Monthly Archives: March 2011

How to Leverage the New Facebook Features

Many of us maintain a Facebook page for our institution (or at least have a username and log in for one), but the challenge is leveraging the features of the social network to promote programs, events and features of your school.  Facebook recently made a number of changes to their interface and it is now even easier to promote your “brand” to your fans, which in our case, are usually our students.

In 7 Tips and Marketing Strategies for the New Facebook Fan Pages Kristi Hines not only tells us how the new Facebook changes are beneficial, but she provides step-by-step instructions on to take advantage of the new features.

Here are her 7 tips, with my comments on how you can implement this on your institution’s Facebook page.

1.Using Facebook as a Fan Page
If you’re not currently the page admin, then become one following Hines’ steps. Then begin liking, commenting and interacting on other pages started by different groups on campus and in the local community where your institution is based. This could be the school’s football team, the Drama Club, on campus Counseling Center, the students’ favorite local Taco stand, etc.

2. Featured Likes
Find a few of the most popular Facebook groups on campus and add them as Featured Likes.

3.  Top Five Profile Photos
Your brand is your campus and your students. Include 1-2 professional shots of the campus and have the remaining 3 be nice, but candid, photographs of students (perhaps even ones that have already been posted on FB.) You can simply tag your page in the photo to show up in your photo feed. Just make sure students are okay with having their photos representing the school, but since they’re already on FB they’re often amendable with the image being used.

4.  Showing Page Owners
If you/the FB admin is well-known, and well-liked, around campus it may be good to have the admin name public. I always recommend having students contribute  to the FB page (a great part-time marketing internship for a business student!) so if you have a popular student who is posting for you it would be good to feature him/her as students will more likely fan the page if they know their friend is writing content and involved in the page development.

5. Getting in Your Fans News Feeds
Have your student intern post frequently about what’s going on around campus.  S/he can come up with weekly trivia questions, games or contests that can be posted to encourage comments and engagement among the students body/page fans.

6. Linking to a Fan Page from a Personal Profile
In our case this would be students including their school in their personal profile information. Again, I would use your intern to post about this feature to encourage their friends/peers to pick your institution’s fan page from the drop down menu so it appears as a link in their profile.

7. Where are my Tabs?
The key is using step 3 of her process:
Step 3. If you want to drive visitors to a specific tab on your fan page, you can link to it directly by clicking on the tab’s link from your fan page and then copying the URL from your browser.
These links could be new videos on your YouTube page, a new department website, or a link to an article written in the local newspaper about a student on campus.

You can read Hines’ full article at the link above.  She also includes the following additional resources:


Weibo | The Twitter Of China

On my recent visit to China I asked all the young study abroad counselors:

What’s the hottest service in the social networking sphere these days?

The answer:

Weibo.
China’s version of Twitter.

Started by media portal giant, Sina, Weibo is a microblogging site, similar to Twitter, that has recently soared in popularity.  According to Sina there are over 100 million users and millions of posts per day. Their growth rate is more than 10 million new users per month.  Weibo accounts are mostly individual users posting content, much like users do on Facebook and Twitter, but the service also has more than 5,000 companies and 2,700 media organizations actively posting.

Since most US-based social networking sites are blocked in China (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, etc) you’ll want to open a Weibo account if you are interested in promoting your school to the China market.  Over 100 million potential viewers is no small audience. While some users do update in English it’s recommended you have a Chinese speaker feeding local language content from the account.

You can sign up for an account here: http://t.sina.com.cn/

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sina_Weibo