Social Media in Higher Education: 6 Essential Tips

Using social media in greater training is the brand new norm. Recruitment. Student and alumni relations. Crisis communications. Fundraising. It all occurs on social.

In this publish, we take a look at the increasing function of social media in greater training. Let’s discover how you should utilize social instruments to construct your institutional status and foster a way of neighborhood.

The benefits of social media in higher education

There are plenty of benefits for higher education institutions that understand social tools. Here are some of the top advantages of social media in higher education.

Promoting values and achievements

Make your institution’s mission and values known. Social media use in higher education is significant in setting the tone on campus. Promote and represent the kind of culture your school aims to cultivate.

Value alignment informs every little thing from small purchases to main life choices. Let potential college students, college, and companions know they’re welcome and supported. In flip, talk the sorts of habits that gained’t be tolerated.

Give present and previous students causes to take satisfaction in their alma mater — broadcast commitments to sustainability, investments in the neighborhood, or advances in medical analysis.

A bit of old school bragging goes a good distance, too. Show off state-of-the-art services, award-winning analysis, and different accomplishments. Highlight college students, employees, college, and alumni. Rally college spirit by celebrating prime athletes, wins, and first place finishes.

Connecting with alumni and enhance fundraising efforts

Alumni are sometimes the supply of main fundraising contributions. Social media raises your profile and helps preserve connections with them. Many schools and universities preserve social accounts particularly geared to alumni relations.

Facebook teams for alumni in totally different cities or international locations might be an excellent guess, too. The University of Oregon has Facebook teams for alumni all around the world.

Source: UO Japan Alumni

Social can be an essential device to publicize one-off or annual fundraising occasions.

Last 12 months, Columbia University’s #ColumbiaGivingDay raised $24 million. There had been greater than 19 thousand donors. Social media is a key solution to unfold the phrase and encourage participation and presents.

Integrating a marketing campaign like this with a CRM system lets you attribute funds and measure ROI. Social fundraising campaigns additionally invite alumni, college students, employees, and college to be active advocates for the varsity. They can present a useful present of help and camaraderie.

Taking benefit of UGC (user-generated content material)

Your whole scholar inhabitants is probably going creating social content material frequently. That’s a ton of real-life materials that may assist authentically enhance your establishment’s profile.

Create a hashtag like #BerkeleyPOV for college students to share images. Repost the best ones (crediting the authors, in fact) in your official channels.

Social media contests encourage college students to share content material you should utilize. Simple rewards like college brand clothes work properly as motivational prizes. Plus, these promotional clothes objects will probably present up in later posts, additional selling the college in an natural approach.

Developing new studying alternatives

Social media in greater training presents highly effective alternatives for artistic considering and presentation.

In the Netflix present “The Chair,” a professor asks college students to Tweet their favourite line from Moby Dick. There’s not a lot crucial considering there. But it might be an excellent first step to incorporating social instruments. Maybe college students may use a course-based hashtag to gather these Tweets and talk about their impression or that means.

The A. Holly Patterson Library at Nassau Community College offers resources for instructors to include social media training in assignments. These embody guides on data literacy and recognizing pretend news.

In the journal Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, Hamadi, El-Den, Azam, et al. created the next framework for the function of social media in greater training as a cooperative studying device:

Framework for the role of social media in higher education as a cooperative learning tool

Source: Hamadi, M., El-Den, J., Azam, S. et al. A novel framework for integrating social media as a cooperative learning tool in higher education’s classrooms. RPTEL 16, 21 (2021).

Recent research exhibits social media is most frequently used in:

  • literacy training
  • medication
  • greater training advertising, and
  • social sciences

Popular makes use of of social media in greater training

The impression of social media in greater training is difficult to overstate. Let’s take a look at a couple of of its most essential makes use of for greater ed.

Attracting new candidates

A recent study by TargetX discovered 58% of aspiring college students use social media to analysis faculties. 17% say these sources are extraordinarily influential. And 61% say they’re a minimum of considerably influenced by their social analysis.

Make it straightforward for college students to image their future at your college. Showcase school life with digital excursions and scholar takeovers.

Feature the golf equipment, communities, and social alternatives attendees can get entangled in. Show off the campus. Help them perceive the advantages your establishment gives past educational research.

Sharing essential updates in actual time

No one hopes for crises or emergencies. But it’s essential for establishments to plan for them. People more and more look to social media for real-time updates and knowledge. Social is a key a part of each disaster communications plan.

Rumors travel quick on social media. So do student-led developments you’ll need to hold tabs on (we’re you, #bamarush). All this makes it important to conduct lively social listening.

COVID-19 has elevated the necessity for sturdy communications at universities and schools. Mask insurance policies, bodily distancing necessities, precautions, occasion cancellations. These are all advisories faculties now challenge on social media.

Ohio University has a Twitter account particularly to take care of COVID data and updates:

People additionally count on establishments to reply to social actions. They need to see the college take concrete actions to handle social or institutional points.

Communication plans must also be ready for emergencies. Think about climate disruptions, pure disasters, and different imminent threats.

Engaging college students on and off-campus

Not all college students reside on campus. That doesn’t imply they’re much less motivated to have interaction and take part in scholar life.

A key benefit of social media in greater training is that it permits college students to attach. That is perhaps from dwelling, totally different campuses, work research applications, or at a convention.

Create channels and teams to rally college students. Base them on wide-ranging subjects, pursuits, experiences, and actions.

McGill University runs greater than 40 accounts devoted to scholar life. And the Campus Life & Engagement Facebook Page hyperlinks to non-public teams like McGill University Entering Class of 2021-2022.

There’s additionally a Facebook web page specifically for off-campus students. This ensures they really feel as a lot part of the college neighborhood as those that reside in residence.

How to make use of social media in greater training: 6 important ideas

Using social media in greater training can really feel a bit overwhelming. Here are 6 ideas to assist make it work to your establishment.

1. Develop a social media technique

Behind each profitable social media channel, there’s a strategy at play. Add extra channels to the image, and the necessity for technique will increase. But so do the challenges.

It’s an infinite problem to create a technique for a multi-channel group.

This is probably going why it continues to be a prime purpose for professionals polled in our Social Campus Report. 76% of respondents say defining a transparent social media advertising technique and goals is their prime precedence. Another 45% hope to coordinate social technique campus-wide.

Align social technique again to the college’s core goals. This creates a transparent business case for social media and permits managers to higher allocate sources. In truth, 64% of pros agree that social media ought to hook up with the strategic plan and institutional mission.

For instance, take a look at Georgia State University’s #TheStateApproach marketing campaign. It has four pillars: Atlanta, analysis, classroom technology, and scholar success.

@georgiastateuniversityWe’re prime ranked! #TheStateWay!♬ original sound – GeorgiaStateU

Meanwhile, the University of Sydney makes use of social media to help its 4 big strategic goals:

  • improve its analysis status
  • entice high-quality college students
  • diversify its worldwide scholar base
  • construct a singular model

2. Establish social media tips and insurance policies

With so many individuals and accounts concerned, it’s essential to ascertain tips and insurance policies to maintain everybody on observe. Solid documentation helps streamline onboarding, promotes greatest practices, and maintains a unified voice throughout channels.

Your full set of upper training social media tips ought to embody:

It might look like quite a lot of floor to cowl. But thorough tips present essential help to social managers. They additionally empower college students and college to take part in an unbiased and genuine approach. As a bonus, they cut back the necessity for help from the core crew.

3. Create a social media hub

Higher ed social media operations are likely to contain lots of people and much more channels. Bring everybody and every little thing along with a central hub. Create a social media listing that lists and categorizes all social media accounts.

For instance, the University of Michigan has more than 1200 lively social accounts. Official accounts are listed in a directory.

University of Michigan's directory of social media accounts

Source: University of Michigan

MIT maintains a searchable website that lets guests lookup channels by key phrase or platform. The University of Waterloo lists upwards of 200 channels by division or area with the choice to filter by community.

As an exterior useful resource, these hubs permit individuals to seek out and observe the proper channels. They could be assured they’re official accounts.

The hub-and-spoke setup interprets as an excellent administration mannequin as properly. With the help of a device like Hootsuite, a core crew can monitor all channels from a central dashboard.

This makes life simpler for sometimes under-resourced social managers. Use the dashboard to assign duties, approve and schedule posts, coordinate content material from contacts throughout the campus, and mobilize in the occasion of a disaster.

4. Adopt a platform-specific strategy

Did you take a look at the social media directories we talked about above? If so, you’ll discover the social platforms used fluctuate throughout departments, colleges, and different areas of college life.

Does admissions want a LinkedIn web page? Does data geared toward dad and mom have to go on TikTok? It’s essential to think about which platforms are more than likely to achieve the proper viewers.

But bear in mind: You’re not simply speaking to Gen Z.

Your viewers contains college students and potential college students, in fact, however they could not all be in their late teenagers or early twenties. In public four-year faculties in the U.S., 90% of scholars are beneath 25. But for personal for-profit four-year establishments, 66% are 25 or older.

Distribution of new full-time students by age

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Beyond mature college students, you’ve additionally obtained to achieve loads of different grownup audiences:

  • dad and mom
  • company companions
  • different establishments
  • college and potential college
  • employees

Get to know every of your social audiences. Look for trends in age vary, gender, location, and, if out there, occupation, training degree, and pursuits. With these findings, tailor and personalize messages for every totally different viewers.

For occasion, LinkedIn will not be one of the best platform for recruiting undergraduates. But it might be the perfect place to market persevering with teaching programs or recruit new instructors.

TikTok is perhaps an excellent channel for admissions content material. (Though probably not the one one — bear in mind these grownup learners). It may also be a platform to experiment and easily construct neighborhood in the inexplicable approach that solely TikTok can.

Stay on prime of platform and demographic trends to determine the place your communities are most lively. This permits managers to deal with channels that drive essentially the most outcomes. Management instruments like Hootsuite make it straightforward to check how channels stack up towards one another.

5. Build and empower communities

With a central hub, tips, and technique, your infrastructure is in place for communities to flourish on social media.

Create hashtags the coed physique can rally behind on-line. Develop an accessible consumption program so college students and college can apply to create and handle accounts. Let college students and their creativity take over — it pays off.

City University of New York handed management of its TikTok account over to college students. The result’s positively not what you’ll discover on most official higher-ed social platforms. But it has greater than 23 thousand followers and 1.6 million likes.

@cunyeduStill gonna get that iced espresso tho 😗✌️ ##CUNY ##college ##student ##school ##nyc ##CandyCrushAllStars♬ original sound – Call me Snow

Colorado State University created a student-run YouTube channel. Student ambassadors share fairly intimate movies about life on campus and what it has been prefer to be a school scholar throughout a pandemic.

CSU promoted its YouTube channel with scholar takeovers on its Instagram account, which led to messages like this:

Exchange of DMs between CSU social team and prospective candidate

Source: Shorty Awards: A Ram’s Life Vlog

The extra individuals who share content material, the higher your establishment’s attain and social share of voice. With Hootsuite Amplify, college, employees, and college students can share vetted, on-brand content material and improve attain.

6. Invest in constructing a crew

Social media for greater training just isn’t a one-person job. Nor is a job that ought to be left to interns. (Although it’s a nice concept to incorporate scholar interns or work placement positions in your social crew.)

For context, the University of Michigan has a social media crew of 12 individuals plus a director and scholar interns. West Virginia University has a full-time social crew of eight for his or her Morgantown Campus plus three half-time scholar employees.

Don’t but have a full crew? Create strategic alliances with different departments. You’ll acquire entry to extra data and sources than you could possibly by yourself.

You may also maximize the time of a small crew with a social media administration platform like Hootsuite. Create posts in advance, schedule them for one of the best posting occasions, and add batches of posts in bulk. You additionally don’t waste time logging in and out of various platforms.

Liz Grey on the University of Sydney said, “​​Hootsuite saves us so much time. It’s probably equivalent to having two more people on our team.”

Need to show to higher-ups that you simply want extra price range for social media? Come ready with loads of details about your present return on investment.

A social media report is a vital device for backing up the worth of your work.

Put your greater training engagement technique into motion and save time whilst you’re at it through the use of Hootsuite to handle all of your social channels from one dashboard. Try it free right this moment.

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