Using Facebook Pages to reach users - Jo Alcock Consulting
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Using Facebook Pages to reach users

Using Facebook Pages to reach users

I’ve been administering the Facebook Page for University of Wolverhampton Learning Centres for just over a year now.

It’s been a great learning process for me – not only the actual process of creating and developing the Facebook Page but also managing my first project with all the associated paperwork and processes involved.

Over the course of the year, many librarians have been in touch asking for advice about whether or not to create a Facebook Page for their library; many have gone on to do so, others are still unsure. My personal recommendation is to give it a go if users are already using Facebook – it’s a minimal investment (I’ve spent around 16 hours in total including the initial setup and project administration), and could be one way of reaching some of the users you currently don’t reach by traditional means.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the project, I recently wrote an article about our experiences which has been published in the latest edition of ALISS Quarterly:

Alcock, J. (2009) Using Facebook Pages to reach users: the experiences of University of Wolverhampton. ALISS Quarterly, 4(2), pp.2-6.

Katharine Widdows from University of Warwick also wrote an article about their experiences with Facebook Pages in the same issue so you may want to get hold of a copy to read both our points of view.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you would like any more information about the Facebook Page itself or the overall project, I’ll be happy to help if I can.

As an aside, I’m currently having issues with RSS feeds on the Page, I was previously using the Blog RSS Feed Reader application which suited our needs and looked great, but seemed to stop updating a few months ago. I then moved to RSS-Connect and now frequently get the message “Feed Unavailable” despite the fact that if I open the feed link in another window it is fine. Does anyone have any recommendations for reliable RSS feed display applications for Facebook Pages?

  • Sam Dick
    Posted at 11:00h, 25 February Reply

    When we set up the Open University Library Facebook page we pondered about what to do with RSS feeds, we’d heard so many things about how unreliable some of the applications were. We decided in the end not to use any RSS applications and went with Facebook’s own ‘Notes’ application which you can feed RSS feeds in to. So far this has worked fine for us and gives us the option to also add manual notes in to the mix.

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 11:08h, 25 February Reply

      Thanks Sam, I hadn’t thought about that. I’ll investigate using the Notes application. The only problem I can think of with that is that you can only feed one RSS feed into it I believe? I use Yahoo! Pipes to combine the blog RSS feeds but I like the ability of the other applications to add separate RSS feeds (e.g. if we had a general library news RSS feed).

  • Edith
    Posted at 11:10h, 25 February Reply

    I’ve not had any trouble with RSS Connect except when the RSS feed itself had problems, e.g. invalid characters. You could try adjusting the refresh frequency? I’ve also found their support quite good which is unheard of for a Facebook app – they responded to my comments and made some changes to the app as a result.

    However I think Sam’s idea is a good one if you’re importing your own content. My library’s page (shameless plug: ) has a mixture of external content and new item feeds which wouldn’t work well as notes so I’m sticking to two RSS apps, and manually refreshing the Blog RSS Feed Reader once a week when the content changes.

    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 11:24h, 25 February Reply

      Thanks Edith, I’ll have a look at the settings for RSS-Connect and see if it’s something to do with that.

      I echo your concerns with multiple RSS feeds – we don’t have many at the moment but it is steadily growing and I hope we will have more in future with a new website on the way. I could use Notes for a general Library news feed but it would be good to use an RSS application so that I can add different RSS feeds more easily.

  • Katharine Widdows
    Posted at 19:47h, 24 April Reply

    Hi Jo,
    I dont know if I already mentioned this, but I used yahoo pipes to feed all the Warwick blogs into Facebook Notes – (I believe you used yahoo pipes for something like this before – although I cant remember much about that conversation – sorry!) I dont know if that helps at all.

    Have you found some other way around this yet?

  • Jo Alcock
    Posted at 11:06h, 25 April Reply

    Hi Katharine, thanks for letting me know this works.

    I haven’t been doing much on the Facebook page recently, I’m currently waiting for feedback on some recommendations I made so I’m only making small updates at the moment.

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