We are where you are is the tag line used at Western Wyoming Community College and it promotes the idea that classes are available online or in person at a wide variety of locations. For residents in the area who work and play on the move and outdoors, this is becoming a popular way to learn.
Millennials have been connected to devices and the internet since they were born. They are on track to be the most educated generation in U.S. history. Smart technology is in their hands regularly so why not meet them at their online hangouts?
Colleges have been involved with social media for several years, but they are now understanding the importance of having a social media strategy that falls in line with their marketing and public relations campaigns. The rate of change in social media outlets is rapid and decision-making on college campuses are at times slow in comparison. It is time for faculty, staff, and students to work together to make a more rapid move into social media outlets that will help a college learn about their student population, recruit new students, and monitor buzz about the institution as they promote their “brand” of education.
Social media has branding opportunities that reach far past the fascination of seeing an online video or Facebook post. A college is wise to create guidelines for branding and visual identity.
The price is right
Account setup and content posting on social media outlets is free of charge. You can’t beat free! The expense comes from the time it takes employees to create content for posts. The value, however, is the reputation you can create. Twitter can be a great medium for colleges. There is an opportunity to reach students and potential students, employees and employers, and a casual passer-by on a Tweet or Retweet on a Twitter feed.
5 Strategies for Success
- Determine who is in charge of the overall marketing plan for the college. What visual identity rules are in place and are there templates or storage locations that contain logos and photos that should be used in posts. A consistent look is important.
- Post accomplishments like scholarship winners, student awards, or students participating as interns in the local industries.
- Highlighting faculty in videos or lessons to “show” the connection they are making with students. Using a Tweet to connect a viewer to more information about an upcoming class or event is an easy way to send a viewer to other related online content. Seek input from faculty, staff, and students on ideas for future posts. Add new content frequently
- Be authentic and helpful. Try to connect with the audience by creating an awareness and then trust. The use of “stories” by current students or successful graduates is an example of content that will help connect with your audience. Allow visitors to interact by hosting contests or games. Respond to posts and questions with a mindset of helpfulness.
“…friendships on the social web are built on trust, and that must be earned.”
~Mark Schaefer, author The Tao of Twitter
- Consider a Blog. A college has a built-in plethora of content experts. What an opportunity to provide interesting commentary on a wide variety of subjects. Each department or program could be scheduled for a regular blog post. Once a semester would be appropriate. If faculty are too shy to write, an interview could be turned into a Q & A blog. Blogs are conversational by nature and have an informal sense. Blogs can be promoted through social media outlets and the college website. Best practice tips from Nora Ganim Barnes (2009):
If you have an idea for a blog, please share your idea in the comment section.