By most measures, Facebook is the dominant social media platform. Since it is nearly ubiquitous, I don’t know that I need to go in-depth into its basis functions, but instead focus on ways you can leverage it with your students. An important note about Facebook, hoever, as it has aged, the way in which college students use it has changed. You’ll often read the occasional article that Facebook is no longer “cool.” with college students. The truth is, they’re still on it but the way they use it is evolving. In many ways, Facebook has become the operating system of social media networks. A necessary platform (like Windows) but it feels somewhat stale and boring. First year students still use it to make connections at their new school, show off how “amazing” their life is, and collect friends and likes. By their fourth year, students begin to just lurk on the platform, reading, but rarely posting. If they do post, its for the batch sharing of photos. The events feature, however, is still commonly used.
So bottom line, do you need to be on Facebook? Yes. Should you focus on it as your only platform? Probably not. Find out how your students are using it and go there. How do you find out? Just ask them.
Some people ask about the difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group. In most cases, for departments, the answer is a page. It’s more publicly available, it allows you to push out content more easily and is scalable. Groups are more appropriate if you have a defined population and want a lot of cross interaction (group members being able to post and see what others post easily). If you have a student org and want an “internal” means of communication, or if you’re creating a space for a class you’re teaching or a group of student staff you’re training, a Group is likely the better way to go. This video gives a good explainer:
When is the best time to post on Facebook?
What you should NOT do on Facebook:
How to understand Facebook Insights (analytics):