Integrate Facebook

Friday, Aug 8, 2014

There are multiple ways you can use social media to improve your sales and quality of service to your customers. Facebook is a place of conversation. A ‘Like’ to your organisation means exposure to a person’s friends list - which could be in the hundreds or even thousands. Enabling student to converse with each other and the facilitator can enable loyalty and community within a familiar setting. In you can automate your administration of Facebook to:

  • Use Facebook events to promote your courses

  • Use Groups to engage with students

  • Use the sms to facebook gateway to communicate directly

Using Facebook Events to promote your courses

Facebook Events are created from within a group so once you know which of the three options above you will use then the events can be created, and all subscribers invited to that event. Events can have photos used to promote them.

See Facebook Event Creation

Adding your courses automatically to facebook enables you to promote your events to your facebook visitors with less effort.

Creating Facebook Events

Creating an event from within a page has the following advantages:

  • the event is included under the event list tab of your Facebook Page

  • you are able to promote your events using facebook’s paid-for promotion advertising

  • access tools such as insights (statistics), Ticket URLs, co-hosts

  • you can share into a Facebook Group

But it also have restrictions:

  • All discussion is public

  • All events are public

  • Individuals, not Pages post messages to groups

Each organisation’s needs vary however our advice is to set up a Facebook Page for your organisation, create events as the Facebook Page automatically using, include the registration link in the Ticket URL and description, give your administrator access as a co-host to the events that you create and share the events within the Facebook Groups if groups are being used. Use your Groups to have direct contact with your customers, perhaps on a per subject basis to aid support and answer subject matter questions. Create one group, or multiple groups on a subject-by-subject or course date basis depending on:

  • the numbers of students you can attract (larger numbers will lead to more community discussion and engagement, therefore more groups)

  • the length of the course (longer courses suggest a greater personal connection between participants, therefore more groups)

  • the engagement of the students (an obligatory course may not necessarily be something students are passionate about to enter into off-campus discussion, a career or life changing event will be more engaging therefore more suited to group discussion)

  • confidence in managing and gaining value (to start you may not know if social media will deliver benefit, so minimal work to start with is sensible, ie create few group to start with and move to more groups once confidence has been gained.

There are two parts to support documentation about Facebook events:

  • Configuration guidance
  • User guidance

Using Groups to engage with students

It is necessary to understand how this will work, the pros and cons of each. You have three different ways to set up group creation:

  • One per Course Date; good for larger groups or longer courses

  • One per Course Category; good for shorter courses but enables you to target and have conversations about a particular theme

  • One for all your courses; useful if you have few students, or want to cross sell to your customers other courses that you deliver.

Groups can have descriptions, photos and be promoted on pages that you manage

There are two parts ot support documentation about Facebook groups:

SMS to facebook gateway

Using this you can:

  • Add a friend who supply you with their registered mobile number. You do this by setting up a field on the registration form requesting the user’s mobile phone number and then sending a request via an email to your country’s shortcode number

  • Update your organisation’s status; completed/started/exam completed. By triggering an email to your country’s facebook number

  • Poke someone when they have a message about their course or need remindering about an assignment that is due

How to do this

  1. To communicate with a student you need their mobile phone number in a format that includes the country code, and that number needs to be registered with their facebook account

  2. Set up email templates that use the subject line (depending on your email to sms provider) and construct the sms messages as you might an email in publish > content, restricting to 160 characters where possible (due to the limit of sms messages)

  3. Once the message template is created check the field ‘Email to SMS address’ under Setup > Organisation from your email to sms provider, and the login, created in Setup > Logins for sms messages is set up using the ‘facebook’ role, created in Publish > Options > Roles. The email address for the facebook login should use your ‘Email to SMS address’ details, copy and paste it to create the email address using your country’s provider shortcodes, eg.

  4. Create a process rule to send the email, ensuring that the To address is the facebook role.

  5. Ensure that the facebook login is associated to your course masters so that it can then be used when sending the messages.



You need to ensure that gathering mobile phone details is done using the appropriate validation to ensure the security of the sms messages you send - not doing so might lead to messages being sent that include other codes which could compromise your own account.