Right before I went to college I was that typical Freshman who Facebooked their roommates, searched Google for any information on the school and constantly updated my status on how excited I was to be going to college in the Fall. This was in the Summer of 2007, which sadly was not that long ago, but since then social media has grown a tremendous amount. Even though I am only 24 years old, my sister who is three years younger can figure out anything or find out information on anyone through social media—-I’m not that skilled!
Social media is now a way that potential students, and current students can research the school, look for answers, and find out anything they would ever want to know about a school, through social media! It is important for these colleges and universities to live up to the students expectations, and what they expect from their schools social media sites! This can be one of the deciding factors in where someone chooses to go to school. Due to this it is important that schools use the correct tools and resources available to them to maximize their results.
This video below, which was received from YouTube, from user catchfiremedia, has an incredible amount of useful information when it comes to social media, mobile devices and how many people are able to be reached through these networks.(CatchFireMedia, 2011)
According to the video 80% of colleges use social media to contact students. This video was made in 2011 so I feel that these facts could be even higher than presented in this video. The ability to be able to reach the target audience through social media is important.
Harvard leads the way with over 1.6 million Facebook followers, and over 110,000 Twitter followers. They do a great job of posting about Harvard athletics and school events (Murphy, 2012). University of Pennsylvania and MIT are second and third respectively (Murphy, 2012).
Facebook is the most used tool for colleges, with over 98% representation on Facebook (Silverman, 2012). Admission representatives and counselors are now using LinkedIn to reach out to students. Twitter to constantly micro blog about interesting facts, current events and any interesting information that might be relevant to the student. Social media also allows students too look at pictures of dorms, facilities and the school campus. These resources give students even more information to make educated decisions, which could lead to a lower transfer rate.
Right now the main tools that higher education uses is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging sites. All these accounts are used to attract students and present the school in the best way possible.
With all this buzz about Harvard’s social media, I wanted to check on what makes their Facebook so powerful. Is it just a great school, which happens to attract followers? Or does the social media actually attract even more potential students?
The first thing I notice is that they use a lot of pictures— pictures of the campus, a local farm stand, art gallery, along with photos of President Obama’s visit and photos of the Milky Way. They also talk about their rich history and great reputation. Their Facebook had more albums than I could count, I realized that they typically linked a photo to every post they had. This attracts the eye and encourages the consumer to reach the caption–which helps get their information read.
Higher Education is using social media tools to help increase marketing efforts. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts allow for information to shared, resources to be given and an area where schools can basically brag about themselves! Students can then connect with these sites and follow them for up-to-date information.
CatchFireMedia. (2011). Retrieved from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs3CVry2EQ8
Murphy, S. (2012, March 30). Top Ten Social Media Savvy Universities. Retrieved from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2012/03/30/universities-social-media-savvy/#_
Silverman, M. (2012, February 2). How Higher Education Uses Social Media. Retrieved from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2012/02/03/higher-education-social-media/