How are Universities using Social Media?

28 March 2014
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By 2011, nearly 100 percent of all US colleges and universities had a social media presence. Social media gave them a chance to show upcoming freshman what their communities had to offer beyond what was displayed in shiny brochures. A sense of belonging is very important in the college decision process and social media added a whole new dimension to the exploration of campuses and their culture.

Recently, Aaron Jaco, a digital marketing strategist for Drake University was interviewed for a Sprout Social blog in which he mentioned a survey sent out by the school’s admissions staff in Fall 2013 to incoming students. The survey showed that one-fifth of the respondents said Drake’s social media presence helped them decide where to enroll.

“Prospective students have shown the greatest enthusiasm toward Facebook Pages specific to their incoming class,” he said. “Students say they use incoming class communities to gather admission information and deadline reminders, meet other incoming students and find roommates, and peruse videos and photos related to the University.”

He also touched on the benefits of Twitter compared to Facebook

“Facebook is a tried-and-true rallying point for the Drake community to reconnect and to share their enthusiasm for the University,” he said. “Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for one-to-one conversations, notably with prospective students, as well as an effective means of driving traffic to the University website and raising general awareness of major news.”

All over social media you’ll see colleges and universities actively engaging their students, potential students and alumni in the same way that you now see larger companies doing. However, what is the future of social within colleges and universities? How about professors using social media as a teaching tool?

According to a study released in October, 41% of college professors use social media as a teaching tool, up from around 34% in 2012.

The crowds seem to be split on whether or not using social media as a teaching tool is a good idea. Nicole Kraft, an assistant professor at Ohio State University, says ‘tweets that she and her class sent to journalists at Esquire, TIME and CNN eventually led to guest lectures and in-class video conferences’ (via USAToday). However, some professors find it time consuming, unfocused and worry about privacy issues. So certainly, social can be used to add to the classroom experience, but there must be concise use of it otherwise it’s just more noise for the students and professors. Perhaps these professors just need to be trained in how to use social media efficiently to achieve their goals. After all, in an ever changing educational landscape, there will always be new tools to explore and social media happens to be a very powerful one that we believe needs to be harnessed.

Where do you see social going on campuses? Chime in below!



About Kristin Walker

Kristin is an Account Executive at SISDigital with extensive experience in social media marketing and online community management. Connect with Kristin on Twitter

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