Tag Archives: twitter

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.

How Twitter Can Increase Your Website Traffic

Twitter and microblogging have definitely been embraced at a much slower pace than some of the “full” social networks. The demographics of Twitter users are limited to fewer countries than ubiquitous sites like Facebook and YouTube and generally isn’t as popular among the higher education target market of 18-22. 

Yet microblogging can be very effective for blasting short messages of information as well as links to content on the web.  Since we all want to post on a variety of platforms to ensure our message is heard wherever our students might be virtually “hanging out” many people now use social network aggregators, such as TweetDeck or HootSuite, that allow a user to send one update to multiple social networks simultaneously.

At my institution we generally recruit students from Asia for undergraduate programs. This market is definitely not classified as a top user group amongst Twitter but I still find having a microblogging content stream to be very useful.

What we have done to take advantage of the Twitter platform, while not necessarily having hundreds of followers, is added our Twitter feed to our Video & Media website page.  Our IT department created a feed box that shows our 3 most recent tweets that appear on the page in chronological order. For basic search engine purposes this allows the content on this page to continually update and change, two keys to increasing hits to your page. This feed box feature allows realtime message updates (and active hyperlinks) on a static website.

Check out the screen shots below.


I’m swooning over my new iPad (2) so there may be a few posts in the coming months that focus on the wonderful discovery of related apps.

Hitpad is an iPad app that offers a snapshot of trending news across the web. As we increasingly have more places to look for news and events happening in the world Hitpad simpifies this process by providing the top trending topics across the web in real time.

Rather than just a twitter feed, a Google search, or frequently viewed YouTube videos Hitpad’s beautiful interface offers a series of columns featuring a variety of sources & content trending on a topic: news, tweets, video, web, and photos.

On their site the developers/founders share a bit about what makes Hitpad successful and different:

Compared to the visual news or feeds readers, Hitpad has four main differences:

  • Hitpad is a rich visual dashboard that tells you what are the most important things you should know today in your areas of interest
  • Hitpad is instrumentation by measuring, analyzing and determining what is important to consume in order to minimize reverb and improve discovery
  • Hitpad is agnostic to the publishers that are providing the data
  • Hitpad is tuned and personalized based on your interests
You can find it here in the Apple store.

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

Weibo | The Twitter Of China

On my recent visit to China I asked all the young study abroad counselors:

What’s the hottest service in the social networking sphere these days?

The answer:

China’s version of Twitter.

Started by media portal giant, Sina, Weibo is a microblogging site, similar to Twitter, that has recently soared in popularity.  According to Sina there are over 100 million users and millions of posts per day. Their growth rate is more than 10 million new users per month.  Weibo accounts are mostly individual users posting content, much like users do on Facebook and Twitter, but the service also has more than 5,000 companies and 2,700 media organizations actively posting.

Since most US-based social networking sites are blocked in China (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, etc) you’ll want to open a Weibo account if you are interested in promoting your school to the China market.  Over 100 million potential viewers is no small audience. While some users do update in English it’s recommended you have a Chinese speaker feeding local language content from the account.

You can sign up for an account here: http://t.sina.com.cn/

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sina_Weibo

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 Most Influential Colleges on Twitter

The Most Influential Colleges on Twitter, based on research done by Klout.

The list below is the 12 most influential higher education institutions on Twitter based on a Klout score of 1-100, measuring click, comments and retweets.

  1. Stanford University – 70
  2. Syracuse University – 70
  3. Harvard University – 64
  4. University of Wisconsin-Madison – 64
  5. University of California, Berkeley – 56
  6. Butler University – 56
  7. Tufts University – 55
  8. Temple University – 53
  9. University of Minnesota – 52
  10. University of Texas at Austin – 52
  11. Marquette University – 52
  12. Indiana University – 51

Tip to Improve Your Institution’s Twitter Presence: Follow these schools on Twitter and monitor the contents of their tweets, how they engage their community, and what their followers retweet & comment on.


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