Facebook Style Guide for USAS Locals

So you’ve decided to create a Facebook page for your USAS local. Yaaaay! This guide is intended to offer resources and tips for making it as effective as possible for your campus organizing while also building a stronger and more cohesive national federation of USAS locals.

omg lol Facebook: What Is It Good For?

As organizers, we know that building a movement requires a lot of hard work — without a strong basis of face-to-face conversations and phone calls, our campaigns will be weak and ineffective. We often hear inflated reports about the role of social media — crediting Twitter for the Arab Spring uprisings, for example — but the truth is that every social movement, even the ones with a strong social media component, is based on solid, real-world organizing. There is no magic Facebook or Twitter shortcut.

So what can we actually use Facebook for?

  • As one small part of an overall organizing plan

  • To amplify and communicate real-world actions

  • Casting a broad net to people who aren’t involved already

  • Creating a list of potential recruits for real-world followup

This guide will help you do these things.

Should you create a Facebook page or a group?

You might want both, but it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each. Groups are best for internal communication and sharing between members of your group, but not great for reaching a wide audience or bringing in new people. Some USAS locals use groups as a way to communicate internally in between weekly meetings, while others prefer to use an email listserv. Use whichever makes sense for your group. Pages are much better for spreading your public message to a wide audience. We focus on pages in this guide.

Setting Up Your Facebook Page

  • Create a single page (not group) with the full name of your group as the title. Include your USAS local number in the name, for example “UM United Students Against Sweatshops – USAS Local 87” or “Student Labor Action Coalition – USAS Local 1” (You do have a local number, right?)

  • Include a detailed description with your local’s mission, making sure to reference your school’s name and your affiliation with USAS.

  • Upload a nice profile pic — you can use the national USAS logo if you don’t have your own.

  • Choose a pretty cover photo that’s unique to your group. A photo from an action, of members of your group, or something that’s recognizable as your campus (that way, interested students will immediately have something to recognize and connect with).

  • Clearly indicate in a visible place how to get involved (time and location of weekly meetings, person to contact).

Tips on Using Your Page Effectively

  1. How often to post: Ideally, post content 3-5 times a week. Too often and you and your followers will get sick of dealing with it, and too rarely and they’ll forget you exist.

    • For example, over the course of one week you might post a weekly meeting reminder, an update about your upcoming event, an interesting article about the issues you’re working on, and share something from the national USAS Facebook page.
  2. When to post: Avoid silly times, like 3am on a Saturday, because no one will see it. If you post multiple times in one day, space your posts out by at least a couple hours — no one likes to read a bunch of things from you in a row, and Facebook might filter them out anyway.

  3. What kind of content is best: Our experience shows that original content is best. It’s fine to share things from other pages, or link to articles, but you’ll get the most engagement (shares and likes) for original status updates or photo uploads.

    • Infographics! Stick some text on a photo and it’s instantly twice as good as just plain text.
    • Live updates: Posting a photo from an event happening RIGHT NOW is always popular — people like to feel that your page is a source of interesting, breaking news that they can’t get anywhere else. Be shameless about this: write “LIVE:” or “BREAKING:” in front of your update.
    • Announcing victories: whenever you win something, this is a great opportunity to use social media. If you can, plan ahead and have a snazzy infographic ready to go and use that to announce a victory (it’ll get shared around, bringing more people to your page). If that’s not possible, try to take a celebratory photo — your group members holding signs or jumping in the air or something — and use that to spice up your victory announcement update.
  1. Tagging: Tag relevant people/groups in your posts. For example, tag your campus coalition partners when you post about the campaign. Or if you’re working with a union, tag them whenever you mention the union by name.

  2. Be timely and break news: people love live updates, especially photos. This is the stuff that might go viral, like the photo of us crashing Selena Gomez’s fashion show (650 likes, 779 shares).

  3. Events: when creating Facebook events, always create the event through your page — then you can easily promote the event to people who like your page.

  4. Affirmation nation: like anything remotely related to USAS, ever. When in doubt, like it. Especially things that members of your group post.

  5. Go mobile: install the Facebook Page Manager app on your phone so you can post live photo updates! You can post through the regular Facebook app, but it’s a good idea to use the Page Manager app — it has a few more features, and keeping it separate will ensure you don’t accidentally post personal things through your page (womp womp).

Resources

Questions? Need something else? Contact USAS National Organizer Jan Van Tol at email hidden; JavaScript is required.