Social media for higher ed isn’t just a fun and effective marketing tool; it’s a great way to open up a dialogue with your current and prospective students – to share information and build a community. However, it’s easy to fall into bad social media habits. Here are five common higher education social media mistakes and how your school can avoid them:
1. Not Engaging Your Audience
Social media is not a one-way street; it’s all about the conversation. The purpose of social media is interacting with your students and alumni online. It’s relatively easy to stay in touch, share information and get to know them. Don’t set up your accounts and forget about them. Instead, constantly share interesting information, post photos, ask (and respond) to questions, and even ask for feedback. Your community will be happy, and in most cases excited, to share their thoughts with you. You will gain important insights into the wants and needs of your students.
2. Lacking Positivity and Passion
If you aren’t excited about your brand and information you have to share, your followers won’t be either. Approach your online world the same way you would approach customers in person – with professionalism, positivity and passion. Your digital attitude represents your day-to-day interactions with your students; it will become contagious to your prospectives.
3. Over-Selling Your Products
Nothing gets older than constant sales pitches. Students, parents, and alumni want to know what’s happening with your organization and important newsworthy information. They want to see pictures of your events and offices, hear about special promotions and related information. Getting dumped on with promotional messaging is annoying; keep your online promotions steady but sporadic. Be sure to share a variety of content on your pages.
4. Not Enough Content
Your audience is looking for a happy medium. They aren’t looking to only see your posts in their newsfeeds, but they don’t want to have to visit your page every day to find out what’s new. Strike a balance by regularly updating your accounts with relevant information and responding to your customers’ questions and comments (positive or negative). Set aside time each day to respond to followers and post new content.
5. No Content Plan
Figure out what your goals are for social media, draw up a plan, and stick to it. Be sure your social media messages match your brand and your mission. Don’t post anything that doesn’t align with the mission and is not an accurate reflection of your business. Create a content calendar for the month, focusing on a specific theme that is not only relevant to your college or university but also interesting.
Most of these tactics simply require time and effort, and they build relationships that lead to brand loyalty. Social media is meant to be a personable extension of your brand, so take the time and effort to make your social connections meaningful.
Have any higher education social media best practices? Share them in the comments.
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