The world of social media is a fascinating study in the psychology of human interaction and marketing acumen. Businesses throughout the world are relying on these interactive channels to promote their brand and communicate directly with customers. Now, the power of social media is extending into academia as higher education institutions identify creative ways to use it outside of the classroom.
A recent Genesys (News
) white paper, Social Media in Higher Education: Best Practices From Successful Institutions
, explored this concept, highlighting the benefits social media can deliver to such organizations. The higher education field is one of intense competition, especially in the private sector, and organizations have an opportunity to leverage best practices in social media to drive increased registrations, alumni donations and better satisfaction among all stakeholders.
Best practices in the use of social media
, regardless of the organization, demand a clear strategy. The higher education institution seeking to be a social institution must enthusiastically adopt social media channels. Public relations teams and admissions office representatives can readily adopt the use of Facebook and Twitter (News
) to promote the brand of the social institution to those who may be interested in attending or contributing money.
Blogs are also readily used in communicating with parents and staff. These blogs can be tied to social media channels to spread the message out even further, again supporting the promotion of the brand. At the same time, communities can be built around alumni organizations to promote events and build relationships. Thought leaderships can be reinforced through research and academic departments, while admissions better manages the flow of interactions through social media channels.
Ticket sales, attendance and fundraising initiatives can be implemented by athletic departments, while the registrar staff field questions regarding add/drop deadlines and course registration. The payment process can be streamlined by the financial aid department and public safety can leverage social media to keep all students, family and staff informed when issues concerning safety arise.
To truly optimize social media within higher education, best practices
must be implemented. First and foremost, it’s critical that users of social media within the social institution participate to attract advocates and build communities. When the social institution is focused on building fans and followers, these individuals become powerful advocates for the brand, creating new opportunities.
Best practices also demand that social media in higher education settings should not only be used to broadcast information, but also to listen. Active participation demands that channels are checked regularly and mentions are consistently monitored. Feedback used for planning demonstrates an active social media listener.
Responses must be prioritized to ensure the right people respond to the right comments or mentions. Access should be provided across departments as stakeholders will have a demonstrated interest in more than one area of the social institution. Plus, when social media efforts are integrated with traditional communication channels, more value is captured in each interaction, ensuring the institution reaps the necessary benefits from its social media investments.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Peter Bernstein