"Like Us on Facebook": The impact of social networking - DE-DC-MD

November 8, 2011
Why use social networking?
How to use social networking
◦ Introduction to Facebook and Twitter
Watching for trends
Proper sharing for financial aid professionals
Make connections
Schools and/or departments at your university
Financial aid offices at other universities
Financial aid groups (i.e. NASFAA)
Be proactive to combat confusion
◦ Deadlines
 Scholarships
◦ Timing
 What are the most confusing times of year?
 Post tweets that could help in advance
◦ Faster than updating a web site!
Watch trends
◦ What are financial aid professionals discussing?
◦ What are common themes among posts from
◦ What information is coming from DOE?
People “like” your page
Your updates appear
on their “news feed”
Provide updates which
◦ Vary in length
◦ Contain readily visible
photos and link previews
People “follow” you
Your tweets appear in
their “timeline”
Provide short, timely
◦ 140 characters or less
◦ Usually link to longer
external content
Visit twitter.com
Set up a new profile for your office
Make it public
◦ If you make it private, no one will be able to see
your tweets unless you allow them to follow you
◦ No sensitive info should be posted via Twitter, so a
private profile should not be necessary
Visit Facebook.com
Create a profile for your office
Use your profile to create a “Page”
◦ The profile is the “administrator” of the page
◦ Once the page is created, place a link to it on your
office’s web site
◦ A topic is “trending” if enough people tweet about it
at the same time
◦ Search financial aid topics to see what groups are
tweeting about
◦ Users can label a tweet with a hashtag
◦ Use the # sign and the word you want to label your
tweet with
◦ Note to Students: Take the earphones off before
approaching the customer service counter. We
should not have to ask 3x if you have #finaid
◦ 10,000,000 Pell Grant recipients in US today; 24%
are African-Americans, 21% are Latino, says John
Wison, Director of WH HBCU initiative
◦ So the new dir of financial aid at my seminary just
sent everyone a link to sign the petition for student
loan forgiveness... HE ROCKS!!
Facebook is less about popularity and more
about sharing
◦ View reactions to your posts and comments
◦ People can leave comments all in one place
◦ NOTE: Do not worry if only a few people “like” your
 Few may like it, but far more may view it
 Some people may not want their friends to know they
“like” a financial aid office!
“Help me plz”
“Why is tuition so high? How much is credit
per hour? this seems kinda ridiculous!”
“The state needs to get with it! Classes two
weeks away and they still don't know how
much they are going to be? Good grief!” –
regarding yet to be released tuition rates
Social networking is for informational
purposes only
Nothing can replace the guidance of a
financial aid counselor.
Every student’s need and financial aid
package may be different
Audience must know the difference between
an online post and the actual advice of a
financial aid professional.
Before you share any information from the
pages of other users read the content!
◦ Twitter: Copy a tweet by “retweeting”
◦ Facebook: Copy a post by “share”
Just because you know a person or a group
does not mean that you can automatically
ensure the quality or accuracy of the content
they share.
Always check the links before you share
Separate personal from professional!
The office page is not a place for one staff
member to post their personal opinions.
A Twitter or Facebook page is an online
professional presence scripted by a person
within the office.
Pick someone who:
◦ is NOT impulsive
◦ pays great attention to details
◦ has solid communication skills
Do not have too many account users.
Several people may have ideas or content to
contribute but you want to send a consistent
Interaction - Wall provides more real estate
than Twitter for communicating with others.
Privacy – If you want people to “like” your
organization or group, you will have to create
a public page so that people can find it.
Content control – You control who can post
on your wall.
Depth of information –Keep it generic for the
sake of privacy and compliance.
Keep it short: Timely, short updates (140
characters or less with links included).
Make an introduction: Tweets can be used to
introduce a topic and then lead readers to a
page which has its content hosted elsewhere.
Identifying trends: You can perform a realtime search to view what people are talking
Dissemination: Quick way to share, less space
for interaction.