Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Trying to get beyond 'Likes'

I've had two meetings recently where I've been able to glean some useful advice regarding Student Development's use of Facebook. The first was with David Morgan a couple of Friday's ago (after which I shared his really helpful social media guidelines) and the second with Alan Cann and Jennifer Jones last Friday. The meetings were different but the outcomes the same - a recognition that I need to encourage more interaction on our Student Development Facebook page.

I've been really pleased with the steady increase in the number of people who 'like' (Facebook's new language for what were page 'fans') our Facebook page but we need to do more with it. Currently the page updates are either automated via RSS feeds from our website or published manually by our Helpdesk via Hootsuite. This has provided a good foundation for the page but I'd like to begin to do more. Our Students' Union use their Facebook page really well and get a lot of engagement through it as a result. Three noteworthy differences in the set up of the pages are:
  1. they push out news updates from Facebook to Twitter whereas I've set the Student Development accounts to push out news updates from Twitter to Facebook;
  2. they put a Facebook like box very prominently on their website (ours is a bit squirreled away);
  3. they have at least 6 people set up as admins on their page whereas for Student Development it's just me.
In terms of the content they post the Students Union are very creative (in many ways more so than we could ever be) but they aren't just being creative for the sake of it, they are doing it to encourage interaction. To borrow again from David's social media guidelines they:
  • start conversations;
  • attach content - photos, videos and tagging (have a look at this video about an office move);
  • announce, remind and excite (whilst trying not to annoy);
  • think carefully about timing;
  • remember that followers can just turn them off.
So, I've decided to experiment with a bit of a push on revision and exam skills next week sometime. Currently we tend to just push links to relevant study guides but I think we need to do more to engage people so I'm thinking of the following:
  • embed our Revision and exam - top ten tips in the Facebook page (rather than just ink to it);
  • ask people for their own top revision tips;
  • give more staff in Student Development admin rights on the page so we can reply to comments more promptly;
  • link to other relevant content, including our workshops and consultations, accordingly;
  • and in all of this try not to annoy people by going on about stuff too much.
That doesn't look like much of a plan. What do you suggest?


  1. More images in the FB clips might help engagement. Clipart? At the moment, it's a bit broadcast-y. Raise issue for discussion rather than just announcements? Polls occasionally (try to pick authentic issues and don't overdo it).

  2. Excellent. Thank you. Will getting people to put images in news items to see if they appear in the FB page

  3. Bigged up David (and SD) at the Students As Collaborators do today ;-)

  4. Well done. David deserves a lot of credit. Was it a good do then?

  5. [...] the last week, I have been unable to escape the gravitational pull of Facebook. On Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the conversation inevitably turned to this elephant in the seminar room. I [...]

  6. make sure you push this into the First year biol sci friend feeders?