Despite the rapid growth and change that takes place in the social media landscape, Facebook still crushes its competition. With more than three times the daily traffic of Twitter and 10 times the traffic of Instagram, it remains the place where the largest audience goes to socially connect online.
For districts using Facebook to engage with key audiences, 2016 has already delivered new features with great value.
- Verified pages. It now only takes entering a unique code delivered by phone to get that all-important check mark next to your district or school’s account name. This has been available for school districts on Twitter for more than a year, but has only just recently rolled out for all pages on Facebook. In five minutes or less, you can help protect your brand and social media presence against confusing, malicious or other unofficial accounts. Get started here.
- Privately contact commenters directly from their post. If your Facebook pages are anything like ours, there are countless times you’d like to answer a person’s question privately. Facebook has made this easier than ever with a new feature that was unveiled this month. Now when you post about online enrollment and someone posts an individual comment or question — “Why won’t it let me log in?” — you have the option to click message below the comment, right next to the familiar like and reply.
- New ways to share visual elements in your page’s posts. Now when you click Photo/Video to begin creating a page post, you have a couple of new options. You can create a collage of photos that will play advance automatically in slideshow fashion. Or you can choose to include photos and a web page link by creating a photo carousel. (Think multiple photos on a website news story about high school graduation.) Whether you’re creating organic or ad content, visual elements are the single most important key to engaging an audience. These new tools offer great potential to up your game.
And, although it isn’t rolled out quite yet, Facebook has announced that it will extend the live video streaming feature now available to public figures to all pages. We still don’t know the exact timing of this roll-out, but insiders say it is coming soon to any page that has been verified with the little check mark. The ability to live stream naturally raises various questions and concerns, but with some basic risk management in place, it will most certainly be a powerful way to engage our audiences and showcase the great work that takes place in our schools and classrooms, every day of the year.
While it’s unlikely that Facebook will ever again be the hottest social media option, it is a tried and true tool for schools and districts to engage with audiences — and these new features make that tool all the more valuable.