For Extra Credit: Deeper Social Media for Schools


So you’re a senior Admissions or Marketing or Development person in a college or university…

You’ve established some social media outposts (nearly 100% of you have). Now it’s time for What’s Next. Here are some thoughts about sharpening your presence.


Facebook: How to make the most of it

Most schools dove into Facebook to “engage students.”  But it’s time think outside the fan base you have and revisit your Facebook presence by asking: What are the primary things I want to accomplish? For consideration: (Thanks, University of Washington)

  • Connect students with mentors
  • Provide a network for alumni
  • Boost student engagement
  • Alert students to upcoming events and deadlines
  • Enhance minority recruitment
  • Drive traffic to key pages on your site
  • Give students another outlet for getting answers to their questions

The point: Your Facebook content strategy and what you post and author should be objectives-based, as should the KPIs you develop to evaluate it.


Twitter: Think before you answer

In our view, the decision to create a Twitter presence depends largely on the size and focus of the school. Bigger schools often have individual feeds for different departments. Yale, for example.

Schools who are big in research are often heavy Twitter users so they can post achievements and have discussions about areas of study with students, professors, and other schools. Smaller schools may find that Twitter is not necessary, or not worth the time.

However, American University is a school on the smaller side and still gets an A in the Twitter category because of their effective tweets and retweets.

Remember that Twitter is used most effectively by marketing companies, consumer brands, and news organizations – entities that have a constant stream of content to share. We think that until you do, leave Twitter be.


LinkedIn: Where schools get down to business

Yes, LinkedIn skews older, but that’s why it’s so valuable for Development and Alumni Relations.

For all communities, LinkedIn’s Youniversity is a good overall content platform for articles, videos, news, blog content, and school profile information. But the real value is in LinkedIn’s credibility. Members trust it to guide decision making to the tune of 87%, and nearly 50% rely on it for information on brands.

And remember: Higher Education is now the 3rd largest industry on LinkedIn, outpacing software and telecommunications.

One of the most influential schools on LinkedIn is University of California, Berkeley. See how they are getting their work done on this platform.


YouTube: Required

A strong YouTube presence could include faculty and student interviews, virtual campus tours, a look at dorm rooms, classrooms, and athletic facilities – the things that trigger engagement. Plus YouTube will help with SEO.

Remember: YouTube also includes YouTube for Schools, YouTube EDU, and – three content areas that allow content sharing, and ways of using YouTube in the classroom. Setting it up is easy.


Pinterest & Instagram: Electives

Pinterest and Instagram are very visual (but you can provide visual content in other social media, too). Both platforms are great for consumer brands, and big with younger demographics. Stanford’s Instagram is a nice example of what a college’s account should look like.

So before you enter these areas, ask yourself: To what extent do you see your educational institution as a consumer brand? Start with goals and objectives before you chase trends.


Google+: For extra credit

Google+ lets you share content with multiple communities of like-minded people. The layout is clean and easy to access. And the synergies with other Google products is, of course, strong.

But the Hangouts On Air feature – where professors stream LIVE discussions, debates, and lessons – is where the excitement is. It enables a dynamic and free exchange of ideas. For best practices, look at this sparkaction blog. Or, check out the most influential colleges on Google+.

Social changes every day. For the latest on what’s happening, contact us.