Facebook Tips & Best Practices

Follow Wesleyan University on Facebook!

Update February 2018: Wondering about Facebook's latest changes to the News Feed and how to keep your Page's posts in your fans' News Feeds? Read more here.

Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

Facebook is the go-to social media platform because it has over 2 billion active monthly users, spanning many countries and demographics. Individual users have Profiles where they can send a "friend request" to people they know and share photos, videos, quotes, links, and more. People you are friends with will appear in your News Feed, an aggregation of all the updates from your friends plus Groups you're part of or Pages you follow. Not everything will appear in your News Feed though, and it won't necessarily be in chronological order either. Due to recent updates to their "Page Rank Algorithm," Facebook will only show you things that they believe are the most interesting to you based on your previous interactions as well as other websites you may have visited.

What's the difference between a Group, Page, and Profile? How do I know which one to choose?
Here's the short answer:

Profile = personal
Page = brand, business, or organization
Group = topic-based community of people (it can be private or public)

When creating a Facebook account for Wesleyan, you should create either a Page or a Group, not a Profile. Creating a profile as a business violates Facebook's Terms of Service and could cause your account to be shut down. If you're looking to create a small community for people to communicate with others around a specific topic or interest, shared identity, or common place, you should create a Facebook Group, especially if you'd like to keep the conversation private. If you're looking for a place to share news publicly (not to just a small group of people), you should create a Page.

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are private or public communities centered around conversations that take place between its members. If you're looking to create a place where people can talk to one another about a common topic, a Facebook Group is the way to go. Conversations can center around a common place (Wesleyan Bay Area Alumni), a shared identity (Wesleyan University LGBTQ Alum or WesAdmits 2021), or a specific topic or interest (Computer Science at Wesleyan). Members must have Facebook Profiles, but do not need to be "friends" with other members of the Group in order to talk with each other within the Group. Members can share updates, files, photos, videos — all the same files you can share on your Profile. You can also create Events and broadcast Facebook Live videos within the Group. All groups have admins (known publicly to the Group) who moderate posts by members.

There are three types of Groups:

  • Open — all posts are public and anyone can join.
  • Closed — Anyone can find the Group through search, but all posts are private to members of the group. Membership must be requested and approved by a Group Admin.
  • Secret — Secret groups cannot be found through search. All posts are private to members of the group, and members must be invited to join by a Group Admin.

Resources: Facebook Group Basics | Best Practices for Facebook Groups (PDF)

Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages are similar to Profiles, but they are for organizations, brands, and businesses, not people. Instead of sending a "friend request" to a person on Facebook, you can follow updates from Pages by visiting the Page and clicking "like." People manage Facebook Pages using their own personal Facebook Profiles, but rest assured: the general public will not be able to see that you are an admin of a Facebook Page — only fellow admins can see this. When an admin posts on the Page, they post as the Page (not as themselves) to share photos, videos, status updates, and create events. Pages can also reply to comments, and share and like posts from other Facebook Pages.

Facebook Posting Best Practices

  • Be active. Post at least once a week.
  • Be brief. Keep your posts to 450 characters or less.
  • Shorten your links. Long links are ugly and distracting. Use bit.ly.
  • Visuals are engaging. Always have a photo or video with your post.
    • If you’re linking to an article or website, you may have to upload your own.
  • Encourage conversation — ask questions, create polls, respond to comments.
    • Don’t delete comments unless they’re profane, obscene, harassing, threatening, or contain personal information.
    • If it gets too negative/critical, go private or offline.
  • Tag other people/pages in your posts.
  • Create Facebook events.
  • Schedule posts.
  • Have fun! Don’t be afraid to inject humor into your content (if appropriate).

What should I post?

We get it. Many of those who handle social media at Wesleyan have a multitude of resposibilities, so creating content to constantly feed your social accounts seems daunting. Our best suggestion? Think beyond your own content. Who else is publishing articles and videos related to your industry or area of expertise? A great example of a department that does this really well is the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education (CPE) Facebook page. They share articles and successes from prison education programs at other universities (Cornell, University of Utah, and more) and other organizations working toward or reporting on prison reform.

Curate content by using a tool like Feedly, which can aggregate articles published by news sites and blogs you choose to follow. The College of the Environment might share content produced by the Environmental Defense Fund, TreeHugger, Inhabitat, and The New York Times' column on Sustainable Living, for example. You can also set up Google Alerts for specific topics or search terms and get a daily digest of articles published for each alert. (Warning: you could end up with too much content and may wish to unsubscribe or refine your alerts.) Both of these tools are free!

Facebook Image Size Guidelines

Facebook image sizes change all the time! I highly recommend bookmarking this website and referring to it frequently when you need to create an image. Generally though, we recommend images that are at least 800 px wide for regular posts. Square images seem to perform best. Recommended size: 1080px x 1080px.

More Facebook Resources

Still need help? Request a Social Strategy Session.