Promote your site with Facebook: 8 key steps

It’s not enough to create a Facebook page for your school news site, post links to your stories and expect your fans to flock to your blog or website. For your Facebook page to help you, research shows you need to:

This comes from The Altimeter Group, and it’s the smartest look I’ve seen at how to use the power of Facebook to promote a brand. And what better brand to promote than your school news site?

The full report is embedded below. Especially relevant are the suggestions about setting expectations — telling people what they can expect to find and do on your page, and how you expect them, as fans, to interact with it. I also like the tips on creating timely content to keep the page fresh, including having a content calendar that helps you see if you’re following the 80/20 rule, where 80% of content is informational or entertaining and just 20% is strictly promotional (e.g. “Click here to read our Homecoming story”).

Best is when you can use your Facebook page to engage your fans. Solicit their comments, then thank them for posting. Get a dialog going. Ask them to share photos or to vote on something. Altimeter’s report reminds you that you’ll need clear community guidelines for this so people know what’s appropriate. And you’ll need someone to monitor posts to enforce those guidelines.

Altimeter Group’s research found these brands use Facebook especially well: Pampers, Macy’s, Kohls and AXE. Next time you’re on FB, check out those pages. Find one thing they’re doing that your school news site could do. Then build your Facebook strategy, starting with setting clear expectations for you and your fans, and incorporate that good idea.

Here’s the full report:

Note: Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group, is on the National Advisory Board at The Poynter Institute, where I work.

Wendy Wallace

I run the High School Journalism Program at The Poynter Institute, a journalism school for students and professionals in St. Petersburg, Fla. I'm a member of the JEA Digital Media committee, which hosts this site.

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