A few years ago I would receive Facebook Friend Requests from EMS Agencies jumping onto the social network around the rate of two a week. Although that pace has slowed ( hopefully because people read my post at PIOSocialMediaTraining.com on the subject ) it is still something that happens on occasion.
Use A Facebook Page Not A Facebook Profile
The Facebook Terms Of Service (TOS) limit Facebook profiles to individuals using their real names:
4. Registration and Account Security
Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:
1. You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
It is important to adhere to these terms for a few reasons. First and foremost, Facebook is a privilege and not a right. If you break the rules Facebook can, and will, delete your account causing the loss of any content created and time invested in the presence. Another reason is from a liability perspective. Facebook users can allow the public to see limited information but their “Friends” can see much more. This creates an expectation of privacy for that information. Creating a “Friendship” provides access to that information that, if misused, may create liability for the agency.
A great example of the dangers when misusing a profile can be found in this article about a Massachusetts firefighter fired over his Facebook postings:
In one post, Doherty called a personal friend a “pickle puffer” and sarcastically wrote that the police chief’s approach to planning for an impending storm was “who gives a f**k.” In another post, he suggested that a photo of two animals appearing to engage in sex represented the acting fire chief and the town administrator.
In addition to the acting chief’s secretary, the postings were available for viewing by the acting chief’s daughter, as well as entire departments in other towns that had “group profiles.”
For organizations, businesses, and brands to have a presence on Facebook they must create a Facebook Page. Avoid the hassle later on and do it right from the start, create a page.
Plan Your Presence
Pre-planning is an important aspect of much of what we do. Having a Facebook presence isn’t much different. Consider answering the following questions first:
- What image are you going to use to represent the agency?
- What type of content will go onto Facebook?
- Who will manage the presence? (Facebook allows multiple Page Administrators)
- What is the story you are trying to tell?
- Who is your target audience?
Creating A Facebook Page
Creating a Facebook Page is an extremely simple process:
- Go to Create A Page
- Select the type of page you want
- Choose a category for your page and agree to the Facebook Pages Terms
- Upload a Page Profile picture
- Choose a cover photo
- Invite people to subscribe to your page
- Enter your basic information such as your website and a brief bio on the organization
- Click the link on the top that says “Manage“, select “Use Facebook as Your Page” and begin generating content!
Some Content Ideas For EMS Agencies
Hopefully your agency has an established hub where the bulk of your content is generated. If not, I strongly suggest signing up for the free PIOSocialMediaTraining.com E-mail Boot Camp to learn about the hub and spoke model that I endorse. Here are a few content ideas for your new Facebook page:
- Share links to the content on your hub
- Upload photos of personnel and events
- Ask for feedback using the Facebook Questions App
- Share safety/preparedness content
- Share public safety announcement videos
- Share confirmed news regarding incidents
Does your agency use Facebook? Does it use it the right way?