What’s Your Reach: A Social Media Series – Part 2 // Facebook

  • 96% of college students use Facebook on a daily basis.
  • 100% of colleges use Facebook to recruit perspective students, connect with students, and raise money.
  • Students who actively use Facebook are 2x more likely to get involved with campus activities.

So how do you extend your reach over Facebook? How should your ministry/organization have a presence on Facebook? These are some things I would like to discuss through this post.

Let’s talk presence – there are four types:

These 4 types of accounts are what many people can easily be confused about. Let’s break them down and then pick the best.

Ministry/personal profile

Basically, you login into Facebook as a person. You can friend request people, post status updates, post pictures, upload a timeline photo with your org’s information, etc. You can do anything that you would do with your own personal profile. Here are the pros and cons:


  • “Personal” feel
  • Friend Requests – this way any visitor can see your status updates
  • Tag friends in pictures
  • Directly message people


  • Engagement is limited to the people your account is friends with
  • Status updates will only be populated to people who the account is friends with
  • Personal profiles are not SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly. This means that if someone searches for you on google, they won’t find your Facebook profile
  • Visitors will only see your status updates if they accept your friend request
  • People have to friend request you in order to follow your updates
  • Friends are capped at 5,000 people (I would love to have that many for USF BCM! ha!)

Fan Page

Fan pages are a great way to showcase a brand or organization. You can post pictures, highlight events, or use tabs to add other apps that your students might like. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros – Check out this link for a more extensive list

  • SEO Friendly – Google and other search engines index Facebook pages
  • Anyone can tag your “brand/org”
  • Facebook Insights!!!
  • Unlimited Friend/Fan count
  • Looks Professional

Cons – Check out this link for a more extensive list

  • 96% of fans don’t go back to a brand’s facebook page after initial engagement – We will talk about this in the next post: Facebook’s EdgeRank
  • Because of the statement above there is very limited user engagement
  • Can get spammed very easily – Anyone can just click and become a fan. Then, post anything they want.
  • “Updates” page don’t trigger a “red” notification.
    red notifications
  • Unable to invite members to an event
  • Unable to message event guests

Group Page

Group pages are a great way to create user engagement. Anyone who is part of the group can request to join and feel a part of your organization/brand. Here are the pros and cons:


  • When someone posts an update everyone in the group gets a notification
  • Pictures can be tagged to anyone in the group as well as their friends list
  • Can be private to only your community – here is a great site to help you setup a group
  • Anyone can add their friends to the group without a request, it just happens!!
  • Students can post ideas, questions, polls, etc without being an admin – this creates a high user engagement
  • When you create an event you can invite the whole group (plus the invite all Chrome extension helps!)


  • When someone posts an update EVERYONE in the group gets a notification – can become overwhelming where a user doesn’t go back
  • A student has to request access to the group
  • Students can add their friends to the group WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION – can become a turn off


Facebook Ads are the #1 form of advertising today for brands/orgs because it reaches the most people with the smallest amount of money. Plus, if done correctly, creates an evangelist for your organization/ministry. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros – Check out this link for a more extensive list

  • Can reach thousands of people with a very small amount of money – amazing post on how to use Facebook Ads
  • You can have a ton of people see your ad (repetition creates remembrance) or have people click your ad (more expensive but creates more engagement)
  • You can target a specific set of people (college students, engineering majors, ages 17-25, etc.)
  • Much more flexibility than Google AdWords


  • An ad is still an ad – people easily can ignore them
  • Low conversation rate due to expectations from users

So which one should you use for your ministry?

This is a trick question because my suggestion is to not use anyone but use 3. We at the USF BCM use Facebook Advertising (super low cost!) at the beginning of each semester, a Fan page to link Ads to as well as establish a “brand” where we can highlight different albums. Finally, we also have a group so that our community has a place to communicate. We post job offers, deals, giveaways and create events where every member sees the information. The only reason we don’t have a profile is because it is against Facebook’s EULA (End User License Agreement). So if they found an organization created a profile, we would be shut down.

What do you use? What are some ways you have been able to engage your students better on facebook?

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