Is This the End of “Free” Facebook for Schools?

November 13, 2017 Cody Barbierri

It’s probably an understatement to say that Facebook has had a significant impact on how schools communicate. Since creating the “Pages” feature, Facebook has given schools an effective tool to promote news and events, and to provide a valuable glimpse into school life.

Yes, viewership of an individual post may be small compared to a targeted e-mail, but the cumulative reach of the school’s Facebook page amongst current parents, alumni, donors, and most importantly, prospective parents, is significant.

This “free” medium of communication may be about to change, and if that’s a frightening thought for your school—you’re not alone.

What’s the big deal?

According to Mashable, Facebook is currently testing a new format in select markets (outside the United States) that removes “brand” posts from users’ news feeds. Currently, if someone “likes” the school’s Page, they then see the school’s posts in their personal Facebook news feed amongst those from friends and family. In the new format, the school’s “brand” posts would get aggregated into a separate "Explore" feed alongside those from other businesses and organizations.

How likely is it that people will click into the branded Explore feed on a regular basis? If the answer is “not likely,” this will be a major hit to schools that rely on Facebook for expanding the school’s reach. There will be a way to get back into the main news feed, however, and your school will have to pay to play. Whether Facebook is going to change how boosted posts are structured and what it would cost is currently unknown.

It’s important to reiterate that this testing is occurring outside of the United States and there are no guarantees that it will be released here. This said, schools that rely on Facebook should keep a close eye on this development and start planning for the likelihood that “free” Facebook may soon be over.

What will this change mean for your school? Will you handle it by creating a Facebook budget? Or will you migrate school communication to the next best thing for reaching constituents? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

 

About the Author

Cody Barbierri

Experienced social media, public relations, and content expert with more than 10 years experience helping brands drive growth, increase engagement, and build loyalty.

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