If your chapter happened to be an early adopter of Facebook Groups, then chances are your Group page will be archived very soon. Fraternity and sorority chapters (along with many other organizations, businesses, and high profile individuals) typically utilize the old Groups format in one of two ways; as a means of internal communication amongst members, or as a way to promote the chapter to non-members.
These separate uses could not be properly supported by one format alone, which is why Facebook created the “Pages” format, and designed a new “Group” format. To encourage old group users to pick a side, Facebook recently announced that all Groups created in the old Group format would be automatically archived, then converted into the new Group format.
If your chapter’s Facebook Group has this notice at the top of the page, then you too will have to pick a side.
The most significant outcome of this switch to a new Group format is that all members of your chapters group will be removed when your Group is converted to the new format. It will be the responsibility of the group administrator(s) to add all of your members back in to the Group.
If your chapter is still using the old Group format, this is the perfect opportunity to assess exactly what you’re chapter is hoping to accomplish with its presence on Facebook. Should you have a Page? Should you have a Group? My answer to both of these questions is “yes”.
Allow me to explain what I feel is the proper way for your chapter to best utilize Facebook.
Create a Page
To understand the Page format, imagine your chapter is a singular being with a personal Facebook account tasked with promoting your chapter. This is how you operate your page. Pages allow your chapter to post information in its profile, upload photos and videos, create and invite friends and followers to events, post comments on the Page wall which appear in your followers new feed, etc. Even cooler, you can integrate your Facebook Page with Facebook Places to allow any Facebook user to check into your chapter house. Your Facebook Page is your chapters brand, manage it as such.
Create a Group
Your Facebook Group is your chapter’s method of internal communications. You can set your group to private to ensure that only members are privy to the discussions within the Group. Use your Group to update members, create private events (chapter meetings, initiation, etc.), share photos and video, and even poll chapter members via the questions feature. You can use your Group for general discussion instead of your chapter e-mail listserv; this way your e-mail inbox won’t get blown up all the time. Any time a member posts on the group wall, everyone within the group will receive a Facebook notification, a feature not provided within Facebook Pages.
Groups are also a fantastic way for your alumni to stay connected with each other. Consider encouraging them to create a separate Group to keep each other updated on their major life changes, coordinate alumni gatherings, and even facilitate donations to the undergraduate chapter.
Follow these suggestions, and your chapter will be able to enjoy the best of what Facebook Pages and Groups have to offer!
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