Is Facebook right for your project or center?
With over 845 million monthly active users,
is the biggest and most popular social media network. It has the
broadest reach and most mainstream audience. In North America,
over 50% of the population already has a Facebook account, so much
of your audience will be subscribed already.
Facebook might be an especially good choice if you want to connect
with a student audience or maintain ties with other
and centers. (Colleges and universities have different policies
about online information-sharing between employees and students,
so be sure to contact the head of your department for guidelines.)
The easiest way to connect is with a fan page,
which is free
and quick to set up.
Once you have a page, how should you use it? What should you post?
The lists below review some of your options.
Pros of Facebook:
- Large audience
- Easy to set up and low-maintenance afterward
- Analytics (Facebook Insights) are built into the page
- Easily post status updates, links, photos, videos, and documents
Cons of Facebook:
Not ideal for short-term projects — building a fan group
can take some time
What to plan for:
- Post 1-3 times per day
- Respond to comments, interact with other Facebook users
Create ways for your users to interact with your page (ask
questions, use the polls feature, etc.)
Connect your website to your Facebook page by including a
"Find us on Facebook" link
What to post:
- New resources that your project or center creates
- Links to news stories about your project/center
- Links to news stories related to your project/center's mission (for example, if you develop nanotechnology curriculum, link to stories about new uses for nanotechnologies)
- Photos or videos of your work in progress (be sure to get permission to use photos of people)
- Polls or trivia to engage your audience
Tips and tools:
- Use HootSuite to manage
your posts and schedule them ahead of time. This will minimize
active time spent maintaining your page.
- Post on other people's pages and walls, and comment on their
posts. The whole point of social media is to be sociable, after
all. The better you foster a friendly, approachable image, the
more others will be inclined to come and check out your page.
(That said, simply posting to advertise your page is frowned upon.
Make sure what you say contributes something relevant to the
freely available tools that could help you expand your
audience or personalize your page.
Have questions? Contact ATE Central at
We're happy to talk through your options and relate our own
experiences with Facebook and Twitter.