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Facebook Policies - Do you allow departments create their own Facebook pages?

So USC Upstate has had a Facebook page for about a year now and we're steadily picking up fans. Now that I've started to publicize our Facebook page more and more,, we've had other departments and colleges inside the university asking if they can create a Facebook page for themselves as well.
I don't think it's too big a deal to allow them to, but I'm afraid that if we have too many of these pages, it will detract from the main university Facebook page or water down our brand.

How would your school handle this situation? Do you have any policies?

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We've got no policies behind this. I would say let them. Will it detract from the main page? Maybe. But long term are you doing anything for those users that if some join satellite groups, they're going to miss out? And what if a student made a page instead of a department? You almost can't control that, nor should you. As from a "branding" perspective, hopefully your university isn't relying on a connection between Facebook and the university for its livelihood. And in the long run, whether they are a fan of your core page, or a departmental page, they are still effectively promoting your "brand."

What it comes down to, and the 2013 issue sort of emphasized this, was that there are basically two approaches to things like Facebook. 1 - Control everything. Make everyone an official group, and always keep up with the issues at hand and plan on catering to everyone. This is unrealistic, for the most part, and not to mention a ton of work. 2 - Control virtually nothing. Make your college page, and just trust others to do things right. It's a third party platform that's open to everyone, so the idea of thinking you can come up with a policy to override everyone isn't really possible.
We've had this happen as well. I don't see how it'd be a threat to your main page, especially if you're working together. The main pieces of advice I'd give are these:

1- Favorite the departmental pages under your umbrella university page, and ask them to do the same.
2- If you are in a marketing role, try to work with them on the image they use as their graphic. Especially if it is bad. We have that issue now.
3- See if they will let you be an admin of their page to give you access to their stats. You might have to promise to be a silent partner. :)

Those are my tips. In some university systems people identify more with their department/organization than the school as a whole.

Now I'm going to go follow my own advice. :)
On the contrary, I think it would be beneficial to allow departments to create their own facebook. And unavoidable anyway.

In any case, I'm not sure how effective this whole branding business is. I attended three different universities and never paid the slightest attention to anything their marketing people put out. I was interested in the reputation of the school as an undergraduate, of the department as a graduate student, and of the individual professor as a PhD student.

A university is a community. Just as a city can have different neighborhoods with different reputations, so to with a university. Social networking provides a chance for each neighborhood to put its own best foot forward (or in its mouth!). I realize this drives marketing types nuts, but they're just going to have to get used to it. They have lost control of the "message" -- if, indeed, they ever controlled it.
Skip -

That's great way to sum up the difference between undergrad, grad and PhD students. Important for us with large populations of graduate and professional students.
It's really a personal thing. I mean, really, how much control are you going to have if a graduate/teacher/current student forms a page for their favorite club, class or whatever?

We did this at our institution, and before we could even gauge the Insights from the new FB page, there were already three other pages created OUTSIDE the college.

It's tough! If you have the time (or a staff member who can monitor it), you can do it. But, it's like trying to control a fire on a gusty day ... eventually, the fire will spread.

I think it's OK to have the different pages, and if you can have them connected to your main page, then you are offering everyone that much more than just your marketing spiel. It will work for ya!
Our school has no policies on this. We are just starting the discussion. In the meantime, there are several departments with their own pages or groups. I think it's a good thing - it allows more interaction and conversation between students/prospectives and the specific folks who know their specific areas. The central college site can't and won't keep up with everything that's going on in all the different areas. There is of course the question of branding and control - but in my opinion decentralizing on FB allows for more good than harm.
The name of the game in social media is authenticity. If we start trying to control who does what in arenas like Facebook we will quickly get pushed out by the "real" users. I think you'll actually be pleasantly surprised by how other positive presences on FB will help your main site and your brand overall.
At DePaul University, we don't have a policy, but we do have a social media working group that pulls together many of the social media participants across the U, which helps us coordinate. Our main Facebook page is structured as a hub, designed to point people at the niche Facebook pages that interest them. From that point of view, we don't have a problem with individual programs or departments creating pages. Eventually, however, there will be too many for the hub to serve as good navigation.
We have loads of Facebook pages and groups, some created organically from students, others by university staff. Facebook is a prime example of the "if you build it, they will come" philosophy. I set one up for current students but it is widely used by future students to get "real" information about the university as opposed to what is perceived as marketing spin on our webpage. I had our legal office cross check it to ensure we weren't using it as some kind of market research/sales and marketing tool which contravenes Facebook terms and conditions. There's a disclaimer in the group description.

Students don't decide to join one group over another....they join all of them! so I don't think it will water down your main group/page. And it gives a more realistic sense of what the students feel proud to be affiliated with - it does, after all, appear in their personal profile.

We have a mixture of staff and students as our admins/officers and we've given the staff tongue in cheek job titles so that the group doesn't look too "official".

I agree with Courtney...
"If we start trying to control who does what in arenas like Facebook we will quickly get pushed out by the "real" users."
We (a small school in a big city) just got into the Facebook arena after the eduweb conference and we are still reaching out as it is to students and alumni. It hasn't come to a departmental level yet, but I am interested in seeing how others are approaching it.
I think you have an opportunity to harness the energy and resources of other departments and colleges to show a more complete picture of your university.

Creating enough content that is fresh and interesting to a very broad audience (which is what a general school page will attract) is a challenging task. Allowing these other departments and colleges to create sub-communities under your umbrella may be a great way to approach Facebook. I would probably encourage you to link to these pages from your own main Facebook page. Encourage engagement with your school at multiple levels. Being a fan of the USC Upstate page does not preclude someone from being a fan of the Biology Department. In fact, you are giving them more opportunities to identify with your school, more ways to get relevant information that is important to them, and mroe ways to build a stronger USC Upstate network.
Hi Mark, I see this post is quite old but you seem to be the FB expert here! How do I link 'sub' pages (i.e. departmental pages) to the a 'main' University page?



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