Should Schools Have a Facebook Page?

As the developer responsible for my employer’s website (a technical school for high school students and adults) I was also made responsible for creating and cultivating membership to the school’s Facebook page.  Our school is different from a high school in that we aren’t guaranteed enrollment from year-to-year, and so we’re constantly looking to improve our marketing. Facebook was the perfect candidate, but what was initially viewed as a great marketing and communications tool is quickly devolving into an administrative mess.

Should I disable commenting, image, and video posting?  Should our school even have a Facebook page at all?  Facebook is by nature very open and everyone from our Quality Management Team to our instructors to our Administrative director find something wrong with just about every comment posted, whether it be an inappropriate tone or improper grammar.  Policing the page takes no small amount of time an effort.  Disabling the interactive features of the page defeats the purpose of having it.

What do you think?  Should a school have a Facebook page and, if so, how should it be regulated?

3 replies
  1. Me says:

    okay…here are my thoughts…I feel your frustrations and am in thought. If the PURPOSE of having a facebook page is to create a social networking forum, where information can be disseminated freely and openly and communication can be facilitated, then I believe facebook should be just that! (No monitoring of language or spelling or concern about what others think…do delete vulgar or inappropriate comments related to offensive stuff). I believe a website is something that is PRIVATE…something that no one can change and information can be viewed and is “safe”.

    A clearly developed PR plan for a school would include Promotional techniques to achieve various desired results. For instance, if we want to promote our programs to all individuals (students, parents, adults, community, other CTC’s etc.) around the area and throughout the world, then we have a website. This website would then have links and subpages to meet the desires of the audience. If we want to create a forum for open discussion, promoting our site to current students and potentially encourage future students (high school aged)…we use facebook as a social networking forum. If we want to “get our name out there” we use billboards and print ads and radio spots and maybe tv. If we want to bring together businesses to provide feedback, we create focus groups and hold meetings or conference calls or attend their already established meetings. If we want to reach EVERYONE with a general announcment, we send email, mail flyers, etc. If we want to request donations and money we go in person or send select specific personalized letters.

    Facebook…i don’t know if we should or should not have a page. I do know that if we ultimately decide to have a page, we need to determine the PURPOSE we are hoping for, and then allow that to unfold. I don’t believe we should worry about promoting it (other than to make people aware). I don’t believe we should do more than post pictures, share events, or create discussions/forums for discussion. I don’t believe in micro-managing. If the concern is how we are perceived based on our students postings, then we should either not allow them to post or we should not have a facebook page!

    I have lots more thoughts…but i actually need to do work! (other than this). I have done marketing for various agencies and organizations and what a school needs is a multi-year public relations plan…categorized by audiences and desired results (awareness of programs, awareness of name, etc.)

  2. Brian Reich says:

    Fantastic insight. It makes me think that we’re going about marketing the wrong way, having someone in-house wear “marketing” as one of their many hats.

  3. Joe says:

    As a fairly new Facebook user, I have not enjoyed the forum very much. As a consumer, using Facebook as a marketing tool, would not happen. If you understand the internet at all and your searching for a particular product or service, you do an internet search of the top websites and go from there.
    Facebook’s sole mission is to give people space to vent there frustrations, likes and dislikes. There is no way to diseminate whether what their saying has any useful information in it or not. More often it is just a way to vent or make statements of that persons own beliefs (rational or not)
    A link on your website to leave a comment is doing the same thing. Spend your money elsewhere in true marketing. Go to the high schools you serve and sell your selves to the students. I am a former student of Sun Area and the way that Vocational training was anything but positive and did not involve Sun Area trying to market a field to me.
    Truely use your dollars wisely and market to prospective students, their parents, and the general public to enhance the number of students you can educate.

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