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Facebook Guidelines

Facebook is now one of the most popular Web tools. This tool allows people to maintain personal pages and public figure pages, subscribe to group sites and created organizational pages.
  • Maintained University of Idaho Facebook pages

    The University of Idaho maintains the following Facebook pages:

    • University of Idaho
    • Idaho Vandals

    It also manages two primary "groups"

    • University of Idaho Alumni Association
    • University of Idaho News.

    Facebook pages that are promoted by the university must:

    • Be aligned with the key objectives of the university.
    • Be timeless and open to the public (not limited to time-specific or subject specific groups, such as class of 2009 or JAMM graduates).
    • Be kept dynamic and fresh.

    The University will promote authentic pages or groups that build a community around a strategic University initiative. Due to the high volume of Facebook pages, if you plan to have a page or group promoted by the University, please work directly with University Communications for branding purposes.

    Facebook pages should not default to "the wall tab." A separate tab should be created that better reinforces the University’s brand and messaging. These settings can be changed from the "Edit page" link under the page profile picture. Note, you must be logged in as an administrator of the page to access this link.

  • Branding
    1. An approved University logo with the college/school, department, unit, or program ID should be used for profile/page pictures.

    2. To ensure your profile picture easily scales to a news feed icon, create a square profile picture that is 200 px x 200 px. The limit for all FB profile pictures is no more than 200 pixels wide and 600 pixels high (that is a lot bigger than most people realize). There is a great blog posting on AllFacebook.com that addresses custom and hacked profile pictures: http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/02/facebook-profile-photo-hacks/ .
  • Page Customization
    1. One of the best apps for customizing your page is “fbml.” Using a language similar to html, you can create custom graphics and boxes.

    2. Facebook pages can utilize flash, but flash is not allowed to auto play

    3. Facebook’s API (application programming interface) allows page owners to publish information to their page and extract information from their news feed so that it can be published on their own site. The Facebook Fan Box (info at http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/index.php/Fan_Box  ) can be easily added to a Web site by people with out Web development/programming experience.
  • Design/Function

    1. New page visitors should not default to a page’s wall tab. By directing fans to a promotional tab, the page owner is given an opportunity to shape their message and reinforce branding. Additional tabs can be set up (including custom tabs) by clicking "Edit Page" under your profile picture. Page administrator can also specify the default tab in this area.

  • Posting
    1. A post is copy, image, video, or a combination of the three placed on Facebook. Every post should have some degree of interactivity. Instead of simply posting a list, post the list and then a question asking the fans what they think about it. People are always willing to lend their opinion.

    2. If publishing multiple posts per day, post them periodically rather than all at once. Note: events, changes to your profile picture, and notes, all show up in their news feeds so keep a close watch on how often you post.

    3. We believe the best time to post information to Facebook is from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. - 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Note: not all of your fans live in your time zone, so take that into consideration when posting.

    4. In a recent poll of the U-Idaho's fan base, we asked them how often they would like to see us in their news feeds and update inbox. Check out the survey at https://usocialmediagroup.pbworks.com/session/login?return_to_page=f%2FFacebook%2BSurvey%2BResults.pdf (PDF). Because fans do not necessarily see all of your wall posts, we believe you should post daily (and we haven't seen a major drop off in fans or subscribers). Send updates 2-3 times per week at most. Make sure you monitor your analytics/insights to ensure quality content.
    1. With every post, there will be some attrition. During our relatively
      brief Facebook history, we've found that an acceptable attrition rate
      for a news feed post with a page with more than 10,000 fans is .07
      %. Note, the typical net yield of a news feed post (if posting 2-3
      times per day) is 1.7%.
    5. Answer relevant questions posted by fans in a timely manner and in the same public forum in which it was posted. That way everyone can view the answer (and question). Reach out to someone who would know the given answer, if the page's admin does not, and encourage that "expert" to answer directly on FB or attribute the source if it's a Page post/reply.

    6. Address any negative comments to the best of your abilities. Granted, juvenile comments like "you suck" should be ignored, but addressing legitimate concerns will increase the credibility of your FB Page and show fans that you are embracing the dialogue dynamic, which is an important element to the FB platform.

    7. Because fans receive posts in their news feed, they don’t frequently have a reason to visit your page after subscribing. Monitor your insights to see the number/percentage of your fans that visit your page every day. Post information that encourages fans to visit your page. For example, if you have a top ten list as a post, include the top 25 list on your page so the fans have a reason to visit.
  • Content
    1. As stated in the "Posting" section, strive to engage the user so they feel compelled to be a part of the conversation. Their activity on the page will spread to their friends' news feeds, helping to drive traffic to and build awareness for both the post and the page.

    2. Page owners should include an art element for wall posts, notes, discussions, and events. This is a basic print communications principle that also applies to online material.

    3. When posting a link be aware that the default headline and body copy for the link can be changed it most cases. Simply click on the headline or body copy when the link is in preview and a text field will appear allowing you to modify with your own copy. This is important because not all default copy and/or link headlines convey your message in the most clear and concise manner within the Facebook context.

    4. A designated person in a college/school, department, or program should be assigned to frequently check the Facebook page for wall posts and fan comments. Comments that violate FB’s terms of use (including the use of profanity, hate speech, or sexually explicit content), in addition to any blatant solicitation or “SPAM,” should be promptly removed. A negative comment about the page or its organization is not sufficient to warrant removal of the comment/post.

    5. A single person within the college/school, department, or program, should be given stewardship for posting information and interacting with fans. All posts (both topic and content) should be reviewed by an editor before posting. The steward may, however, reply directly to responses from fans, in order to ensure the timely flow of information.
  • Linking to outside sources
    1. When posting a link be aware that the default headline and body copy for the link can be changed in most cases. Simply click on the headline or body copy when the link is in preview and a text field will appear allowing you to modify with your own copy. This is important because not all default copy and/or link headlines convey your message in the most clear and concise manner within the Facebook context.

    2. Do not link to pdf documents. If linking to a pdf is absolutely necessary, use a pdf icon with the link or included the text "PDF" after the link.

    3. Include "http://" when manually inserting a link in a note, wall post, photo, etc. Using "http://" will automatically create a hyperlink.
  • Updates
    1. Target updates whenever possible, eliminating recipients to whom the message may not apply. Target by demographic and geographic location as appropriate.

    2. Updates are one step away from sending a direct message or e-mail to your fan (in contrast, posts are the most passive method of contacting your fans). If using an update, include a brief poll at the update that will help you determine if the update you sent was useful or relevant. Polls can be easily set up for free with Google Doc’s “form” feature. A simple, “Was this update useful YES / NO” will help you in your quest to provide valuable updates to your fans.
  • Safety, Privacy, and Copyright
    1. Avoid private correspondence with fans. If private correspondence is absolutely necessary, keep messages professional and to the point. Be sure to keep a record of your correspondence, and sign the message with your name, title, and “The University of Idaho.” This helps the fan distinguish between an official message from the University, and a message from an individual employee.

    2. Messages to fans should be made in public forums when possible (walls, discussion posts, etc.).

    3. Page administrators should strive to maintain anonymity on official University pages. If contacted directly, they should notify another person within their organization.

    4. Page administrators should remove fans that repeatedly make personal contact, post solicitations/SPAM, intimidate or verbally attack other fans, or violate Facebook’s terms of use.
  • Fan Acquisition
    1. Facebook users can easily become a fan of your page by texting “Fan [page name]” to “FBOOK” (32665). This is useful if you are trying to advertise your page at an event.

    2. Our experience has shown that Facebook advertising is an effective and affordable way to recruit fans. We’ve found that CPM advertising (paying a set amount for 1,000 fans) is generally less expensive than CPC advertising (paying every time someone clicks on your ad).