Social media has insinuated itself into every aspect of our lives and continues to largely influence the decisions we make every day. Businesses recognize the unparalleled opportunities offered by these platforms and have been leveraging them to market their brand. Social media, without a doubt, plays a huge role in connecting them with their audience, generating leads, and increasing their overall growth.
Academia is one sector that won’t be left behind. With over 90% of Americans between the ages of 18-29 using social media, it only makes sense for universities and colleges to take advantage of this tool. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of creating college profiles on social media, the benefits it offers to both the university and the students, and how this strategy works for educational institutions, particularly for higher education.
The importance of creating college profiles on social media
Social media has become an essential marketing tool for businesses, but it’s more than that for educational institutions. Let’s take a look at the significance of creating a college profile on social media.
It fosters a strong community online
A college social media page provides a place for students, faculty and staff, and alumni to come together, share experiences, and exchange authentic conversations. This gives them a sense of belongingness and inspires school spirit, which in turn helps the community to flourish and grow into a tight knit group.
It boosts opportunities for student recruitment
Majority of potential students (and their parents) are on social media. If you want to find them and for them to find you, it’s important that you’re there, too. Creating a college profile increases your online presence and allows you to create meaningful connections with prospective students and keep them engaged with the school. Through creative posts, schools can also put a spotlight on interesting programs and courses they offer, and give outsiders a glimpse of life on campus, on a regular basis.
It keeps you connected with your alumni
A college profile on social media helps facilitate building a strong alumni network, which is beneficial to both the school and their graduates. It opens up opportunities for networking, career mobility, and life-long learning for former students. At the same time, it reminds them to give back to the school community by participating in meaningful events or donating to fundraising activities hosted by the school.
It serves as a round-the-clock communication channel
Social media is a new and convenient way for schools to reach and communicate with their students. Today’s generation instantly turn to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect and ask questions, provide feedback, and get the information that they need at any particular moment. These platforms give the school an avenue to address students concerns, make important announcements, and respond to questions in real time.
Top college profiles on social media
Even when it comes to social media domination, dream schools like Harvard, Standord, and MIT top the list. The table below shows the top 10 colleges that are slaying on social media.
|College name||Location||No. of followers Facebook||No. of followers Instagram||No. of followers twitter|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, Massachusetts||6.5M||2M||1.4M|
|Stanford University||Stanford, California||1.4M||1M||924.8K|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||Cambridge, Massachusetts||1,401,342||403K||1.2M|
|Yale University||New Haven, Connecticut||1.4M||627K||641.4K|
|Princeton University||Princeton, New Jersey||611K||388K||483.8K|
|Louisiana State University||Baton Rouge, Louisiana||730K||259K||353.5K|
|The Ohio State University||Columbus, Ohio||703K||316K||374.9K|
|University of Michigan||Ann Arbior, Michigan||772,190||333K||264.3K|
|New York University||New York City, New York||903,487||404K||175.4K|
|Texas A&M University||College Station, Texas||661K||335K||297.1K|
This ranking is based on each school’s followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; the frequency of their updates and engagement rates; as well as their content creativity and social media strategies.
Best social media platforms for college profiles
Not all social media platforms may be a good fit for college profiles because universities have a unique audience which expects a good balance of warmth and professionalism. Below are the most popular social media channels for colleges and how you can make the most of them.
Facebook was founded on a college campus一Harvard, no less一and it looks like it’s come full circle. If you can only work with one social media platform, it’s got to be Facebook. Apart from it having the largest user base overall, it provides you with the tools and features that you need to build and nurture a community, including the following:
- A wide range of content format options. You can post images and videos, GIFs, links, and slideshows. You can also create events, polls, and more, which are perfect tools to build engagement.
- Great advertising capabilities with insightful analytics
- Great functionality for businesses. Meta Business Suite or Meta Business Manager, for example, lets you oversee all of your pages, accounts and business assets, track your page’s performance and engagement, and more
- Facebook Chatbots that let you send automated but personalized responses so you’re reachable 24/7
If you want to focus on visual aesthetics to highlight the beauty of your campus or give your audience a peek at the fun environment at school, Instagram is the best choice. Building a thoughtfully curated feed lets you capture the attention of prospective students and can serve as an open invitation to be a part of your community.
Twitter is designed for posts that are quick and concise. But don’t underestimate its 140-character limit. Tweets may be short but it doesn’t mean conversations on Twitter are meaningless. The platform is a great way for schools to start relevant conversations, get students’ insights, and participate in important discussions in the education space.
Factors to consider in creating a college social media profile
Creating a college profile on social media goes beyond setting up an account, choosing a good profile image, and posting content every now and then. Your social media page can make or break a brand, no matter the industry, so it’s critical that your social media strategy is carefully planned. Here are some of the important factors you should consider before kicking off a college social media page.
1. Your goals
Identify your goals. Figure out what you want to achieve through social media: do you want to build a community? Do you want to reach more student prospects and generate more leads? Do you want to boost engagement with your students? Whatever your target is, your college social media profile and your communication strategy should be created with it in mind.
2. Your social media team
It’s easy to create a college profile on social media. But what happens after that point is another story altogether. Do you have a dedicated team that would manage the page? Who will be in charge of planning and creating content? Will someone be able to dedicate time and effort to this project? It’s important to consider all of these things because you wouldn’t want to create a page and end up leaving it inactive.
3. Social media guidelines and policies
The school should have social media guidelines in place, both for the team managing the account, and the community who would be interacting on the page. The page should maintain the school’s identity, branding, image and reputation. This means that all content that will be posted should be aligned with what the school stands for. Likewise, policies for users should be clearly communicated to avoid issues like cyber bullying, trolling, etc.
4. Your marketing strategy
Finally, make sure that your social media plan is aligned with your marketing strategy. Your college profile on social media should support your overall business strategy and all forms of communication should be consistent with all of your school’s marketing channels.
How to create a stunning college social media profile
Your social media profile is the first thing that people (including prospects) see, so it’s important to make a good impression. Here’s how to create a winning college profile on social media:
1. Choose who will manage which social media channel
Before you begin, put together a team or appoint the people who will be responsible for each social media account you wish to create. Make sure they have a solid understanding of the school’s branding, programs and offerings, etc., or at least have access to the school’s brand bible and other references they might need.
2. Set up social media accounts
Now that you have your team set up, you can start creating your profile. Make sure to choose the right profile pictures, background or cover images. These are the first things that potential students will see so you have to ensure that the photos you use are professionally shot, have the best resolution possible, and represents the school best. Double check for typos and errors and see to it that nothing is amiss.
3. Create a social media posting plan
Your posts should be carefully planned and shouldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Otherwise content could look half-baked or worse, it could send a message that goes against what the school stands for. Putting together a social media calendar that determines what will be posted and when it will be published will allow you to create meaningful posts that your audience would appreciate and engage with.
4. Set up a social media policy
Having specific social media policies in place will help your team manage your channels with your institution’s goals and values in mind. It will also save the school from from finding itself in hot water and encountering embarrassing or troublesome situations involving inappropriate posts or problematic messages.
6. Always aim for improvement
Check how other colleges and universities are using social media. This will give you ideas on how to improve your strategy, help you keep up with trends, and keep you inspired to keep your page interesting and engaging.
Establishing an online presence has never been more important for colleges and universities. Creating college profiles on social media is one of the best ways for schools to gain visibility and connect with current and potential students. Make sure you have the right social media strategy, tools, and understanding that will give you the edge that you need to achieve your goals.
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