Alumni Marketing Playbook: Six Keys to a Great Alumni Association Facebook Page

by on Mar 14, 2016

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With nearly 1.5 billion users worldwide, Facebook is a critical part of any alumni social media marketing strategy. While every university understands that it must have an alumni presence on Facebook, many fail to optimize their pages to take advantage of the platform’s strengths.

Successfully engaging alumni on Facebook begins with understanding its users. While LinkedIn is the go-to social network for career building, and Twitter is a portal to real-time news and thought leadership, Facebook is where users go to connect with friends and share experiences. It is also considerably more visual and interactive, with a platform purpose-built to showcase photos, videos and personal interactions.

Below are six recommendations for an optimized Facebook presence that will fill alumni with school pride and help engage your global community.

1) Verify the Official Alumni Association Page: Many Facebook users create their own alumni pages to connect peers in a specific industry, location, etc. These pages are great as they further promote the university; however, they can also make it difficult to find the university’s official Facebook alumni association page. Getting your Facebook page verified with a check mark means it will show first in both Facebook and Google searches. The verification process is relatively quick and painless: learn more here.

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University of Michigan Verified Facebook Account

2) Position and Describe the Alumni Association Clearly: Properly positioning your alumni association as a College & University organization and crafting an informative description and mission (with relevant keywords) is important. Completing these details will make your page easier to find in Google searches and more compelling. The About tab’s Short and Long Descriptions provide space to introduce the alumni association. General Information is a good place to discuss the page’s core goals and provide links to other alumni social media pages and websites. Writing 2-3 sentences about the alumni association’s mission, highlighting core values and traditions, communicates a sense of common purpose. The University of Michigan does a great job of getting the most out of its About page.

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University of Michigan About Page

3) Deliver Content that Evokes School Pride and a Sense of Community: When it comes to Facebook Alumni page content, it’s best to focus on events, alumni profiles and achievements in athletics or the arts. Keeping content light, casual and positive will help drive engagement. With regard to events, skewing toward general networking events and fun alumni social gatherings (concerts, sporting events, etc.) will yield the best results. Binghamton University’s alumni ice skating event in NYC’s Bryant Park is a good example.

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Binghamton Ice Skating Post

4) Include a Photo or Video in Every Post: A comprehensive 2012 Hubspot study showed that Facebook posts with photos generate 53% more likes and 104% more comments than plain text posts. With the ubiquity of autoplay video on the Facebook platform, it is now a requirement that all Facebook posts include a visual component.

5) Feature an Engaging Logo and Cover Photo: Aesthetics are important on Facebook. Having a custom alumni association logo and an engaging cover photo gives the page a professional look. Continuously updating the cover photo to reflect the changing seasons, highlight a milestone or promote an upcoming event also makes the page feel more personal and timely.

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NYU Cover Photo and Logo

6) Actively Interact with Alumni on Facebook: Finally, whether it is in the comments section of a post or through direct messaging, a successful alumni page will receive its fair share of questions and commentary. Be prepared to interact with alumni by answering questions and engaging in casual banter when appropriate. While we are on the topic, alumni pages should always be set to accept direct messages. Facebook is no place for reclusive alumni associations!

For more information on Alumni Monitor and our research on alumni outreach and engagement, please contact Dana Peterson at dpeterson@corporateinsight.com or visit us at alumnimonitor.corporateinsight.com.