The VPM Blog

5 Colleges Doing Social Media Right

Posted by Kelvin Mastin on Jul 21, 2015 9:33:07 AM

More and more universities have started using online platforms like Facebook and Twitter to connect with their students and faculty as well as reconnect with alumni. Some universities also use their online presence as another educational tool by posting blogs, stories, and pictures to help educate their followers on hot button topics or news related to their school. If you need some guidance on how to keep your students engaged online, learn from these five colleges doing social media right. 


1. Vanderbilt University

Ice breakers are always awkward, but they're necessary to get people talking. Online conversations also need something to get people engaged. When the Supreme Court took on the same-sex marriage case, Vanderbilt took the opportunity to connect with their followers by hosting a Q&A session on Twitter with one of their law professors. This not only helped keep their students up to date on national issues, but it also allowed their students to ask a law professor any burning questions they may have had about the court case. Q&A sessions on important topics are great ways for a university to get students talking without the awkwardness of passing an item around in a circle using only your lips. 

2. Spelman College

Talking to someone is so much easier when they have a personality. This historically black women's school is great at showing their unique personality by posting alumni success stories, alumni pictures, and student success stories on their pages. Posts like these show their followers what kind of school they are and what kind of goals they have for their students. Spelman College's spirit and culture shine through the content they post on Twitter and Facebook. Content that supports your college's specific goals and culture make your voice unique among the thousands of messages your students receive every day. 

3. Elon University

It seems everybody has gotten into the use of hashtags, but sometimes-- actually everytime-- less is more. I've seen tweets where literally every other word in the post was a hashtag. That is not okay. Elon University is a good example of less being more. Elon U has a couple of hashtags they use consistently like #Elon and #Elon19 for their freshman class. They don't have a hashtag with every single post, and they usually stick to one or two hashtags per post. Their hashtags also have some kind of meaning for students and alumni. They don't hashtag random words just to have a hashtag with a post. Each hashtag allows them to start a conversation with their followers on Twitter and keep track of what's being said. Using the right hashtag at the right time can be a great tool for starting a conversation and keeping your followers engaged.

4. Rollins College

A conversation generally involves two people unless you're having a conversation with yourself. If that's the case, then this post is probably not what you should be reading right now. If that's not the case, then you know it takes two to make a good conversation. The same is true for social media. This college in Winter Park, Florida is great at holding up their end of the conversation by responding to comments on Facebook. They respond to every kind of comment, from praises to low-key insults. Once when one of their Facebook followers posted an underhanded comment about the university's president, Rollins College responded with a bit of kindness instead of anger. Their response was in good social media practice, and it makes them a good example of how to keep a conversation with followers. You may not be able to respond to every comment, but frequent responses will show that you care, and it makes following your pages exciting and rewarding.

5. Radford University

You can't have an awesome online presence without consistently posting awesome content. With almost as many likes as they have Facebook visits, Radford University is great at keeping the content rolling. They frequently post to their Facebook page, sometimes thrice in one day (yes, thrice is a word. I heard it on The Golden Girls). It's important to keep great content coming for your followers so they have a reason to follow your pages. Without consistent posts, your voice will get lost in the waves of information students recieve online everyday. There is balance in this, however, because too much content can also become overwhelming for your followers. 

Social media for higher education institutions is not too different from other businesses. These five colleges are good examples of the right way to do it. Consistent content that breaks the ice and shows your personality makes your voice unique against the rush of information online. Responding to comments like Rollins College shows that you are listening to your followers, and the correct use of hashtags can keep your followers engaged in talking with you. If you would like to know more about using your online platforms to your advantage, click below!

University's Tool Kit for Launching a Remarkable Campaign

photo credit: Webtreats Matte Black Social Media Icons via photopin (license)

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