Tag Archives: Higher Ed

What Do You Need to Make Social Media Successful in Higher Ed?

As I put the final touches on my social media presentation next week, I started to think about why social media strategy is tough to implement in institutions of higher education. Higher education is not the only space where social media is a challenge, however, I think this market has to address both consumer (students) and business (internal stakeholders) to business (other departments, organizations) end of social. What causes challenges to institution wide adoption?

  • Social media proliferation is hard for any organization, but extremely challenging for higher ed teams to keep up due to resources (human and monetary). A given, but an important area to address why schools need to narrow down their focus when it comes to social. it is not about quantity, but quality. icon_higher_education
  • New channels coming out often (hello Vine, Snapchat).
  • Not asking the question of where your audience is. Or the other 9 questions before making the social media leap.
  • Knowing how to deal with crisis communications and social media important role.
  • The wrong people managing social media. Think about this in terms of strategy versus tactic.
  • No buy-in that social media is both a channel and a medium outside of the admissions office.
  • Social media is reviewed only when there is a problem.
  • Social media is not only about broadcasting your news, it is about engaging with prospective and current students, alumni, staff, and community.

So, how can you address the above?

  • Set goals up for social media
  • Buy-in from senior leaders both in your organization and outside
  • Listen before sending out any information. what are people sharing about your school now? How can you contribute to the conversation?
  • Have a social media response procedure in place to deal with negative comments or crisis situations
  • Enlist in folks both on staff and students to contribute to the conversation.
  • Make sure to train folks who will use social media on behalf of the school
  • Monitor your success and share those internally
  • Plan for engagement. What can your school do to interact?
  • Plan for content. What content will you share?

While the above is not exhaustive, it is a running list of things to help make social media adoption more successful. What would you add?



Rachel DiCaro Metscher, director of advocacy and communications for Hobsons, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. Currently, Rachel is responsible for Hobsons’ external communication programs, which include public relations, brand, website, and social media.


Ten Questions You Should Ask Before Making the Social Media Leap

This week, Enrollment Management Report editor published her interview with me and Concordia University’s social media manager, Veronica Steele, on how to create successful social media strategies. Great read for folks looking for best practice on implementing social media across an organization.

I think it is important to note social media strategy can’t happen unless the organization is ready to be truly social.  This readiness or rather willingness for social media got me thinking about what questions you should ask before making the social leap.

If you want more people in your organization to start taking social media more seriously, start thinking about if your organization is truly ready for change. A couple of things to consider:

  • Are your stakeholders both internal and external using social media to connect and share information about you, your organization, or market trends in your industry?
  • Are you ready to listen?
  • Do you have resources both in terms of human capital and tools?
  • Who are you going to share with? Identify your audience.
  • Similar to audience, who is your ideal persona using social media that you want to engage with?
  • Are senior leaders accepting of social media?
  • Do your senior leaders use social media regularly?
  • Is human resources ready to deal with some of the unpleasant aspects of social media?
  • Besides your team or department, who else will participate?
  • Are you ready to prepare training and constant encouragement?

The above list could be lengthier, but the point is to think about social media more than a marketing or public relations function.  Social business has to be the whole company and everyone needs to be involved in the change. Ron Ashkenas wrote in the Harvard Business Review that one of the challenges of change management is strengthening managers’ ability to manage change. I like Ron’s article because similarly with change management, we have a tendencies to pass the social buck to someone else in our organization in hope that it will work. While you need someone to drive the proverbial social media bus, you do need other to contribute.

If we don’t make folks accountable the change will never occur no matter the amount of training or passion. This is why social businesses like Zappos are winning at the social media game. Zappos and others alike understood the organizational necessity for this type of change. It is either everyone is all-in in performing and creating social media programs or not. This type of buy-in has to occur from senior leaders to entry level employees. Social media change does  not happen by chance, but rather on purpose.

If you are thinking about where you are in the continuum, consider this excerpt from an HBR in 2007 about why organization change fails. I like the chart because it serves as a check list for social media strategist. As you move throw the stages of getting social to be acceptable think about where you are and where you like to be. I always think it is crazy when organization’s don’t have a plan in place. Would you create a website without a plan? Probably not.

Rachel Metscher Ten Questions Your Should Ask Before Making the Social Leap

Artwork from HBR article by John P. Kotter on Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail