These past few weeks, Facebook has launched two major initiatives that can help colleges bring some of the Facebook experience to their own website. On June 24, Facebook rolled out the Live Stream Box, and followed that up with the July 8 introduction of the Fan Box. Both could be useful tools for colleges, in general, and admission offices specifically.
The Live Stream Box
You may have seen an early version of this if you visited CNN during Obama's inauguration. Facebook's Live Stream Box essentially creates a way for visitors to your website to comment back and forth in real-time. It seems best suited to allow your users to engage during a live event. Some ideas where this may be useful include a commencement speech, a live web chat by an admissions counselor, or an online broadcast of a college sporting event.
Some Benefits of the Live Stream Box
First off, the comments are in real-time and don't require page reloads. Secondly, Facebook is doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you. They are hosting the experience. You just have to drop a little code into your page. The system supported millions of users during the inauguration so it should be fine handling your events.
Finally, the biggest benefit is that comments users make in the Live Stream Box show up on their profile and in their friends' Facebook streams. And each of these comments includes a link back to your website.
Set-Up of the Live Stream Box
Facebook provides instructions for how to incorporate this feature into your website. Someone with some web expertise will likely need to be involved since it takes a little more than just copy-and-paste if you want to get the most out of it.
The Fan Box
Facebook's Fan Box helps you promote your Facebook Fan Page right on your own website. It gives you a way to bring these visitors into the conversation that is happening on Facebook. It also offers visitors a way to easily connect with your college or university as a fan.
Some Benefits of the Fan Box
First, the Fan Box enables users to become a fan of your Facebook Page without having to go to the main Facebook website. There is a Become a Fan option front and center. Second, you can show the Stream from your Fan Page. Visitors could read your latest Fan Page posts right from your admissions page. Finally, you can highlight the growing popularity of your Facebook Page. The Fan Box can display the number of fans your Page has and even some pictures of those fans. Nothing encourages people to join faster than seeing that others have already done so.
Set-Up of the Fan Box
Facebook has made it really easy to take advantage of the Fan Box feature. For Page admins, there will be an Add Fan Box to your site link under the profile picture. This will redirect you to a page where you can get some copy-and-paste code to drop into your own website.
If you want to learn more about these tools, you should check out these pages:
- Posting to the Stream in Real Time with the Live Stream Box
- Turning Website Visitors into Facebook Fans with the Fan Box