Colleges and universities are beginning to embrace social media for higher education and realize the potential power and implications for using it as a component of their overall marketing mix. Certain social media platforms may or may not be lucrative depending on the needs of your institution. Choosing the best social platforms, structuring your social media account, creating and sharing great social content, and finally proving the value of great social media can be challenging for certain colleges and universities. Usually, social media is an afterthought when factoring in the overall time and effort it takes to maintain a good posting frequency.
Choosing the Best Social Media Platforms For Higher Education
It’s no secret that the best social network depends on the audience at hand. At the end of the day, it’s where you can target and speak to your audience most effectively. While certain networks may work for one institution – they may not work for others. The purpose of social media is to engage, share, and measure results and engagement to deliver a better user experience. While being a social media influencer has not yet officially become a ranking factor in Google’s organic SERP’s, it could very well play a part in the near future, with Google’s ongoing mission to display the best possible search result. If your social presence is strong, it may play an important role in your organic rankings one day. According to Matt Cutts, an industry leader in SEM, there are very valid reasons for being active on all forms of social media even if social media, for now, does not have much or any effect on search rankings.
Structuring Your Social Media Accounts
When making the decision to create an account – consider all of your resources beforehand. If your school does not have the time to maintain a social platform, it may be worth it to consider pumping the brakes on unnecessary networks. We cannot stress enough that a social media presence is a lot of work, and defunct or inactive accounts can result in poor user experience and loss of followers and engagement.
Proving The Value of Social Media
Not every organization has the resources and means to build a robust presence for these new networks as they arise. Social media looks good, right? What is the importance in terms of end goal for clients? How do we weigh all of our marketing efforts via social media? A few months ago we made a Pinterest account for a school looking to expand their presence across many different social networks. We determined (after careful examination of their network referrals), that users were engaged with their content on Pinterest because our client offered cooking and beauty programs. Take a look at a date range we chose in Google Analytics based on the time before we made them a Pinterest account and after.
One of the most popular categories on Pinterest is Food & Drink, followed closely by Skincare & Beauty. These types of “pins” generate a fair amount of referral traffic. We also were able to determine that while the user (prospect) did not necessarily convert into a lead within their first interaction, there were a fair amount of Assisted Conversions from the Pinterest campaign.
The bottom line? The social platform proved to be successful in core marketing strategy, which was ultimately traffic and conversion. This, in turn, helps lead generation and form submissions. While this is a smaller sample, this is still an example of how a free platform can generate leads organically for schools seeking cost-effective marketing.