The best techniques for using Facebook in alumni relations is much more of a debate than a settled consensus.
Some schools have opted to make just one official page.
Others have chosen to create many, including a separate, dedicated page for their alumni.
There are pros and cons to each approach, but creating a separate Facebook page for alumni is a great way for schools to hone their messaging for just at their alumni rather than for the public at large. If you’ve gone down that route, we’ve put together a list of 5 quick tips to supercharge your alumni Facebook page and really get the engagement going. Here they are:
1) Post content relevant to your audience (a.k.a. your alumni!)
The whole point of having a separate alumni Facebook page is targeting your alumni – therefore, the content you post should be different than the content that appears on your school’s official page.
Think about what posts would generate the maximum amount of engagement and good feelings from your constituents towards their alma mater. Just to name a few: pictures of buildings or beautiful scenery on campus (such as “Brown: Then, Now and Forever” from Brown University), a video from a popular faculty member, or updates on new projects at your institution.
You know your community best. As you experiment with different types of content, you’ll realize what your constituents respond to.
2) Update your “About” section
Your “short description”, as Facebook calls it, is a chance to immediately tell viewers what your page is about – and again, the key is keeping things specific to your alumni community. Also, having a good description with relevant keywords will help your page’s Search Engine Optimization within Facebook, because it will serve as a part of the Meta description of your page for Facebook’s search engine (you can read more explanation of Facebook SEO here).
Therefore, even a simple phrase like “The Official Facebook Page of the [school name] Alumni Association” will do.
To go further, you could write a short, personalized sentence about your school’s mission, traditions, mascot, etc. (like Tufts did above). Be sure that your description does not exceed the space in the “About” box, because your text will be cut off and the result will look very odd.
But no matter what, having a description is better than having none at all – which unfortunately, is a problem on many alumni Facebook pages.
3) Include non-text content in (almost) every post
This tip could work for any Facebook page: study after study confirms that posts with graphical content have significantly better engagement that those that do not. In particular, photos make a huge impact, with HubSpot reporting that posts with photos get 53% more likes than the average post (below).
So what does that mean for your alumni page? In short, be sure to include some type of non-text element, usually a photo, in the vast majority of your posts. If anything, the photos will help catch the eyes of your alumni as they scroll through their Feed.
There are exceptions, like fill-in-the-blank posts, but they are few and far between. For the most part, all text is something to avoid.
4) Use your cover photo effectively
Your cover photo is a great chance to share some visually appealing content from your school. Plus, every time you change it, a great post with a photo is automatically published on your page (remember the previous tip?).
The cover photo is a way to easily engage your alumni, and it should be changed semi-frequently to reflect the changing of seasons, a beautiful part of campus, or old yearbook photos, for example – basically, it’s nostalgia central.
For best results, follow Facebook’s guidelines by posting an image that is around 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall.
5) Keep it updated!
We’ve saved the most important for last: above all else, post on your Facebook page frequently. If your alums know that you publish great, relevant content on a regular basis, it will be so much easier to engage them in meaningful conversation.
According to Eduventures, Facebook was the most preferred channel for 25% of alumni for receiving information from their alma mater, and the easiest way to connect with those individuals is to give them frequent updates on your page. Posting too much can also be a problem, but if you dedicate to posting just once a day on your alumni page, you’ll see tons of positive engagement heading your way.
Have any other tips that have worked for your advancement office? Share them in the comments below!
Want to learn more? Watch our Facebook for Advancement webinar.