Networks of Engagement: Facebook Pages

Tower Hamlets Summer University use Facebook pages to promote future activities and celebrate activities that have taken place.

Tower Hamlets Summer University use Facebook pages to promote future activities and celebrate activities that have taken place.

Facebook pages offer an opportunity to promote positive activities to young people, and have information spread through online network.

If you’ve not taken a look at the ‘Pages’ feature in Facebook for a while – then it’s time to look again and explore it’s potential as a tool for promoting positive activities. Pages have emerged as the victor in the ‘Groups’ vs. ‘Pages’ debate as the best way for organisations to have an identity within Facebook and to reach out to young people.

Facebook pages are similar to individual’s profiles – but instead of becoming ‘Friends’ with a Page (a reciprocal relationship), Facebook users can become a ‘Fan’. As the administrator of a page, you can post news, videos, photos and other content – just as you would on a personal profile – and it will appear in the News Feeds of your ‘Fans’. Just like profiles, you can add applications and extra features to Pages – and making use of the notes feature, you can even get your Page to automatically pull in an RSS feed of news from outside Facebook – offering an easy option for when you are getting started and want to keep your page up-to-date.

Getting Started

You can set up a Facebook Page to promote positive activities from your youth centre, project or local area in less than 30 minutes (but you need to make sure you’ll have time each week to promote and develop it, and keep it updated.)

Setting up a Facebook Page

To create a page you will first need to have an account on Facebook. Consider setting up a work profile. Explain clearly on that profile who you are and who you work for – as this pro-file will be displayed as the creator of your page.

You will find the links to create a page in the bar along the bottom of the screen when you are logged into Facebook.

Look for the ‘Pages’ link and then the ‘Create Page’ button:

Work through the prompts on screen to set up your page. You now need to encourage young people to become a fan of your page.

Once your page is set-up you can configure it by looking for the ‘Edit Page’ link when you are viewing it.

Make sure you add images and clear descriptions to your page to make it engaging.

Explore how you can use your page to encourage dialogue by posting content and looking at the different ways in which people can comment on it. Think about how you will keep track of comments and feedback.

The ‘Wall Settings’ feature allows you to determine the level of interactivity on your page.

Using the ‘More Applications’ option at the bottom of your page settings interface allows you to add other features to your page from Facebooks library of third-party applications.

You can use the ‘Get a Fan Box for your Website’ option to embed the latest updates from your Facebook page, and a list of your fans, into your main website.

Using the ‘Send Update to Fans’ option you can message all the young people who have become a fan of your page. You can also target these updates by age, gender or location. Updates to fans appear as notifications rather than in their Facebook inboxes.

Tip: When you are viewing your own page you can select ‘View All’ next to the list of your page fans. You can then promote fans to be page owners (useful for colleagues) or you can remove fans if for any reason there are people you do not wish to be displayed as your fans or to recieve your updates send out to fans.

Case Study: Buying Bradford Connexions

Using targeted Facebook adverts I got around 20 new fans of the ‘Buying Bradford Connexions’ consultation project within 48 hours. Over 80 people clicked on adverts to view the Facebook Fan page, but not all became fans. Overall – the cost of advertising turns out to have been around £1 per new ‘fan’ – but the real test will be to see what value and interaction having a new channel to share updates and invite input from a group of local young people brings.

Safe & Sound

As with all work with young people, it’s important to make sure that your activities support young people to be safe and free from harm. Here are a few things to think about as you plan your Facebook page:

  • Allowing young people to comment on your Facebook page, and to contribute photos and videos, can increase young people’s engagement with the information you want to communicate. Make sure you have planned time to check and, if necessary, to moderate any content submitted by young people. Think about how you will encourage young people to get the consent of all the people in photos and videos that they might post on your page, and how you will respond if someone asks for photos or videos to be removed.
  • If young people interact with news items or posts on your page, Facebook may show this interaction, and the original posts, to their Facebook friends. This can be great for spreading news about activities. However, it can also lead to young people unintentionally revealing information about their interests and even where they will be at particular times – and to this information being available to their wider network of friends on Facebook. Think about whether the information you put on your page encourages or discourages this & how you can limit this sort of ‘leak’ of personal information.
  • It is right for young people (and adult too) to double-check details of the activities that they discover online Think about periodically sending out an update with guidance on how to double-check the details of an activity and to encourage this as a positive behaviour.

You can find more guidance on safety in using Social Network Sites in the ‘Youth Engagement and Social Media‘ guide.

How will you use Facebook Pages?

Are you already using Facebook pages to promote positive activities? Have you got ideas for ways you could use Facebook pages in future?

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