The VPM Blog

Making Your Dean More Approachable through Social Media

Posted by Catherine Andrews on Aug 31, 2017 9:21:14 AM
Even though the Dean may be one person, they act in numerous roles on a daily basis, which causes different groups of people to perceive the Dean very differently from one another.  One day they may be meeting with the student council discussing goals for the student body, the next they may be speaking to a group of alumni across the country all while maintaining a strong and respected reputation of the college. 

To students and prospective students, the Dean is intimidating, to parents, the Dean is the face of the college and to alumni, the Dean is influential.  Speaking to reputation, as the Dean of a college, the Dean must be able to connect with all of these people and gain their trust and understanding of his or her goals for the college.

But how can the Dean build a bridge and connect with each of these very influential and different groups of people? Below you'll find several specific social media platforms to assist you in making your dean more approachable.

Social media is the answer to reaching such a broad spectrum of people while making sure the Dean's intentions and goals are being presented well.  Most colleges have pre-existing social media accounts that the Dean can use to their advantage.  Through social media, the Dean can target each group of people in a way that is specific to how they wanted to be communicated with.  This way, the Dean can ensure that whomever is receiving that message wants to be receiving it in this specific form at this specific time.

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Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms available to day. According to Hootsuite, Instagram has over 500 million users and 55% of them are people between the ages of 18-29 years old.  This statistic proves that this platform is currently how most millennials want to be communicated with. This provides the Dean with the perfect platform to connect with current students and young alumni of the college. By utilizing Instagram’s features such as stories and going live, the Dean can start to relate and connect to this subset of the college’s followers. Unfortunately, many students are unaware of who their Dean even is.  The Dean should start by introducing themself so students can start to feel more comfortable with their Dean. This can be done through behind the scenes Instagram stories of the Dean explaining a bit more about what they do on a daily basis, posting from various locations to show what they are up to that day, or even going live and answering questions.  Through these simple yet effective tips, the Dean can build a strong connection and better understanding of their students and young alumni.

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Twitter. Hootsuite states that 42% of kids from the ages of 15-17 years old use Twitter, which is the highest percentage of any generation. This provides the Dean with a great platform to connect with perspective students.  For perspective students, it is important for them to know who the Dean is because they represent the college. By understanding a bit more about him or her and hearing from them directly, prospective students can start to feel more comfortable with the idea of attending this college. This is a great place for the Dean to share some tips with these kids about what their college looks for in their applicants, how important college is for your future and much more.  Posting multiple times a week will ensure that these kids can count on hearing from the Dean and look forward to his or her next tweets. 

Looking for how to to use Social Media Data in Higher Ed? We've got a post about that too!

dean.jpegFacebook is the platform with the highest percentage of users over the age of 29, according to Hootsuite. This means that Facebook is the best platform for the Dean to interact with parents and alumni. Staying connected and relevant to parents and alumni is very important and a crucial piece for the growth of the college.  Facebook provides the Dean with a place to post longer form, more informative posts.  A great way to connect with parents and alumni is by proving the Dean’s knowledge about current and important topics that relate to the college. By discussing relevant topics, the Dean can ensure that parents and alumni understand the Dean’s short and long term goals for the college and its students.  For instance, the Dean could discuss how the school plans to stay up to date on their curriculum in comparison to what’s going on in the world, what effects the world’s events have on the school and how they are striving to constantly grow and improve their programs.  By utilizing long form posts and video, Facebook allows the Dean to stay connected without being redundant or boring. 

The future success of a college relies heavily on the people that contribute to it every day.  This includes current and prospective students, parents, and alumni.  The Dean has the ability to create long lasting connections with these people for the college to ensure they understand the goals of the college and how they plan to tackle them. There is no easier and more direct way to connect with such a wide range of people than through social media.   

Do you think your Dean could be doing more to connect with and grow relationships with students and alumni? If you answered anything other than, "no" you will want to check out our FREE White Paper summarizing our survey of almost 650 current and recent college students about what they want from their Dean. Just tap the Download button below! 

digital deans white paper

Topics: Social Media, higher ed social media