How Many Facebook Pages Should I Create For My School?

how-many-facebook-pages-should-i-have-for-my-school

You can never be too rich. You can never be too thin. You can never have too many Facebook Pages for your school? Not quite!

I’ve increasingly been asked this question and while there is no correct answer I would like to weigh in with my opinion. I think you should only have one Facebook Page for your school and here’s why.

Inbound Marketing

Your school’s Facebook Page should be a central part of your inbound marketing strategy. As such, I believe that having one page that serves all of your school’s different constituents is beneficial as you think in terms of your school’s social media “reach.” Let me explain – the power of social media is in the ability of your content to spread exponentially based on your connections. In other words, if you post content it will be shown to your friends which can then be shown to their friends which can then be shown to the friends of your friends. In my opinion it makes sense to have one Facebook Page with the most possible fans which will have your content seen by the most people. If you have multiple Facebook Pages for your school you will dilute your reach because you will dilute the people who would potentially fan your one page.

Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Another reason I believe it’s important to have one Facebook Page for your school is the ability to have each of your different constituents see the content intended for each audience. I think there is value in alumni seeing information for current students. It’s important for prospective parents to see information intended for current parents. I think the sharing of information is good for your school community and can potential help with branding.

What About The Alumni?

The most common rebuttal I hear to having one Facebook Page for your school is what about the alumni and private information that shouldn’t be available to the public. I think schools initially found that Facebook Groups would serve their purposes but I would argue that schools should use LinkedIn as their private alumni group. The problem with alumni portals are that people don’t want to maintain another log in or account. LinkedIn has established itself as the professional social media network and your alumni are there and will maintain their account. My argument is to tap into those benefits and build your private alumni group through LinkedIn.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Another argument against having more than one Facebook Page for your school is who will maintain all of those pages. Most schools have limited resources in terms of money and staff and having one Facebook Page for your school allows you to focus what resources you have into one page. I think there is nothing worse than having a Facebook Page that is not an active community – it’s a poor representation of your school and shouldn’t exist in the first place.

While I believe you should only have one Facebook Page for your school I would love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know in the comments section below.

Creative Commons License photo credit: TooFarNorth

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.admissionsquest.com/ Peter Baron

    I fall in your camp (i.e. a single page for admission, current students/parents, alums) for all of the reasons mentioned, although I do think that there’s room for content/program specific areas (athletics, the arts, etc)  to feature their work on their own pages. 

    I’ve seen schools have success, for instance, by allowing a set of athletic teams to run with their own pages and create content that speaks to their segment of the overall school community. Rather than overwhelm the entire community with info, it provides coaches, program directors, etc. to go into more depth and feed folks who are interested with a highly relevant narrative. 

    The key, I believe, with this strategy is to build it into the page admin’s job description & provide them with appropriate training & mentorship. If you’re a coach, not only will you be reviewed & assessed on your performance coaching & managing the team, you’ll also be evaluated on your outreach through the page. 

    Just my 2 cents…

    • http://www.schneiderb.com Brendan Schneider

      Peter,
      Great advice as always and thanks for commenting.
      Thanks,
      Brendan

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    Sorry Brendan, but I so disagree with this strategy. While at Montana State, we had several different pages and cross promoted content on them when appropriate. We found that developing engagement in one part led to interest in the whole. Athletics alone needs a separate group of pages. To run all your news, info, etc. through one page is not recognizing the fact the colleges (departments) have differing audiences that want differing information. I am not sure that prospective students (kids) are interested in the same information that donors are. In the long run, I think your content will get ignored by many people because it becomes too generic to appeal to all audiences. Create niche interest and keep directing them to the mothership (website).I’ve found that most universities object to multiple pages because the thought of branding, managing, messaging and maintaining looks burdensome. If done right, it’s much more effective than one page where people have to wade through posts that don’t interest them.

    • http://www.schneiderb.com Brendan Schneider

      Chris,
      Please don’t apologize…thank you for joining the conversation!
      I don’t necessarily disagree with you at the university level but my advice was geared more toward the secondary and elementary level where resources are very limited. 

      My point is that creating and maintaining multiple pages takes time and expertise that most schools do not have in-house.

      My other thought is that most secondary and elementary schools don’t have dedicated people devoted to marketing and “creating content” for Facebook so as a result the single Facebook Fan Page won’t become too “noisy” with information.

      Would love to hear your thought?

      Thanks again for commenting and for sharing your opinion!
      -Brendan

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    Sorry Brendan, but I so disagree with this strategy. While at Montana State, we had several different pages and cross promoted content on them when appropriate. We found that developing engagement in one part led to interest in the whole. Athletics alone needs a separate group of pages. To run all your news, info, etc. through one page is not recognizing the fact the colleges (departments) have differing audiences that want differing information. I am not sure that prospective students (kids) are interested in the same information that donors are. In the long run, I think your content will get ignored by many people because it becomes too generic to appeal to all audiences. Create niche interest and keep directing them to the mothership (website).I’ve found that most universities object to multiple pages because the thought of branding, managing, messaging and maintaining looks burdensome. If done right, it’s much more effective than one page where people have to wade through posts that don’t interest them.

  • RyanCritchett

    Interesting post, Brendan. Ya know, these are the things a lot of people don’t think about, but are extremely important and definitely relevant in the social media world. Good way of clearly stating your points. I don’t know much about schools, and how they’re using social media, but this clears a couple key things up for me.

  • schneiderb

    @RyanCritchett Thanks for comment and for reading! I really appreciate it!

  • davehultin

    I agree that schools should have ONE Facebook page.

    I agree with Chris that the message COULD become noisy if everyone starts talking at once.

    And I think a solution MIGHT be to give each entity it’s own link/tab on the one page. I’m just starting a big push for our school’s Facebook page, so I’m very interested in any feedback on this topic.

    • schneiderb

      @davehultin Thanks for taking the time to comment and I really like your suggestion…thanks for the sharing. Good luck with your big push and let me know if I can be of help.

  • RonnieGonzalez

    Great post. Totally agree with having one main Facebook page.  Check out our school district Facebook Fan page here.  http://www.facebook.com/navasotaschools
     

    • http://www.schneiderb.com/ schneiderb

       @RonnieGonzalez Thanks Ronnie and thanks for taking the time to comment. I like your district’s Facebook — keep up the great work!

  • Lisa Douthit

    Found your article trying to research options for creating the appropriate social media pages for our school.  You are making me rethink, multiple pages on Facebook.  Is it even possible to have three pages linked together on FB?  That is what i was looking for and how to do it properly.  We have one school, two campuses (Grade & High school).  My original thought was one main school page linked to the GS & the HS.  Pages that already exist are a grade school, alumni page and HS sports page. The GS page was recently started, but the other two have been around a while.  Would love to hear from others on how they have configured a page or pages.  From what I have read thus far, you can merge these pages to another account, but I would want it to also have a visual flow of >Main page>choose from a selection of other pages. Can’t seem to find that this is possible visually.

    • http://www.schneiderb.com/ schneiderb

       @Lisa Douthit Hi Lisa! Thanks for reading and thanks for taking the time to comment.
       
      I’m not sure what you are interested in doing is even possible with Facebook. I would recommend one page and potential use a Tab for each division which could list specific info about each division on those Tabs. Hope that makes sense. :-)
       
      If you have further questions please don’t hesitate to email me at brendan [at] schneiderb.com.
       
      Thanks and good luck,
      Brendan