Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat – Social media has dramatically changed the way we reach and communicate with people. The use of social media platforms in connecting with your classmates and planning class reunions is becoming an important aspect of the whole process.
The BRHS Foundation has provided reunion planning assistance to class reunion committees for many years. We also use social media, primarily Facebook and Instagram, to reach thousands of graduates on a daily basis. We have adopted certain guidelines to ensure our social media promotes our mission and provides information that is accurate and for the most part, of a positive nature. We’d like to share with you some basic guidelines for creating a Class Year Facebook group/page or any other social media activity.
So, Where to Begin:
We’ll focus on Facebook as that is the platform most often used for class reunions, posting information, photos and links to other online resources. Instagram allows you to post almost everything to your Facebook page simultaneously, just be sure to use the same email account.
Designate one member of your reunion committee or classmate volunteer to create a Facebook Group or Page. What is the difference?
- A FB page is a two-way communication from you to your members and from your members to you (if you allow it), but not so much between members. They are good for companies and organizations who want to make announcements to large groups of people. People who “Like” your page cannot see others who have also liked it. Also, people who are not members of your class year can ‘Like’ your page. It’s not a big issue but it can be confusing when you are trying to get an accurate list of your actualclassmates
- A FB group allows communication between all members of the group: they are good for classmates to communicate among themselves with no one person or organization dominating the content. They promote online community and the sharing of stories and information with each other.
- When deciding what type of Facebook resource to create for your reunion planning needs, the most useful and flexible is a group. Groups can be quickly created directly from anyone’s personal Facebook page and they appear to members of the group as its own Facebook page. You can add or invite anyone to the Group, even if they are not on your personal Facebook “friend” list.
- Members of groups can see who else is in the Group and click on their profiles to learn more about other members. This is all part of the ‘connectivity and community’ that is important in finding people and successful reunion planning.
- To create a group or page: Log on to your personal page and on the upper right hand corner click the drop down arrow. Click ‘create a group’ or ‘create a page’ and follow the step by step instructions.
Now, About your Classmates and Your Content:
- Use a nostalgic, fun and familiar photo as your FB cover photo. The staff of the Foundation has an extensive photo library and access to a large catalog of yearbooks. Please feel free to contact us for fun and interesting photos for your social media activity.
- Finding classmates: A group allows you to invite those of your existing friends who are also classmates to join the group. A page allows you to invite friends to “Like” the page. Either way, start with that activity to build visibility for your group or page. Be sure to invite your classmates to invite other classmates that are not your friends.
- Scan and post yearbook photos and ask group members to identify classmates. Great photos generate the most activity on all social media.
- Your Class Reunion Event: it’s fairly easy to create an event from your group or page to announce your reunion and how to register. Just follow the instructions provided by Facebook. NOTE: Keep in the mind that creating a FB Event is a good reminder for classmates already on Facebook, but it is not always the best at getting an accurate count on reunion attendance. You will need to have an outside event planning website, such as Eventbrite or a traditional check payment via mail in reservations for an accurate guest count.
- Classmate News: Post interesting and newsworthy information about your classmates (ask for permission, if it is not public information!) Awards, career recognitions, personal achievements (completed the Boston Marathon, for instance…) generate interest and frequent visits. IMPORTANT: DO NOT POST ANY NEWS OR INFORMATION THAT IS OF A PERSONAL, DIFFICULT OR POTENTIALY EMBARRASSING NATURE. Your classmate’s second marriage might be a good thing, but it’s not appropriate for your class year group or page. When in doubt, don’t!
- Hashtags: Are great way to help spread excitement about the reunion across social media. Using popular hashtags like #TBT (Throwback Thursday) or #FBF (Flashback Friday) with fun ‘yearbook’ posts are a great idea. Creating your own personal class year hashtag ex. #BRHSClassof1980 is a great way to generated interest in your reunion. Hashtags can be used in all social media platforms too. Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are good for sharing fun photos and quick updated information about the reunion.
Controversial, Hardship & Sensitive Content and Your Class Group/Page:
This is a sticky subject and there is no right or wrong answer. However, it’s wise to monitor the group or page posts to be alerted to potential problems and monopolizing. There is no shortage of difficult situations in the world, even among your own classmates. But, you do not want your class year page to be inundated with requests for third party fundraisers, calls to action for the benefit of third parties, business promotions, and controversial topics. Make your page/group content primarily focus on the positive things happening among your classmates and Baton Rouge High School in general. We suggest that you designate a few classmates as administrators of the group/page and agree to monitor posts. Of course, you do want classmates to share things going on in their lives. We want to know if someone is okay (or not!) after a natural disaster, or is traveling to some interesting location or landed that dream job! If you feel like a classmate is monopolizing the page or group, you should contact them privately and ask them to be mindful of the mission of the page/group. A post about a new startup business is interesting, but using the page/group as free advertising is not ok. If your class year page becomes inundated with unappealing content, controversial topics or a constant barrage of other fundraising links, you will lose your members very quickly!
- Classmate Deaths and Illness: Post the news ONLY if you can source a published obituary – OR you have express permission from the family. Please be sensitive and NEVER post or allow others to comment on a controversial cause of death such as a suicide or overdose for example. You MUST get permission to post about classmates undergoing medical treatment or dealing with an illness (if they have not themselves made the situation public). Keep the post simple and informational, asking for well wishes, prayers and good thoughts on behalf of the person.
- Another Sticking Point: Requests for donations to GoFundMe, etc. to help on behalf of a classmate’s financial situation, disaster relief, etc. One way to post these types of requests is like this: “Our classmate Jane Doe is having a difficult time due to (issue). For more information on how to help, visit Jane’s FB page or Tom Smith’s page as he has all the details.” Just be mindful that if your class year page becomes an endless stream of fundraising requests – no matter the good reasons – you likely will diminish your members.
- We believe it IS appropriate and appreciated that you encourage support for our alma mater by promoting membership and charitable giving to the Baton Rouge High School Foundation. Sharing our Facebook page posts and encouraging annual class year giving is a wonderful way to create a positive, common bond and do meaningful good for the young people that are following in your footsteps.
Finally, the staff of the BRHS Foundation is available to help you with any of the activity and methods discussed here. Please feel free to contact us as follows: