Category Archives: corporate image

Institutional Social Media Policy

The rapidly growing use of social media in the education field means creating a social media policy is important, if not essential, for your institution. From prospective student recruitment to current student engagement, it is helpful if the institution has clear guidelines on what faculty, staff and students need to adhere to when communicating online via social media.

Amanda Vandervort has compiled a list of 15 universities who have created a social media policy, and made it public. This is a great resource, and a helpful starting point, to begin collaborating with your administration on creating your institution’s own social media policy.

The institutions listed include:
* Tufts University
* University of Kansas
* Montana State University Athletics
* University of Michigan
* Colorado State University
* Seattle University
* University of Kentucky
* Washington University in St. Louis
* California State University, Fresno
* Eastern University
* Ball State University
* Florida International University
* University of Oregon
* DePaul University
* Vanderbilt University

Visit her original post, Fifteen University Social Media Policies for links to the individual social media policy documents.

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6 Best Practices for Universities Embracing Social Media

Content from: Hubspot
Original article posted at Mashable

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

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Your Institution on Wikipedia

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Most likely you’ve visited Wikipedia when searching for basic information on the web. It is one of the most visited sites on the Internet and has become successful in part due to the collaborative community development style of the content. Users create an account with Wikipedia and are free to edit information on any entry (assuming it’s accurate, sited when necessary, and relevant to the entry topic-or it will be taken down).

There are many people, especially in academia, who do not consider Wikipedia a credible source of information on a topic because the contributors may not be considered “experts.” Yet in this increasingly social world there is great value in collaborative information and putting the monitoring and editing privileges of that content into the hands of the users. While Wikipedia is usually not the most complete source on a topic it can provide an introduction and overview as well as external links to related content.

If you haven’t already looked up your institution on Wikipedia I can almost guarantee that a page already exists. It’s a very good idea that you visit your institution’s Wikipedia entry, if you haven’t done so already, to ensure the information posted is accurate. You can also add basic information, program offerings, demographics, and the official website address if it is not already included.

What you want to keep in mind is that you don’t add significant and specialized content especially if you are an official institutional representative. Wikipedia seeks for un-biased entries crowd-sourced from various users and does not appreciate officials from the organization adding marketing messages, slogans or any overtly promotional content to related pages.

It is said that Wikipedia actually monitors IP addresses for content contributors and if they see a large amount of content coming from a single user, or group of users on the same network, it sends a red flag to the developers.

Having said that, it is always important to monitor and manage the content related to your institutional brand and Wikipedia should definitely be considered part of your online portfolio presence.

Here’s a related article on this topic from eCampus News.

 

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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.


How to Handle Negative Publicity on Social Media Sites

There has been an ongoing discussion in the international education field on how to handle the rogue, or simply unhappy, student who spouts off on his her blog/facebook/orkut/renren/twitter page about how upset they are with their educational institution.

The question educators always have is: how to handle negative publicity about your institution on social media sites?

The first response is always: just make it disappear.
“If we pretend as if it never happened no one will ever know, right?”
Unfortunately, no.
In fact, deleting a negative comment or taking down a flagrant post written by an upset student is the last thing you want to do.
It is difficult to watch it sit there and essentially gather more negative publicity but one of the main concepts behind the draw of social media is people feel they can share their opinions. In turn, friends value those opinions and trust their contacts’ views, which help them create impressions and perspective on topics they know less about. Taking a student’s post down essentially takes their voice away, violating their free speech and will only serve to make them more upset.

Having sat through numerous discussions on this topic the answer that always wins is to approach the student in the online space where the comment was created and begin an open, public dialogue. As difficult as it may be, publicly apologize for the mistake and explain how you can improve the students’ situation.
Be clear, concise and detailed.
Avoid placing blame or forging a personal attack. Remember, the customer (your student) is always right, even when they aren’t. Reaching out into their space and showing you are willing to right the situation will go a long way for the student, and their 374 friends, in addition to other outside users who may read the post.

In essence, nothing is perfect all of the time. If you make real life situations disappear eventually the institution seems un-credible because nothing ever goes wrong.

More realistic is having your ear to the ground, reading the social media produced by your students and engaging with them in their space. By responding to the post in a rational manner offering solutions you are creating a positive image of your institution.

This will go a long way when the students and their friends see the public response and realize how far the institution is willing to go to make their students happy.