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How to Access Potential Students through Online Social Networking Websites like Facebook

 

Facebook is the dominant social networking website for college students across America.  According to TechCrunch, "about 85% of students in supported colleges have a profile up on Facebook. [Of those who are signed up,] 60% log in daily. About 85% log in at least once a week, and 93% log in at least once a month." 

 

NASPAA created a Facebook page called “Go Public Service: MPA/MPP Degrees”  at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Washington-DC/Go-Public-Service-MPAMPP-Degrees/80891490654.  The member population of the  group has already exceeded 6,000 students and MPA/MPP alumni.  To coordinate with this effort, several NASPAA member schools have created their own Facebook groups, providing current and prospective students a convenient way to connect and develop as a community.  Creating a Facebook group for your program benefits your school because it shows students your commitment to finding out more about their world as you explore new methods with which to communicate.  Additionally, a Facebook group gives your students/program an online social network where people can easily communicate, ask questions, post items for discussion, and fully engage as a community.


Action Items

  • Create a Facebook group for your school by following these instructions (if you have not already joined Facebook, you will need to do that first):

 

How to join Facebook

1.        Visit www.facebook.com.
2.    On the home page, fill in the gray box titled “Sign up for Facebook.”
3.       Once registered, reply to the confirmation email that Facebook will send to your email account.

 

Note:  It is not necessary to fill in any of the information on your personal page to create an ad or group.

 

 

How to Create a Facebook Group

1.       Once registered as a Facebook member, you should be logged into Facebook and its homepage.  From here, click on the “Groups” tab on the left side
2.    To create your own group click on the “create a new group” tab in the upper right hand corner.
3.  You are now in the “create a group” page.  In this section you will be asked to include information about your group including: your group name, the networks in which you want your group to appear (select “global”), the type of group (“Students” and “Academic”) and the description of your group.  The other section on this page is optional. Click on “Create Group” when you’re finished.
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4.  Next, you may add visual elements and improve the overall look of the group page.  You should include photos, your school’s logo, as well as links to your program and other informational sites like www.naspaa.org. Under the “Options” category, Facebook will automatically select all the options. This will enable users to add photos. You may not want to allow all members of your group to upload pictures so you can better control what is posted on your school’s Facebook page.  To undo this option, make sure that you de-select “enable photos”. Lastly, make sure your group is “Open”, enabling any user to join.


 


1.      After you press the “Save Changes” button, your Facebook page will appear and you can begin inviting members.  Send an email to your students with the link to the Facebook group to get student members and group involvement.
2.      Note:  To further spread the word about your school’s Facebook group, create a hyperlink from your school’s website to the Facebook group.  Copy the URL of the group page and paste it into your school’s website.  When people click the link, they will go directly to Facebook.  You can copy the Facebook logo and link from it or just type ‘[Insert School’s Name Here] MPA/MPP Facebook Page’ to direct students and others to the group site.
3.      If you're stumped on what your Facebook group should look like, visit these other schools' sites to get an idea.

George Washington University 
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5055554394


West Virginia University
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18021660703


Rutgers University
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2260772770


4.  Note:  You should check the group weekly to make sure all is okay, and answer any questions that may have been asked.  You may designate a staff person or even a student to do this monitoring work.  It may be beneficial for you to share new items, update events, and post thoughts or ideas on your school’s Facebook group page. It is simple, just click the ‘share’ or ‘post’ buttons.  Remember, if you would like to make changes, you may edit your group at any time.

 

Another social network with which your school may encourage student participation is called “Linked In.” This network is targeted at working professionals and is free to join and use; many MPA/MPP students and alumni are currently using it. We suggest you send www.linkedin.com to your students, enabling them to enhance their career networking skills by creating a “Linked In” profile.

 


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