Note: The Department of Energy's official use of Facebook is still evolving. We welcome feedback and suggestions to keep processes and best practices current and up-to-date.
What is Facebook and Why Should I Use It?
Facebook is an online social networking website on which users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages. Additionally, users may join Groups or Fan Pages of common interests. There are roughly 135 million Americans and 500 million people worldwide using Facebook.
Facebook provides the Department with a platform to share news and questions and gives people interested in our issues a place to connect and share with each other.
Most importantly, since so many more people use Facebook than would normally communicate with a government agency, the platform greatly expands the number of people likely to interact with the Department of Energy on a day-to-day basis.
Account Set-up and Management
Develop your strategy
- Define your goals for the account.
- Determine what you have to offer through your Facebook Page, on a regular basis, to the people you're trying to reach?
- Decide -- do you have the capacity, resources and expertise to actively engage your community and maintain your Facebook Page?
Applying for an account
Creating your account
Once the New Media Office approves your request to create a new account, you can start the process of building your Page by following these steps:
- Go to http://www.facebook.com
- Search for "Create new Facebook Page" in the search box at the top and then select that option.
- Choose "Brand, Product, or Organization," and select "Government" from the drop down box
- Before you enter the name of your Page, make sure the name is approved and final. Once the name is set, it cannot be changed.
- Check this box: "Do not make the Page publicly visible at this time."
- Enter remaining information.
- Create your (not yet public) Page.
Initial Setup and Configuration
There are several steps to setting up your Page after creating your account. We provide some details below but you may need to search the Facebook help system for additional assistance.
Change the photo
- Mouse over the photo in the upper left corner and choose to change the picture.
- Use an image or icon that has been approved by your Public Affairs contact to represent the Page.
- Navigate to the page you wish to add and click on the "Add to my Page's Favorites" link just below their display picture.
- Add the Department of Energy and Secretary Chu to your Page's favorites, along with Pages from other national labs, field offices, or programs as appropriate.
"Write Something About Yourself" section
This small box appears on the Wall view under your display picture. You should utilize the space to present a biography or mission statement. Click the small pencil icon in the upper right corner to edit it.
On your wall, click the "Settings" button on the right side and ensure your settings meet the criteria below:
- Check this box: "Comments on stories will be expanded by default."
- "Fan Permissions" controls what fans will be able to share on your Page. Allow comments but disable their ability to post links, photos and videos to avoid potential spammers or advertisements.
Publish and Manage Your Page
Once you have finished setting up your Page, select the edit option and return to the first "Settings" section and change "Published Status" to "Published," which means your Page is now publicly visible. You may change this setting back to "Unpublished" later if you need to.
As soon as you've published your Page, you must begin the process of removing third-party ads from the right sidebar by sending an email email@example.com. In the email you should provide your Page's URL. Do not actively promote your Page until this process is completed and your Page is ad free.
Note: Facebook's own ads will still appear.
Get a Facebook username (short URL)
Once you have 25 fans, get a short, easy-to-remember URL by going to http://www.facebook.com/username. Once there, you'll see the link "Set a Username For Your Page". Choose your Page and then enter a simple and logical name (example: http://www.facebook.com/energygov).
Promote your Page
People can elect to follow your Page, but only if they know about it.
- Identify contacts who would otherwise benefit from the information on your Page, and invite them to like the Page. Send a short note explaining what the Page has to offer them (remember, people are thinking "what's in it for me?") and include a link to the Page.
- Write a blog post for Energy Blog, talking about what you plan to do with your Facebook Page (you should contact your Web Content Coordinator to discuss this).
- Promote your Page everywhere you're active online. Send out an email notification, add a link to your email signature and/or put the address on your business cards.
Rules of Engagement: Dos and Don't's
- Plan your content to coincide with a major outreach moment, but also post when you have something to say.
- Share links, photos, and videos on your Page. It's best to provide links back to your website with each update, but when appropriate, you may also link to other sites per normal external link procedures.
- Write as if you're talking to a friend, not writing a news release. For example, instead of writing "The Department of Energy announces new program to provide benefits to." write "Hey, sign-up to get benefits! We just started a new program." Instead of "The Department of Energy will be providing individuals with ." write "We'll give you ."
- Ask questions to encourage a conversation. Make sure the questions are open ended to avoid Paperwork Reduction Act concerns.
- Ask for your community's thoughts, experiences, and stories.
- Listen to what people are saying and respond as appropriate. For more guidance on how to respond, please consult your contact in Public Affairs.
- Regularly review Facebook metrics via the "Insights" link in the left sidebar (visible only to Page admins).
- Start discussions using the "Discussion" area of your Page.
- Embed additional content, such as applications, widgets, and RSS feeds when appropriate.
- Don't add any applications before you have done research to ensure they are safe and don't collect Personally Identifiable Information or invite other security risks.
- Don't delete comments unless they are in clear violation of the Department's online commenting policy (your followers will often deal with problem users on your behalf anyway).
- Don't get into an argument with a follower. This reflects poorly on the organization and can often lead to negative publicity.
- Don't create a "Group" (our Terms of Service only covers Pages).
- Don't use your personal account to speak on behalf of the Department, unless previously authorized to do so.