Social media creates opportunities for you to network on social media, but it is important that you control (as much as technology allows) how people perceive you and the kind of access they can have with you. While some teachers and college instructors are willing to connect with colleagues and even students using their personal social media accounts, many others (myself included) are not so willing. In these cases it can be helpful to have a Facebook Professor Page that becomes your professional presence on the social media platform.
Facebook created fan pages to allow businesses, teachers, authors, recording artists, non-profit organizations, politicians, and more to have a landing page on the platform where they could promote their products or services. As a professor, you can create a fan page that acts as like your personal Facebook account in some ways but is very different in others.
What you can do with a Facebook fan page:
- post status updates
- connect with other Facebook fan pages
- get as many followers as you want
- advertise your product, service, upcoming webinar, blog post, online course, book you wrote, and more!
- have a landing page on Facebook where you can send students, recruiters, and fans of your content
What you cannot do with a Facebook fan page:
- gain much traction with posts that you do not pay to promote
- send friend requests to connect with Facebook personal accounts (although Facebook users on their personal accounts can obviously follow your page)
- join groups
Why a Facebook fan Page?
I know what you’re thinking: Why not just set up a second personal Facebook account? You can, but it’s against Facebook’s terms of service and can get your accounts banned. Not good! In addition, if you ever want to pay to promote your posts, you would not be able to do this with a personal account.
Paying to promote posts is one of the best things about Facebook Fan pages. While Facebook only shares your fan page status updates with about 5% of your followers without you paying for it, you can spend a small amount of money and send your posts to exactly the type of people you want to get in front of. Because Facebook knows so much about us (which is bad for privacy but great for advertising), you can choose to promote a post to people in a certain language, with a particular educational background, of a particular age range, who like one type of car, who have a family, and like to vacation in Las Vegas. Yes, you can get that specific.
Therefore, if your research article gets published and you want to share it with university administrators living in Texas who work at 4-year institutions, you can target that demographic with your promotion. In addition, based on your targeting, you can get in front of thousands of people for $5, and you can spread that ad spend out over 5 days (or longer), if you prefer.
Create your Facebook fan page by clicking on “Create Page” in the left column of the main Facebook newsfeed. Choose the type of fan page that most closely resembles what you will use it for, and consider the name of your page carefully. Facebook is very stingy about letting you change the name of your fan page, so consider just using your name. You can use your title if you like, or just leave it as your name only.
You will then have the option to add administrators or moderators to your page, determine what countries can have access to post on your page, and if there are any words that you do not want written on your page. You will write your “about” section, which should tell about who you are, list your website URL if you have one, and be written in the first person. You also have access to Apps on the left side of your page, where you can link to your blog, an email sign up, your YouTube account, and more.
Finally, pre-populate your fan page with content from the web that is interesting to you and relates to your niche or industry. Give people something to read when they land on your page. Update once a week, if not more, by sharing what you are up to, articles you found of interest, or content/services you are promoting. Be authentic and approachable and people will want to follow you and learn more!