Building a Facebook Fan Page

Q: How many are too many events to add at one time? As to not overload fans should you limit to the first 5 station events/concerts?

The best thing to do is to experiment. You want to be timely with your promotion, and pace them out, if possible.
Also, more important than how many events, is the time period. While we don’t have anything but anecdotal evidence, we think it would typically be hard to promote an event more than 6 weeks or so ahead of time since it will be more difficult to retain the buzz over time.

Q: For dual licensees, would you recommend two pages or one overall page?

Consolidating efforts is definitely advisable. You want to go for maximum impact when participating on social networks, and fragmenting your (likely already fickle) audience further might make things more difficult for you down the road.

Q: What is the name is of that tool that Kevin Dando uses to upload video once and distribute to all the different outposts?

TubeMogul ( It lets you upload your video clip once, and it automatically posts it to several video sites simultaneously (including YouTube). It also consolidates your analytics. Kevin is a big fan of this service – he says it saves him an incredible amount of time.

Q: Can you tell me more about Facebook’s Cause Pages? Are there other ways to receive donations through Facebook?

Cause pages are open to registered non-profit organizations to collect donations; we’re working with Interactive Station Services, as well as the PBS Development people to find out more.

We’re also tracking a few stations who are trying their hand at creating Cause Pages, but don’t have a best practice or recommendation on that yet (we’re looking into it and will let you know as soon as we have enough information to made a recommendation either way.)

The Washington Post recently reported that the Facebook Causes application may not be resulting in the financial response groups had hoped for, so we (and PBS’ Development Department) advise stations that, if they decide to use Facebook for fundraising, that they manage their expectations.

Facebook also allows you to ‘sell’ virtual Gifts, although we haven’t seen any PBS stations or producers try this out yet. If you decide to try it, please let us know!

Q: Can you add fans to your organization fan page?

You can’t mass add fans to your page, but you can invite your own personal connections (up to a limit each day).

Q: What are some basic techniques to proactively obtain fans?

We definitely suggest you be proactive in reaching out to gain more fans for your page. One way is to have other employees, volunteers, and community leaders become fans on Facebook and ask them to invite their own contacts as well.

You can also create some very inexpensive Ads to get people to your page. Facebook ads are highly targeted and can be done at minimal cost.

Remember this: the best way to market a Facebook page is to actually have one. It is a network effect. Also, remember to include mention of your Facebook page everywhere you can – on your email signature, in your station program guides, on your Website, etc.

Q: What would you advise a small station with minimal people resources to do about engaging in social media? Where do we spend most of our time - station blog,

Twitter, Facebook? What's the bare minimum for stations like us? How do we decide?

We feel pretty strongly about these ‘outposts’ and the value they present to stations. If you were to force us to rank where you should spend your time it would be:

  1. Create great content on your own site
  2. Syndicate that content to YouTube and Facebook
  3. Connect and engage in conversation on Twitter about that content.

The great thing about these sites is that their business is making it fast and easy for all of us to participate. Specifically here at HQ, we split up the duties of updating and maintaining the various social sites so that we can each spend just a few minutes a day and see some pretty compelling results.

Engage is always happy to work on custom ideas and suggest tools to make your life easier. Give us a ring or shoot us an email anytime and we’ll work with you on a strategy that’s both cost-effective and measurable.

Q: When pages are searched are they ranked by fans?

Fan pages show up both within Facebook, as well as in Google – in fact, and this is a BIG deal – a link to your Fan page is actually displayed in the public search results of all of your fans. So if you have 5,000 fans, Google is going to find 5,000 links to your Fan page.

Q: Can I block people from adding ill content on my station’s Facebook page?

Facebook does not provide any moderation tools for content on Fan Pages, but unlike sites like YouTube, the conversation is typically very dynamic and engaging. The key here is that people’s comments are attached to their real identity since Facebook users are required to use their actual names. For especially egregious comments or discussions, there is a “report” link that goes directly to Facebook. Also, you can disable the ability to add comments entirely, but we don’t recommend that.

Q: Where do we create the “become a fan” box?

The Become a fan box is static and always is in the left-column of your fan page.

Q: How long can each video that you post be?

Video lengths can be up to 20 minutes.

Q: How do you make past events disappear from the Events box?

Like most content in Facebook, things aren’t easy to delete. You can delete previous events, but it doesn’t hurt anything to leave them there. As you add more events, they will move down the page.

Q: Why is RSVP important?

RSVP is important because whenever a person RSVPs for one of your events, a message is posted to their activity feed and can be seen by all of their friends, further spreading your event’s impact in the social graph.

Q: So we should allow RSVP?


Q: The events listings seem to have limited descriptions for fundraising events. How can we engage people with such a limited field?

You’re right, there aren’t very many fields available when you create an event, but the discussion board area of the event can be a powerful tool to solicit ideas, and start the conversation prior to an event.

Q: Can pages be customized?

You can add customized components but the basic color and design is already set by Facebook.

Q: Why isn't PBS paying as much attention to My Space and other social media venues?

The Engage team is constantly evaluating social media sites and tools, and right now, we’re in full support of: YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Sites, like FriendFeed, GetSatisfaction, and others are definitely on our radar and worth taking a look at, but the audiences either aren’t large enough yet, or don’t match up as nicely with our collective content.

That said, it’s always a smart idea to create accounts at any site you come across so that you’re in charge of the name (ie, we control things like @pbsvideo and @pbskids on Twitter just in case we ever decide to start using them. The same goes for FriendFeed where we have signed up for, etc.) If nothing else, put up a single post pointing people to your actual site.

For MySpace specifically, the audience there is much more focused on youth (tweens) and music (bands). If those are target audiences, or share common interests with some of your content, by all means have a presence. Social media is more of an art than a science, so sites and strategies that work for one station may or may not work for others.
If you’re curious about our thoughts on any social network or site that you encounter, shoot Engage a message and we’ll reply with any research or information we may have on the site.

It’s pretty likely that someone on the team either has experience with the site, or knows someone who has.
No matter what, we’ll always support you in what you’re working on and provide our best practices. We would also like to learn from you – so if you discover or have success with a social media site, please let us know about it.

Q: How do you update the page as "the station" versus your personal login?

If you have an “account” that is your station, you should really close it out and use your “personal” account to create the fan page. Businesses are not allowed to have “accounts”, although they can have “Pages”. This can be confusing, but it’s an important distinction – if you have a question about this, please contact Kevin Dando.

Q: Given that our ability to attract Web underwriters is likely to be based on the strength of the analytics numbers we can get to them, how do you suggest using Facebook without cutting in to our station site visits? Is there a method you recommend for converting Facebook visits into station site visits?

The concept behind social media “outposts” (which you can learn more about here: the basis for PBS’ social media strategy.
Basically, you use these outposts of content to give people a taste of what they can find on your own site, so the business case for participating in these outside platforms is definitely that if people are engaged and participating on these other sites then they’re more likely to come back to your own site (and maybe donate!).

You're also reaching new and untapped audiences by using these tools, which is important for all of us.

Q: Can we cross promote our Facebook pages for PBS series? For example, Antiques Roadshow fans would possibly enjoy being fans of History Detectives.

Fan pages can actually be “fans” of other fan pages, yes that’s a little hard to wrap your mind around, but it is a mechanism by which you can easily link to other stations’ fan pages, and programs that happen to have Fan pages as well. In fact, we’d love for you to “Fan” other PBS station and program pages! 

Q: Is an update the same as a Facebook message? Are updates posted on the fan page wall? What are updates and how do we use them?

Updates are a little different than messages. An update is posted to your fans’ “update” tab in their in-box, and is less visible than other forms of communication. Updates are the only form of email communication Fan pages can send.
If you post an item on your Fan page’s wall as its admin, it will likely (but not definitely) show up in your fans’ feeds.
Group pages (as opposed to fan pages) can send email messages, which go directly into group members’ email boxes.

Messages should be used very carefully and not very often (only the biggest and most important things should be promoted this way.) Wall posts on the other hand, can be posted a couple of times a day.

Q: Will the COVE video player viral embed code support posting to our Facebook account?

It should, but embed code is something that producers control on a case-by-case basis so not all video will be postable to Facebook.

Q: Do you recommend that videos be posted onto Facebook directly?

We recommend linking to PBS videos on YouTube. But you should put up your own local video on your Facebook page.

Q: who actually maintains the PBS page on a day-to-day basis, and how much time does it take?

Kevin Dando, our Director of Education and Online Communications, maintains the Facebook page day-to-day. The Engage team, producers, and other PBS people send Kevin content and ideas and he posts it.
This is to make sure that there’s a consistent message and so that there is a constant level of ‘buzz’ on the site as he spreads out posting ideas throughout the day.

With Twitter most of the posts are written by either Lauren Saks or Jonathan Coffman. We split those duties up as well so that we can each spend 5-10 minutes per day posting updates and replying to followers without taking too much time out of any one person’s already busy schedule.

Q: Our station has both a Fan Page and a Profile Page. We have notified all of our Profile page fans we have moved. The plan is to delete the Profile page. Do you see any problem with that?

That shouldn’t be a problem, and in fact Facebook will do the migration for you (from a Group to a Fan page) if you send them a message.

Q: Regarding fundraising through Facebook, should we match Facebook members to members in our development/member database?

With regards to matching, it seems that it would be very labor intensive. This is a question we will explore with our PBS Development group.