24.Nov.2015

Bridget Anders
Assistant Account Executive

Social Media Planning from the Eyes and Ears of a Recent Student

4 Tips Higher Education Marketers Need to Know

Social media has become a frontal face of institutions (and their varied colleges, schools, and departments) and a go-to for students to find out the happenings on campus. Why? Because when it’s done right, it’s convenient, up-to-date, and transparent 24/7.

To ensure your social media presence stands the test of time, whether it’s the university’s main page or a subpage, here are 4 tips to continue best practices in the online social world:

1. Know where you’re headed and why
Just like the beginning of any plan you must have an outline and define your mission and goals. You need to know who you’re targeting and what’s your main message. To understand analytics, you have to know where you are aiming. A big part of your social media plan should lay out exactly what you are trying to do and why it’s important. To ensure a clear pathway, you must understand why you are doing it.

2. Make a plan and then go with the flow (which is also great life advice)
Be a spontaneous planner – a bit of an oxymoron, but it means you should have a good foundational plan, while still leaving yourself room for spontaneity like a research breakthrough or student achievement. The unplanned posts can end up being the best because they happen in real time. Have a plan ready to roll out but be prepared to tweak it daily. Just like in life, you can’t plan for everything, so it’s good to give yourself some leeway.

3. Get your students involved
Students should be a target audience in your plan, so stay in touch by letting them do some of the work and shape the message. When you’re targeting students it only makes sense to involve them – crazy, right? This doesn’t mean give a student a computer and leave them to their own devices; they should be highly involved. Let them create content and ask them what they would like to see. You have an immense resource of your target audience at your fingertips, so don’t let this group slip through.

4. Pay attention to analytics (this one never ends)
As marketing communicators the numbers are easy to forget, but it’s crucial to understand the analytics behind social media. Try new things and learn from them. Sometimes the best approach is trial and error. Test something and use the results to better your plan. Every college and university is different, so it’s important to use your own results. Yes, it’s good to leverage results from outside sources, but the most accurate view into the numbers you are seeking, is to test it yourself; a one size fits all plan doesn’t exist in the world of social media.

It is important to continually stay up-to-date and understand best practices. A plan is never officially complete. Social media changes constantly and your plan will too.