Tag Archives: Facebook

Best Time to Post Facebook and Twitter Content

From: Raka Creative

Spring 2012 Social Media User Statistics

Source: TweetSmarter


Moving Away from Email

There have been a number of statistics released in recent years showing the drastic decline of email usage among digital natives, aka current university students. With the popularity of texting, mobile apps and social media students want their information in bite-size pieces; little snippets they can read on the go. This means as we correspond on behalf of the institution we need to consider the amount of content included in our messages and focus on disseminating just the most essential information. Think of it as: “they probably won’t read beyond the third line, so get it out in two.”

Here’s a great quote on the decline of email communication from We Are Social comScore 2011: It’s  a Social World:

Not surprisingly, the ”digital natives” are moving away from emails in favour of social networks: email usage among 15-24 year olds has dropped by 42% over the last year whereas usage of social network grew by 34% in the same time period. Social networking sites now reach 82% of the world’s internet users, i.e. 1.2 billion people around the world.

Gone are the days of 5 paragraph emails where you can provide long introductions, program overviews, hyperlinks to multiple pages of your website and prose about how great your institution is for them. Instead of sending one long correspondence every few weeks think about sharing your information with students more frequently, in shorter, bite-size pieces.

Several suggestions on how to do this:

Facebook: Create pages and groups as necessary to support the communities you want to engage. Many institutions create a new page for each incoming class. This online space is a great way for students to engage with their future classmates and then keep the discussion going after they meet face-to-face at orientation, start classes, and to plan social events. You as the administrator can post important information and encourage a discussion via the comment and like features.

The chat feature is a great tool for quick interactions with individual students. I like to call the chat feature the new version of “open door policy.” If you have the chat feature enabled and Facebook open on your browser at the office students will see you online and may drop you a quick note or question via FB chat. I have advisers who tell me that sometimes these “quick questions” can turn into a 20 minute chat session. My suggestion is to have a rough time limit (which you don’t necessarily need to tell the student about). If you have been going back and forth for more than 5-7 minutes, ask them to make an appointment to come in so you can give them further, undivided attention.

Twitter: Create those winning taglines that have a hook. The 1-2 line text can then be followed up with a hyperlink to a website URL for more information. Here are few examples:

1. “Submitted that scholarship application? The deadline is just 5 days away!” [insert hyperlink here]
2. “Register for your classes early and receive a $10 bookstore gift card.” [insert hyperlink here]
3. “Signed up for the New York City trip? Only 5 spots left!” [insert hyperlink here]

For example 1 include the link to your institution’s online scholarship application.
For example 2 include the link to the online registration website.
For example 3 include the link to the activities page where students can sign up for the trip but also see what other events are coming up.

You could then encourage students to tweet back to you when they have followed the link or completed the call to action. If you see students signed up for the NYC trip after your tweet, tweet them to thank them for signing up and tell them how excited you are they are participating.

Text Message: In the US text messaging is usually an additional cost for students so receiving promotional content that bears a cost to the receiver the is not the best way to win over your audience. The good news is that many phone operating systems are moving to free text services within their own platform. For example, RIM implemented Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and recently Apple created iMessage for iPhone OS5 users. This allows free messages to be sent to phone owners on the same platform.

This doesn’t mean you need to roll out a blanket advertising campaign and text every prospective student in your contact list, rather receiving a short personal message from you about their application process or class registration might be a great way to prompt them to ask you that looming question about scholarships that has been on their mind.


On a fun, and partially related note, here is an interesting article from the New York Times, Everyone Speaks Text Message, on how Text Messaging is actually creating language development. Another positive outcome as a result of technology advancements.


Reviewers are deeming Google+ (aka Google Plus) Facebook’s newest challenger in the social networking business.

Google+, or The Google+ Project, is Google’s new social networking platform. With their Circles feature they are trying to solve one of the main issues social networking platforms have: user’s “friends” are all linked into the same network.

You know, we’ve all faced it at one time: that situation when you receive a friend request from a current student but adding them means they will be able to see your brother’s friend’s posts, who sometimes shares slightly inappropriate jokes or photos on your wall.

Facebook has tried to solve this “meshing” issue with an option to “group” friends but it still doesn’t completely solve the fact that we are complex beings with multiple communities of friends that may not always be compatible.
[For more information on this see my previous post The Real Life Social Network featuring a Slideshare presentation by Paul Adams discussing identity and human social interaction are affecting the future of web & online social networking design.]

Google’s approach, according to Bradley Horowitz, who oversees Google’s communications products and social applications, is:

“[With Google+] we’ve created a system that’s based on the concept of circles, so that I can take my college friends and drag them into a circle called ‘college buddies,’ and I can take my work colleagues and drag them into a circle that’s called ‘work friends.’ And I can share selectively the parts of myself with those circles that I choose to.”

What this means, beyond avoiding mishaps due to online exposure between current students and your brother’s inappropriate friends, is that you can more effectively target different groups of students and contacts in your social networking profile such as those currently on campus, new incoming students, individual groups studying for a semester abroad at various locations, your education field professional contacts, etc.

It remains to be seen how effective Google’s new platform is at managing these multiple communities in the online environment. With the launch of Google+ some reviewers have noted the previous failed attempts Google has had at social networking, projects such as Buzz and Wave, but the Google+ Project seems to have potential.

Several other Google+ features besides Circles is Hangouts, which is an online space where up to 10 users can video chat with each other, and Sparks, a stream of online content including videos, photos and article links based on topics of interest to the user.

One other notable point on this project is that Google is approaching privacy, and how information is shared, quite differently from the notorious social network leader, Facebook (who is well known for their lack of respect for users’ privacy).

Google is following its typical roll-out of a new product: beta testing by users invited to join by a friend who has invitations to share. This allows Google to watch how a small group of early adopters use and engage with the product, affording the developers insight into what changes & improvements need to be made before opening the product to the public.

We’ll see if this product finally puts Google on the social networking map and helps us more effectively manage the ever-increasing complex web of our online existence. I, for one, have hope and look forward to seeing them give Facebook a good competitor in the social networking game.

You can view the Google+ demo here.

Demographics of Social Media

A nice visual representation of social media demographics from Ad Age.

The Pros & Cons Social Media has on Students

Courtesy of Online Education this graphic shows some of the advantages and disadvantages social media has on the college student.

A few of the most notable facts include:

  • 96% of students use Facebook
  • Almost half of all students on Facebook consider themselves sadder than their friends
  • Grades are positively affected by collaborative work online
  • “Facebook Addiction” is searched 350x more than “Cigarette Addiction”
  •  Social media users feel more “connected to their institution”
  • 1 in 3 students use social media for educational purposes

Is Social Media Ruining Students?
Via: OnlineEducation.net

How to Leverage the New Facebook Features

Many of us maintain a Facebook page for our institution (or at least have a username and log in for one), but the challenge is leveraging the features of the social network to promote programs, events and features of your school.  Facebook recently made a number of changes to their interface and it is now even easier to promote your “brand” to your fans, which in our case, are usually our students.

In 7 Tips and Marketing Strategies for the New Facebook Fan Pages Kristi Hines not only tells us how the new Facebook changes are beneficial, but she provides step-by-step instructions on to take advantage of the new features.

Here are her 7 tips, with my comments on how you can implement this on your institution’s Facebook page.

1.Using Facebook as a Fan Page
If you’re not currently the page admin, then become one following Hines’ steps. Then begin liking, commenting and interacting on other pages started by different groups on campus and in the local community where your institution is based. This could be the school’s football team, the Drama Club, on campus Counseling Center, the students’ favorite local Taco stand, etc.

2. Featured Likes
Find a few of the most popular Facebook groups on campus and add them as Featured Likes.

3.  Top Five Profile Photos
Your brand is your campus and your students. Include 1-2 professional shots of the campus and have the remaining 3 be nice, but candid, photographs of students (perhaps even ones that have already been posted on FB.) You can simply tag your page in the photo to show up in your photo feed. Just make sure students are okay with having their photos representing the school, but since they’re already on FB they’re often amendable with the image being used.

4.  Showing Page Owners
If you/the FB admin is well-known, and well-liked, around campus it may be good to have the admin name public. I always recommend having students contribute  to the FB page (a great part-time marketing internship for a business student!) so if you have a popular student who is posting for you it would be good to feature him/her as students will more likely fan the page if they know their friend is writing content and involved in the page development.

5. Getting in Your Fans News Feeds
Have your student intern post frequently about what’s going on around campus.  S/he can come up with weekly trivia questions, games or contests that can be posted to encourage comments and engagement among the students body/page fans.

6. Linking to a Fan Page from a Personal Profile
In our case this would be students including their school in their personal profile information. Again, I would use your intern to post about this feature to encourage their friends/peers to pick your institution’s fan page from the drop down menu so it appears as a link in their profile.

7. Where are my Tabs?
The key is using step 3 of her process:
Step 3. If you want to drive visitors to a specific tab on your fan page, you can link to it directly by clicking on the tab’s link from your fan page and then copying the URL from your browser.
These links could be new videos on your YouTube page, a new department website, or a link to an article written in the local newspaper about a student on campus.

You can read Hines’ full article at the link above.  She also includes the following additional resources:

Move Over Blogging?

The New York Times article, Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites like Twitter, discusses the evolution of posting content online and how recently young people are moving away from blogging; opting for shorter methods of communicating their thoughts, such as Facebook posts and Twitter.  Many young bloggers say they are too busy to post lengthy entries, and feel many of their friends don’t have time to read their long posts but will be apt to comment, reply or retweet on their content.

There are some who still feel blogging has its place.  Quick updates, tweets and status posts don’t always provide an outlet for more detailed information, research and reflection. The article points out that while younger generations find blogging cumbersome, and are moving to methods that convey their information in shorter bursts, the older generations are still interested in blogging.

It is important we are aware of shifting interests in our students’ social media habits but I believe blogging is still an important part of the online landscape, and in the classroom it can be a great educator’s tool. As we see an increase in written shorthand and a rise in grammatical errors blogging provides an online platform for students to write, not just craft a one sentence summary.  Including a blogging component in your curriculum encourages students to improve their prose, work on their essay style, develop an argument, present findings, analyze information from multiple sources, and find a voice. Encouraging students to craft a message, think critically, and present a body of information in essay form is an important skill; one that they don’t engage in as much as past generations. Gone are the days of letter writing, replaced by the text, tweet or Facebook post. Using blogging as a curriculum element encourages the students to think about their audience, because instead of just an instructor grading their work they have their peers and the online community reading their writing as well.

*Tip: If you have students write a blog they can still post their blog title and weblink to Twitter and Facebook to encourage their peers, online friends and followers to engage on the topic.

Image Credit

The Facebook Era

The Facebook Era Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, Sell More Stuff.

Clara spoke at NAFSA in 2009 discussing how to use, and leverage, Facebook and social media in international education. The following background information is from her website biography.

Clara Shih was named one of Fast Company’s Most Influential People in Technology. Clara is CEO and founder of Hearsay, a San Francisco-based software company that has built a leading social media management application for businesses.

Clara’s bestselling book, The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff, has been featured in The New York Times and is used as a sales and marketing textbook at Harvard Business School.

In 2007, Clara created the first business application on Facebook with her Faceconnector application, which integrates Facebook and CRM. Previously, Clara was a marketing and alliances executive at salesforce.com, where she led the company’s social networking initiatives. Clara has also worked in corporate strategy and software development at Google and Microsoft. Clara has a BS in computer science and economics and MS in computer science from Stanford University, as well as MS in internet studies from Oxford, where she studied as a United States Marshall Scholar.

She is a frequently invited keynote speaker on social media at global conferences including AlwaysOn, Web 2.0 Expo, Enterprise 2.0, CRM Evolution, Direct Marketing Association, American Marketing Association, Toronto TechWeek, and Social Ad Summit. Clara blogs at http://thefacebookera.com and Twitters as @clarashih.

You can follow her blog and purchase The Facebook Era via Amazon.


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