The landscape of social media is ever-changing. From algorithms to new platforms, it’s difficult to stay current, let alone ahead of trends for content creation and engagement. This list reviews seven ways univerisities can utilize social media platforms to engage followers in 2019.
The cornerstone of Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook (2013) is that value must come before sales. To engage any target public, a university should be sharing valuable content, such as little known facts or information related to specific programs and majors, over sales pitches such as reminders for registration events and asks for donations.
Because of the instant nature of social media, universities should utilize channels for specific ways to connect with students. This combination of information sharing & community building (Carpenter & Lertpratchya, 2016) is successful for Texas A&M's Admissions Instagram (@aggiebound) and Purdue University's Commencement Instagram (@pucommencement).
Planning online content for multiple social channels can be managed through a program such as Sprout (www.sproutsocial.com), allowing universities to tailor content to each platform without overlapping.
A 2017 article from "Social Media + Society" (Alhabash & Ma) found Instagram as the most used social media network among college students ages 18-19. The Instagram Story option allows unique, user driven conversations to take place. Universities can utilize current students for takeover sessions, or question and answer features with students, professors, and administrators.
This article gives ideas on how to connect with alumni online. Social media managers should capitalize on a graduate's emotional connection to the university through stories, photos, and videos to remind them of their alma mater.
Halligan, Tom. (2010). The Social Media Evolution: Online Tools Drive Opportunities for Alumni Outreach, Fundraising. Community College Journal, 80(4), 30-33.
Admissions offices at universities can create longer YouTube videos for new students on campus, including tips for moving, favorite spots around town, or how to navigate campus. This may also engage alumni who want to relive college days, and see how things have changed.
One of the main drivers people participate in online social networks is a desire to belong to a community (Carpenter & Lertpratchya, 2016). By utilizing cornerstones of the universitiy's identity (such as asking for submissions singing the school fight song), a sense of community can be fostered around the main theme: the university.
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