What is Facebook?

Facebook allows individuals, businesses or institutions to communicate with specific audiences. Users can join networks, groups and "like" products and services. Academic departments at St. Thomas otften create accounts to inform students, alumni and friends about department-related news and events.

How should I represent my UST organization on Facebook?

As your department considers how to represent itself on Facebook, you will likely create a Facebook "group." Per Facebook's policy and guidelines, "pages" are designated for overall companies/organizations or brands. The institutional UST page is a "page" and is St. Thomas' brand presence on Facebook. Your department or organization is a collective "group" within this brand. Please consider using the "group" option as you look to set up your facebook identity.

Still considering? Here is a brief summary of the features of Facebook profiles, pages and groups.

Exists as a person
Can send messages
People "friend" profiles

People like pages
Unlimited number of followers
Can send updates, cannot send messages
No notifications from activities
Designed for brands, not people, clubs, organizations, or groups

People join groups
Designed for people with common interests to come together to share information
All activities in groups give notifications to members of the group
Can send messages (up to 5000 people in group)

All of these options have walls, can post links, videos, have discussions, can create events and invite people.

Facebook best practices

  1. Your department is responsible for its own Facebook activity.
  2. Research what other Facebook groups may already be established for the social media audience you are reaching out to. While you are not responsible for social media content offered by other groups, be mindful of how your message, naming conventions, etc. may overlap with content administered outside the university.
  3. Facebook should be a vital part of your traditional marketing plan – not replace it. These communications tools need to interact. If they exist in a vacuum, your department doesn’t derive the full benefit of being in the social media space.
  4. Don't saturate your Facebook page with promotional or sales material.
  5. Be honest about who you are and why you are posting. You're using Facebook to have a conversation with your audience. A persistent sales pitch promotes a one-way dialog, and will cause your audience to tune out.
  6. Use a departmental St. Thomas e-mail address so access to the site will continue regardless of employee status. (i.e., education@stthomas.edu for School of Education). More than one person should have access to the mailbox.
  7. Your department should limit the number of authors/administrators for the department Facebook account.
  8. Authors/administrators should be prepared to contribute consistent, high-quality content. The content may consist of photos, text, audio, video, polls, etc
  9. Be sure you have rights to the content you publish. Copying a photo off the Internet and publishing it to your department Facebook page is not the same as having rights to that photo.
  10. Don't abandon good writing skills just because you're online.
  11. Reward your audience for participating. You value being part of a conversation with your audience. Find a way to show them that you appreciate their engagement.
  12. If you allow comments, be committed to moderating the comments on a regular basis (pull inappropriate comments/posts)
  13. Set goals for your Facebook page. If possible, the goals should be measurable.
  14. Remember, you are representing the university brand. Civility and respect are critical in all interactions.
  15. You may want to consider posting a “terms of use” document for your audience. For example, here is the information posted on the official St. Thomas Facebook page.

St. Thomas Facebook – Terms of Use

Welcome to the University of St. Thomas’ official Facebook page. Keeping with the nature of Facebook being an open interactive environment, we invite you to share, comment and interact with our Facebook page. We would like to remind you that we will not tolerate any solicitation or profane, vulgar, obscene, libelous or defamatory comments and remarks. We reserve the right to remove any content that we feel is not appropriate.

We would also like to remind you that any content that you find on the University of St. Thomas Facebook page is the property of St. Thomas and is subject to all applicable copyright and trademark laws.

Thank you and we hope you enjoy sharing in our experiences through the University of St. Thomas Facebook page.

Find Us on Facebook

Click here to "Like" the University of St. Thomas on Facebook.

Request to Join the Registry

Click here for your social media site to be considered for the registry.