This article breaks down a few important tips to help educational institutions develop their social media strategy.
Their 6 point best practices are as follows:
1. Develop a Strategy and Set Goals
2. Pick and Choose Your Platforms
3. Empower and Support Individual Departments
4. Put Guidelines in Place
5. Develop a Consistent Voice Across Platforms
6. Communicate Across Campus
Some key take-aways from the article are to consider what audiences you’re attracting (prospective student vs. current student vs. alumni) and to choose your platforms accordingly. There is also a lot to be said for choosing a few key platforms and providing a consistent presence on them rather than spreading your office too thin on every social network, but failing to provide regular content updates and engaging with the online community.
One of the biggest challenges we often face is communicating across departments within an institution. Many of our departments have different goals (obviously admissions is looking to recruit new students while the program offices are more focused on disseminating information to current students), but see if you are able to connect with one staff member within key departments across campus in an effort to unite on the social media front.
If even 4-5 departments band together it will generate a much stronger online presence, create a consistent voice (to Hubspot’s point #5), and increase your reach. This endeavor may take a significant time commitment upfront and may require quite a bit of scheduling to have some sit-down face-time meetings with department representatives.
In the beginning of this process you may find that the topic of social media does not even make it on the agenda. Be patient. Focus on relationship building and provide examples of how your office can support their department’s goals. Also keep in mind that many university officials didn’t grow up in the Web 2.0 generation, and still many think it is not important as an “official channel of communication.” Once you have developed their trust you can present your united social media concept and showcase how it will deliver benefits to their office, as well as yours. Think of this process as an investment that can provide long term benefits for the institution as a whole and ultimately greatly help with your recruitment and retention efforts.
Read the full article here