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How to get on with Facebook

June 2013

There are three different ways that you can interact on Facebook, by using a personal account (as an individual), by joining a group or by ‘liking’ a page.

Information for Big Local areas wanting to use Facebook

  • To interact with anything on Facebook (for example comment on or ‘like’ something), you must first have a personal Facebook account. (Some information can be seen by people who are not on Facebook, depending on privacy settings. For example, it is possible for people not on Facebook to see a Facebook page if they have the link.)
  • Facebook is good to broadcast and share information such as details of events and meetings. Twitter is more conversational.
  • Decisions on what content to upload should be based on the amount of time you/ administrators can put in. If it’s just a few hours a week, then keep the content simple.
  • It’s important that you only post content if you also have time to follow-up on any comments. It might mean writing fewer posts but responding to more comments.
  • Photographs reach the most people because Facebook categorises photos as more interesting than text on its own. So if you want to promote a Big Local event or meeting then post a photo with the text.
  • Ask people to 'share' your posts, which displays your posts on their accounts.
  • You can only use the ‘chat’ function on Facebook via your own personal account. A page cannot start ‘chats’ with other people on Facebook but people using a personal account can start a ‘chat’ with a page.

Facebook pages

A page can be searched for and viewed by all Facebook users making it a great way to get seen. A page is for public facing communication and people don’t need to be invited. If people want to see regular updates they can ‘like’ your page.

If you want people to see what your Big Local area is doing, a page is the best option for you. 

  • To create and be an administrator for a Facebook page you first need to sign up to Facebook by creating a personal account.
  • A page allows you to spread the message about what you’re doing, post videos and photos.
  • A page allows two way public communications between the administrators of the page and people who ‘like’ the page.
  • Any users (even if they don’t ‘like’ the page) can write on the page wall, unless this function is turned off by the administrator.
  • If somebody ‘likes’ your page, the posts on your page will appear in their news feed.
  • Your page can be open (meaning anyone can comment on the page wall without it needing to be approved by an administrator), partially open (content will need to be approved by an administrator before it is seen by others – the person who made the comment will not be aware of this), or closed (people will not be able to comment/add content at all).
  • A Facebook page is about spreading your message publicly. For this reason Facebook does not allow administrators to start private conversations by sending private messages to people. However, people are able to send private messages to a page and in this case an administrator can then respond.
  • Your page cannot interact the in the same way as an individual person can on Facebook. For example pages can ‘like’ other pages but cannot join Facebook groups.
  • If you’re an administrator of a page, you will receive notifications of activity. For example, when someone posts a comment on your page wall.
  • Plan some time to be able to respond to comments.
  • Share the work so that more than one person is the administrator.
  • You can add a ‘Like us on Facebook’ button to your website or at the bottom of your emails.
  • People who ‘like’ your page can share the information/photos/films you post by clicking ‘share’ so your message spreads. So don’t post anything you aren’t happy to share more widely.
  • Facebook have got a system for administrators on pages. You can give people roles such as manager, content creator, moderator, advertiser etc. but these are optional and you can keep it simple by just using administrator for everyone who is helping manage the page.
  • Facebook Insights allow you to monitor who is viewing or responding to the content you put on your page. For example you can find out if information about an event is being shared, or what the most popular items have been. This will help to give you an indication of how useful different content is to people who ‘like’ your page.
  • You can create a URL address (customised web address) to lead people to your page from your promotional flyers, posters, newsletters.
  • There’s an app for that! ‘Facebook pages’ is also an app (application) which can be downloaded onto smart phones so administrators can manage most of the controls whilst out and about.

Facebook groups

A Facebook group is useful for a group of people who want to discuss something in private which is not for public viewing. So if you are interested in having private discussions or sharing documents with a select group of people (for example partnership members) then a group is the best option.

Groups are very different to pages and some Big Local areas have both – a page to share what they do with as many people as possible and a group for internal steering group or partnership discussions or for sharing important documents.

  • A Facebook group is an invite only space and so will only grow if the administrator manually invites people to join to become members.
  • If a member of the group posts something to the group, for example agenda/minutes of a Big Local partnership meeting then each member will get a notification, unless they opt not to.
  • Group members are able to upload documents for other members to see/download.
  • Group members can see status updates of the group in their newsfeed, but your friends and others not in the group cannot see these.
  • A Group is typically closed to non-members but it can be set as ‘open’ however this goes against the idea of it being a group for members.

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