. Higher Ed must know that Facebook promotion (e.g. Facebook Events) should be integrated with your current marketing strategies (e.g. school websites) for campus-wide events and that schools must keep in mind how to connect and regulate information between the two. At first thought, manually creating Facebook events might seem like a good option, but doing this would keep both ends separate and would require a lot of work. Facebook Connect would be a better alternative in achieving integration but doesn’t exactly solve the problem with events. UCLA’s Happenings Events Calendar, which consolidates every UCLA-relevant event into one accessible calendar, is a great example of somewhat bridging this gap. With its recent addition of Facebook’s Like and Recommendations plugins, the website’s visitors are able to see who in their Facebook friends have “Liked” the event and who have recommended the event to the rest of their Facebook network–both of which publishes the activity on the visitors’ News Feed. Still, though, this does not achieve the goal in unifying events on both ends.
So what’s the answer? Unfortunately it’s still out there and undiscovered. Whether it’s manually entering Facebook events, bridging the gap with Facebook Connect or perhaps something else entirely, the fact remains that until this is answered, students will continue to rely on unreliable information from unreliable people simply because it’s easier to check Facebook than to navigate a school’s site. Not knowing if your word is being spread effectively is a very scary thought.
See the original post on Inigral's blog.
The Hidden Truth About Facebook Fan Pages 05/25/2010
When it comes to my hundreds of friends and dozens of groups, I am constantly bombarded with News Feed stories by the second. While some of these stories interest me, those that do not are mostly Fan Page stories. To understand why that is, I decided to take a look at the Fan Pages I “fan” and how they communicate.
After my few years as a Facebook user, I’ve seen Fan Pages that fall into two extremes—ones that do too much and ones that don’t do enough. A Page that does too much enters Facebook with the right intentions in terms of updating its fans; but like someone shouting through a megaphone hoping to be heard, too many news updates can annoy fans and become ignored. In contrast, there’s the Page that does nothing to create a relationship with its fans, leaving its page stagnant and forgotten. But in the middle of these two there are a few pages that do things right. For these Pages, the main idea is to get their marketing message out there. They succeed in maintaining steady traffic, showing high numbers of fans, and engage the fans with the Page. It’s a tightrope walk, balancing efforts to deliver a message while not over saturating your fan’s feeds. However for Higher Ed, it’s even more challenging because, in addition to the mentioned obstacles, these Pages have trouble targeting the intended audience while updating fans with quality posts at the same time.
For pages such as Coca-Cola and the San Francisco Giants, it is relatively easy to publish relevant, general information because the fan base is sort of singular—they are straight up fans/supporters of that brand or team, not prospect fans or former fans. With institutions, this isn’t the case because their pages usually encompass prospective students, current students, staff, faculty, parents and alumni. It is nearly impossible to control who receives what messages because of Page’s “push-to-all” method of diffusing information.
So in the end, what does all this mean for Higher Ed? How do you provide useful and valuable information out to the right audience, whether it be prospective students, current students, or alumni?
That answer is to do your best to provide relevant information that strikes conversation among multiple facets of your fan base. Stop fractioning, bring these groups together and get them talking about your school. To succeed in doing this, institutions need to adjust not only their approach to the Facebook platform, but how they measure success as well. They must stop thinking about their fan numbers like a scoreboard and start trusting Facebook’s new Insights Page as a window into their ability to truly resonate and interact with their key audiences.
Achieving broad marketing efforts on Facebook is a challenge for any company or business, but for Higher Ed institutions it’s even harder. As blunt as that may sound, Higher Ed institutions must do their best in juggling the content of their news updates because although I may exist to you as a fan, information that doesn’t interest me can easily be hidden. When your status updates don’t exist in my News Feed, my existence as a fan is meaningless, and ultimately that is a decision that I get to make by simply clicking “Hide.”
See the original post on Inigral's blog.