In the 21st century, having a strong online presence is a must for any type of an organization, including the SEE working groups. It is an important part of strengthening the working groups identity and expanding its network. However, most SEE working group members are not in the position to utilize their organizational websites as a platform for connecting US and Russian experts.. At the same time, creating a separate website for a working group is an expensive and technically-challenging endeavor.
This is why Facebook is an excellent tool for creating an online presence of a working group – it is easy to use, cheap, and, most importantly, widely used in both the US and Russia. Furthermore, Facebook pages are designed to face outward and help build an external audience, thus broadening the working groups’ impact.
When creating a Facebook Page, a working group should carefully consider such questions as the name of a page (exact phrasing and language), its look (profile and cover images), and advanced features (e.g., Messages and “Similar Page Suggestions”). Additionally, the working group should assign more than one member of the group as an administrator of the Page.
The working group should also establish some basic guiding principles, including defining the purpose of the page, identifying the types of appropriate content, setting goals regarding frequency of posting, and establishing a uniform style and tone.
The central task of managing a Facebook page is to post engaging and relevant content. This will help grow the audience for the page and give the working group a wider exposure and greater potential for impact.
There are several tips for developing interesting content. First, it is important to remember that Facebook is designed for sharing. The types of posts that people like to see and share are “narrative, personal, and photogenic.” In other words, they should include a picture, a very short story or a simple graphic.
Second, when posting keep in mind the audience’s geographic location and Facebook use habits. So, for optimal engagement it is best to post before or after dinner on Saturdays or Sundays, which is when people are most likely to be on Facebook. This can be easily achieved through the “Schedule Post” feature. If your post did not receive any engagement within the first hour, it will likely become lost unless the working group members will “Like” and “Share” it.
Third, it is important to be aware of the broader context that could be relevant to the working group or a particular post. So, sharing news articles relevant to the working group could be an effective way of making the working group relevant to the broader discussions on the topic..
In addition to the content, the working group should also dedicate some time to building an audience for its page. The starting point for this task is to inform the working group’s existing network, which includes its current and former members, its fellows and fellow alumni, its extended professional networks (e.g., colleagues), fellowship host organizations, and members of other working groups.
Once these networks are tapped, it is important to check Facebook Insights from time to time in order to have a better understanding the page’s audience. Statistics on geographic, age and gender breakdowns, as well as most popular times for visiting your page, will most definitely help the working group tailor it content to better reach its audience.
For more details and specific examples, watch the complete webinar and download the presentation slides below.
Webinar Resources — English Language
Joshua Foust, Communications Officer, Eurasia Foundation
Maria Reissаus, Communications Manager,
Webinar Resources — Russian Language
Yulia Koval-Molodtsova, Russian Program Development Associate, Kidsave International
Maria Reissаus, Communications Manager,
Facebook Guide — English Language
Facebook Guide — Russian Language
Russian language Facebook Guide
to be posted shortly.