Archive | January, 2011

Harper College social media interview with The Washington Post

30 Jan

This past week, a colleague of mine forwarded me a link to the blog “Campus Overload,” written by Jenna Johnson for The Washington Post.  In her January 19 post, “Social Media Newbies,” Johnson interviews Erin Brooks, a media relations specialist for Harper College, a community college in Illinois. 

 The interview discusses Harper College’s use of social media and Brooks provides helpful tips for college professionals who are looking to use social technologies as a new way to connect with students.  In the interview with Johnson, Brooks says social media has helped Harper to “land media stories we otherwise wouldn’t have landed, resolve student concerns, reconnect with alumni and successfully promote campus events. More importantly, we’ve had meaningful conversations with our students, community members and alums” (Johnson, 2011).

 In the interview, Brooks also shares some of the ways Harper has used social media to connect with students: live admissions and financial aid chats, YouTube FAQ videos, and using Facebook and Twitter to reach out to specific students, addressing their questions and concerns (Johnson, 2011).

 This is a fascinating article, filled with helpful tips and inspiring ideas.  If you are new to using social media in a college environment and/or are just looking to gain some perspective, I encourage you to read it.

 After reading this interview, I am excited about the possibilities.  Social media presents colleges with a tremendous opportunity to connect with students in new ways. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am taking a social media course and for my final project I will be creating a social media proposal; the focus of my proposal will be to create a social media plan for the community college I work for.  My proposal will explain how social media can be integrated to help the college deliver comprehensive and responsive student services, and increase visibility and outreach to local and regional communities.  This week I will be putting together the outline as well as some of my many ideas.  Once I have it together, I will share it here.  Stay tuned!

 Thanks for reading!

 Allison

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Study on social media and its use in college admissions

22 Jan

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research recently conducted a study on how social media is being used by college admissions offices.  The study examined the use of social media between 2007 and 2008 at four-year accredited institutions across the country.  Here are some interesting highlights from the study:

  •  41% of admission offices reported they were blogging, out of these 81% of schools said they felt their blogs were successful.  Of those that didn’t blog, 40% said they planned to create one in the near future.
  •  61% use social networking
  •  36% use message boards, 16% use podcasts, and 10% use wikis
  •  Admissions professionals reported that they were using videos for campus/dorm tours and faculty lectures
  •  49% use RSS feeds, with 48% allowing email subscriptions
  •  In 2007, 53% said they monitored the Internet for “posts, conversations, and news about their institution”; this number rose to 54% in 2008.

The study points out that “colleges and universities are using social media to recruit and research prospective students.”  Although institutions are eager to use social media, many are not using the technology it its full potential. 

 An article by Elizabeth Schiffman, Social Media’s Expanding Role in College Admission, quotes Daniel Grayson, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts, saying, “I think one of the mistakes a lot of universities make is not having a very clear mission for what they’re trying to do with social media.”  I agree.  I think most colleges and universities understand the need to have a social presence, but are quick to “jump on the bandwagon” without a strategy in place.  They realize that their target populations are avid users of social media, so they decide that this is where they need to be – often times without putting a lot of thought into strategy. 

 I am not a social media expert, but I am taking a social media class in the hopes to learn more about how social technologies can be used for marketing and institutional operations. The book we are reading for our class, Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies (2008) by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, says that it is crucial for organizations to identify their target market(s) and clearly define their goals and objectives BEFORE deciding on what social technologies to use (p.67).  This makes a lot of sense.  It is easy to create a profile page or set up an account on popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, but it makes even more sense to do it if there is an objective behind it. 

 If your institution is thinking about using, or has already started using social media, what are your goals and objectives?  Do you want to share information about your institution?  Do you want to build awareness?  Do you want to interact with students?  Do you want to provide customer service?  Who is your target market?  What social technologies does your target market use?  Who within your institution is going to be responsible for the social technologies you use – monitoring information, updating sites, responding to users, followers and/or fans?   These are all important questions that I think every college and university should think about before going social.

 I’m interested in hearing from admissions professionals at other institutions.  Did you develop a strategy before going social?  If you are using social technologies, what have you found to be successful for your institution?  What hasn’t worked? 

 Thanks for reading.

 -Allison

References:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J.  (2008).  Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.  Forrester Research.  67.  Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.

 Mattson, Eric, and Barnes Gamin, Nora, Ph.D.  (2009).  Social Media and College Admissions:  The First Longitudinal Study.  The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research.  Retrieved January 22, 2011 from http://www1.umassd.edu/cmr/studiesresearch/mediaandadmissions.cfm

Schiffman, Elizabeth.  (2010).  Social Media’s Expanding Role in College Admissions.  The Cram.  Politics Daily.  Retrieved January 22, 2011 from http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/05/07/social-medias-expanding-role-in-college-admissions/

Welcome to my blog!

12 Jan

Hello and welcome to my blog!  I am an admissions professional, working at a community college in NH.  I work with a wide variety of student populations, and am always looking for new ways to share information and communicate with my students.  In this blog, I will focus on how social media can be used as a tool within a college environment to interact and engage with students.  I will also explore the ways in which social media can be utilized to gain insights and receive student feedback that can help institutions improve student services and academic offerings.

Along the way, I also hope to hear from you – your thoughts, ideas and experiences with social media and how you think it can be implemented within a college setting.