Facebook Changes: Admin Roles - Why They Won't Help Your Private School

The internet world is finicky.  Normally when Facebook announces a revolutionary change, the overwhelming feedback in my newsfeed is negative.  Most people, including Facebook page admins, are still adjusting to the changes in the Timeline announced previously this spring.  And there are still many complaints.

Now this week, Facebook announces two significant modifications:  FB page admin roles and scheduling posts.  Today’s post will deal with the former; we will pick up the latter next week.

While the social media bandwagon is thrilled with the FB admin roles (and most of the big “gurus” out there are super giddy with nothing negative to say), I question how the new FB page admin roles will help your school.

First of all, so as not to be counted as a pessimist, I suggest a few ways they are nice:

  1. As you will see on Facebook’s official description of the new admin roles, I can see how helpful it can be to have someone as a “Moderator” who can respond and delete comments.  In a team concept, assigning someone that specific role can lighten the load and create more participation on the team.  They don’t have to create the content, but just monitor what’s posted already.
  2. If you hire an outside firm to run Facebook ads for you, I can see how assigning them the “Advertiser” role would give them access to insights and running the campaigns without access to the other features.  That creates some nice boundaries.
  3. While I have some issues with the “Content Creator” role (see below), I can see how making someone “Manager” allows them global access to change the admin roles as personnel changes on your social media team.

OK, I’ve been nice enough.  Now here’s why I don’t think the new admin roles on Facebook will help your school:

  • TOO MUCH AT ONCE – I think most schools struggle with understanding what an “Admin” did before – now they have to figure out 5 different roles and make the appropriate assignment.  While helpful to a few, many school FB admins will need to add the admin role description page to their “Summer Reading List” in order to figure it out by the time school starts again in the Fall 🙂
  • WEIRD ACCESS – Why would a “Moderator” need access to creating FB ads?  Why give a “Moderator” access to send messages as the page?  Along those lines, why does Facebook make every admin a “Manager” by default?  Really?  For those schools who can’t/won’t spend alot of time (especially over the summer) looking at all this, it may be tempting to start adding team members, including students, but not thinking that every team member has FULL ACCESS by default.  Seems I would have made everyone a lower level and then figured out a way to select the highest ranking official of the page (although that’s problematic, too).
  • INSIDE THE BOX THINKING – OK, I could have told Facebook this if they had asked – but why create 5 new random titles that obviously were named with a purpose yet often don’t fit the box they are in?  And I could have predicted a frustration level by users wanting certain roles to be allowed to do various tasks but not being allowed to do it because the rigid Facebook-assigned category says “no”!  Why not eliminate the odd titles and just allow “Managers” the opportunity to check the FUNCTIONS they would like each person to have instead of forcing them into a TITLE that may or may not fit their role.  This would allow alot more flexibility – something that Facebook users universally tend to demand.
  • STUDENT ACCESS, REALLY? – I have worked with a number of schools who wish they could turn over all or parts of the Facebook strategy to the students.  While I advise against an all-out giveaway, I love the thought of allowing students to contribute the content seen in the newsfeed of your school’s Facebook page.  But I don’t see a role here for students.  If you were to assign a student the role as “Moderator”, all they would be able to do is respond and delete comments.  Do we trust the students with this much on the page?  I wouldn’t.  If we make them “Content Creator”, then we give them full access to the page (with the exception of changing the roles of the different team members).  This is not a good thing.  As much as I love student involvement in marketing your school, I don’t think you want to so quickly assign students a level of responsibility (and perhaps temptation) that gives them access to edit the page and adding apps.  That seems alot like handing over keys to the new family car with no chaperone and only a permit.   I wish there was a “Contributor” role that was for only posting status updates and other media – but not necessarily full access access to the ads, comments, apps, etc.

What most schools really need when it comes to Facebook is someone to create the content.  But allowing the wrong people access to so much else may create caution blocks with some organizational leaders, thus further strangling the Facebook strategy of your school.  Rather than opening up the participation, my fear is that the higher ups in schools may double down and limit the players, notably limiting the role of students.  That’s the real loser in this rollout.  Let’s hope that Facebook continues to improve and add another layer or two of admin roles that would invite dynamic contribution without as much access to the other stuff.

– Randy