Social networks are the realm of the 18 to 24 year old demographic, with 98 percent of that age range having a profile on at least one social networking site, according to Statistic Brain. Colleges and universities utilize social media in a variety of ways to reach current and potential students for information, marketing, and educational purposes. The Chronicle reports that many colleges and universities still view social media marketing and outreach as a sideline task instead of something a dedicated employee can tackle. However, innovative and effective efforts by forward thinking colleges and universities are starting to change this viewpoint.
Ways Universities Utilize Social Networks
Ed Tech Magazine reports that the major categories of social media usage focuses on engaging alumni, sustaining a brand image, increasing awareness of the school, and engaging current students. Social media sites provide colleges with a way to directly interact with students on their home turf, and directly present their messages where students look every day. While many universities keep their social network profiles active, there are a few schools that go above and beyond typical social media usage.
Other interesting ways that schools use social media include Twitter accounts to talk directly to faculty, and video conferencing for open office hours. Some schools even use Pinterest to share information that's relevant to their students. This gives the school a way to engage with students, without having to push marketing or other branding efforts directly. Recipes are especially good, as are resources that help students live away from home.
Princeton's magazine The Princeton Weekly uses social networking to share personal stories from students and alumni, as well as interesting articles on a number of topics relevant to Princeton's area of study, according to Social Media Today.
Notre Dame knows that college graduates have a tough time after they get out of school, but graduates from this school have a lot of support through a private Linkedin group for alumni. This group allows post-graduate students to network even if they aren't near campus, opening up job opportunities that are essential in this economy. The group also helps the alumni to stay connected with each other, even when they are thousands of miles apart.
Penn Foster College is a university that focuses on innovative distance learning opportunities for busy students, professionals, and people returning to college. Penn Foster on Linkedin utilizes the professional social networking community in order to keep in touch with students. It helps them connect them with employers, and tracks students that came from pharmacy tech school, or studied criminal justice, for example, who went on to open up their own companies.
If you really want to know what a university is like, you ask the students directly. Since potential students don't always have friends in a particular university, Cornell makes student run blogs available to give an uncensored view of what college life is like at this school. This social media venue also allows the students to interact with each other and keep up with news around campus.
(*) Desmond Daniels is a graduate student and freelance from Phoenix, Arizona. He was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Daniel is pretty outgoing, a gentleman, humorous, and loves music. He’s also the content advocate for BlueFirePR and the liaison between their Content Team consisting of in-house journalist, copywriters, and a fantastic editing team.