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.
- 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.