Facebook User Guide
Facebook is the world’s most popular social network with over 2.6 billion monthly active users worldwide. Educators and campus communicators around the world use Facebook Groups and Company Pages to share information and create conversations. Meanwhile, organizations interested in spreading their message are increasingly using Facebook’s powerful advertising platform to effectively reach wider audiences.
Note: This guide assumes a basic proficiency with Facebook and focuses on managing Facebook comapny pages, not personal pages. If you need help setting up a Facebook profile or Company Page, contact us.
Facebook’s parent company Meta also operates Instagram and WhatsApp on a single shared platform. While Facebook may not be your social media network of choice, it is likely that you will still have to register through Meta for access to any of these three platforms, and likely more in the future.
Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform—if you are including social media as part of your communications plan, it is very likely you will want to include Facebook. Facebook allows you to post a variety of media, such as photos, videos, live broadcasts, and more. It also has a robust ad targeting system that can deliver paid messaging through Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, allowing you to reach a desired audience more effectively.
This guide will help you set up a Facebook presence and help you determine how to maintain that presence.
Page Information: The minimum requirement for setting up a Facebook page.
Complete your page’s “Page Info” section to provide essential information your followers need to know – this is basic, up-to-date, accurate information so your users can reach you. This includes the following:
Location of your department/organization on campus.
Contact information (phone, email, etc).
If applicable, hours of operation (e.g. if you provide in-person services).
A short description of what your Org does and what function your Facebook page serves.
A clear, recognizable “profile” picture (typically a logo, minimum 360x360 pixels.)
A clear “Cover Photo” (the image along the top of your Facebook page) that visually represents the personality or function of your org (minimum 828x425 pixels).
Take a look at the main The University of Chicago Facebook page – try and model the information provided here.
An automated response message for users that direct message you on your company page.
Best Practices – Posting to Facebook and Maintaining Your Page
To have an effective Facebook presence, you must find the optimal frequency and content of your messages. Facebook’s algorithm analyzes each post to determine how many people should see it. The algorithm weights a number of factors including; how frequently an account posts, if a post is from a “friend” or from an organization, and crucially, how other Facebook users are engaging with the posts.
In general, Facebook’s algorithm puts more emphasis on messages from a user’s friends than from organizations, which means an organizational message has to “work harder” to reach an audience. The goal for a successful Facebook page is to find the “sweet spot” in terms of how often you post, and what you post about to maximize your user engagement, which leads to increased user reach.
Post Quality and Frequency
The best way to develop a strong Facebook page is to share quality messages. Quality, in terms of Facebook’s algorithm, is judged by “relevancy,” which is essentially the number of people that react (“engage”) with your posts. Prioritizing content that is informative and relevant to your target audience will increase your chance of success.
While Facebook’s algorithm has been known to shift to prioritze certain types of posts on the platform, it ultimately is always optimizing based on how engaged your audience is with your post. Sharing posts that get engagements (“Likes,” “Comments,” “Shares,” etc.) assures your messages are seen by an increasingly larger audience.
Whenever possible, try to include high-quality visuals with your posts. On Facebook, photos and videos have more “stopping power” than text-only posts. Each audience is different, so try to share different kinds of messages—photos, videos, links—to see what type of post and what kinds of topics are interesting to your followers.
Facebook gives priority to posts that get more engagements and comments, but also actively suppresses posts that “bait” users to take an action—e.g. messages that say “Like this post if…” or “Comment with…”. Avoid explicitly asking users to engage, and find more organic ways to convince followers to take an action.
Facebook is very sensitive to pages that post too much, which is especially true for “brand” posts. If this is the case, Facebook’s algorithm will show your posts to fewer people. Post too infrequently, however, and your organization will have difficulty maintaining and growing your following.
Your post frequency will depend on how much content your unit produces. If your posts are getting little to no response, consider being more thoughtful about how often you post and when you are posting.
Be prompt when it comes to responding to questions and comments. You don’t necessarily need to answer every comment on every post, but be sure to monitor and respond when applicable. This frequency will also vary greatly depending on your unit’s activity on Facebook.
Facebook allows posts from friends and family to be seen more frequently than “brand” posts – so we recommend having a small ad budget to help your content reach its desired audience. Facebook ad budgets do not have to be large—putting one dollar on each post can make a real difference.
Pages vs Groups — Two Ways to Connect to Your Facebook Audience
Groups function well as a tool that works alongside, but not in place of, an official Company Page. Groups are another type of Facebook page that allow communities to share messages amongst each other in both public and private forums. Groups can be a great tool to listen and interact with your followers, as opposed to sharing more institutional one-way messages to your audience on an official Company Page. As an individual, you can join Groups on Facebook, and as an organization you can establish and moderate official company Groups.
Depending on your long-term goals, you may want to consider leveraging Facebook Groups in conjunction with your Facebook page. Here are some key differences between Pages and Groups:
Pages are used to represent an entity – such as The University of Chicago.
Page Posts are what you see most often in your Facebook feed, and the most common way brands use Facebook.
Pages are essentially profiles for organizations, where you postas your organization, as opposed to posting as an individual affiliated with your organization.
Pages allow you to post in essentially the same way that regular users do – you can broadcast news, videos, photos and text messages publicly to followers that have the potential to be seen by larger audiences.
Note: You can put money behind your page messages to allow them to reach a wider audience of your followers as well as people outside of your page’s community.
Groups are similar to online message boards or forums.
Groups are a section on Facebook where users post as individuals about a subject. “Pages” can also join Groups as members (e.g. UChicago Alumni could join an “Alumni in NYC” Group)—but be careful about joining groups as some may not like official pages joining them.
As a Facebook Page administrator, you are allowed to feature independent or “official” Facebook Groups on your page.
Although any member of a Group can post messages, organizations and individual moderators within both public and private Facebook groups can control who is permitted to join.
In most cases, Groups are better suited for conversations within smaller communities and internal communications, and can even lead to a more personalized connection with your audience. However, be advised that messages shared within private groups may not stay private if a user chooses to share it more broadly elsewhere on social media. It is also worth noting that by starting an official Facebook Group you also take on the task of moderating that group, which can prove to be difficult.
Facebook’s Messenger function allows users to directly and privately communicate to individuals and companies. It is up to your organization to decide if this feature is valuable. You can disable it or easily add automated messages if your department does not have the time to manage one-to-one conversations online.
Facebook will assign a rating for how quickly you respond to messages, so be sure to enable notifications–or if your message volume is high enough, simply check frequently. Responding to legitimate inquiries in a timely manner increases your rapport with followers.
Facebook Messenger can also aggregate messages from your page’s Instagram account, but it is your personal preference whether or not you respond to messaging from outside their respective app.
Advertising on Facebook
If you are putting in an effort to post on Facebook more than once a week, a modest advertising budget will make sure your efforts are being seen. Paid advertising on Facebook (sometimes referred to as “boosting”) allows your content to reach a wider audience than it would “organically” (without paid promotion).
Facebook advertising options change frequently, visit Facebook's advertising page to read more about how they can support your efforts. Facebook assists users in creating ads by helping determine goals and suggesting ad types to reach those goals. Facebook offers many tools to help ensure that the right people see intended messages, but it also provides a lot of options.
To prevent the dissemination of inaccurate information, Facebook now monitors paid posts more closely and disallows content it considers “sensitive,” “political” or an “issue of national importance” unless the Facebook user and the Facebook Page is verified to post sensitive content. Facebook moderators interpret what is “sensitive” very broadly, so words like “vote,” “racial” or “politics” will likely be flagged even if the post’s contents are not political in nature. Verify yourself and your page visit.
To promote transparency, Facebook has created an Ad Library — a publicly, searchable database of all Page accounts' paid Facebook activity. Bear in mind that should you use Facebook advertising, the ads you create and how much you spend will be publicly viewable.
To help you understand the health of your organization’s Business Page, Facebook provides an “Insights” tab that details your page performance. A large amount of data can be exported into a .CSV file or Excel document within Facebook Insights, but these exports provide a lot of detail.
Help and Feedback
Other helpful tips can be found in Facebook’s Help Center.
Contact us if you have any questions about using Facebook, or if you have feedback on this page.