Social Media Management Systems

11 Feb

I have been doing research on various forms of social technologies, trying to determine which ones are the most effective within a college environment.  I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and YouTube are all important mediums and can be used in many ways to connect and engage with students.  Facebook started out as a way for college students to socialize online, as shown in the recent film, The Social Network; it has since grown tremendously, and it is now practically a “faux pas” to not have a Facebook page.  In higher education, Facebook can be used by colleges and universities to share information and content as well as receive student feedback.

Twitter is another form of technology that institutions can use to provide quick updates to its community.  When I first heard of Twitter, I honestly didn’t think it would catch on – I thought, “who has the time to constantly post status updates, and who is going to care about this?”  I now believe that Twitter is an important means of communication, a way for colleges to quickly and efficiently share important announcements and updates with students.  Students can sign up to receive “tweets” from the college, and in a matter of minutes, reach hundreds or thousands of students to tell them about an upcoming event, provide an important announcement or simply send a reminder to sign up for classes. 

Blogs and YouTube are both other important social technologies that can be used by institutions to engage with students – videos, photos, stories and the like can all be showcased through these sites.  The opportunities are endless – these technologies present colleges with a real opportunity to be innovative, creative and engaging. 

Although social media is an important component of a college communication strategy, it can also be time consuming.  For social media campaigns to be effective, there needs to be dedicated resources “in-house” – employees within the college who have the ability to provide engaging content and connect with audiences via social media.  I know this is a question that many colleges and universities ponder – how do we manage all of this? 

Four words – Social Media Management Systems (SMMS)

According to Jeremiah Owyang, author of List of Social Media Management Systems, (2010) SMMS is defined as:

A collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a disparate social media environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based and enable the manager to listen, aggregate, publish, and manage multiple social media channels from one tool.

In a nutshell, SMMS enables social media strategists to efficiently manage and publish content across multiple channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to connect with audiences on a deeper level.

In his blog, Owyang identifies multiple SMMS.  There are MANY of them and they all can do various things.

 I was presently surprised to find out that one of the systems listed is Constant Contact.  I am in love with Constant Contact.  I have used it in for several years in a variety of capacities.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, Constant Contact is an efficient, user-friendly, cost-effective email marketing, online survey and event marketing service.  If you have not heard of Constant Contact , I encourage to you to check it out.  It’s well worth it!

Nutshell Mail, Constant Contact’s social media tool, will track your institution’s social media activity and send the results directly to your email inbox.  Have a college or University Facebook page?  Instead of having to check Facebook throughout the day, Nutshell Mail will send you email updates every time someone posts to your page, sends you a message or requests to be your friend/fan.  Have Twitter and/or LinkedIn accounts?  Nutshell Mail will do the same thing for these sites, too. 

There is nothing to download or install because the service sends summaries directly to your email inbox, which you can customize by selecting the content you want to receive. 

What you can gain from Nutshell Mail:

  • It frees up time – no more having to continually check multiple social media sites throughout the day to monitor activity and respond to comments.
  • It enables you to stay on top of content and what is being said by followers/fans/friends.
  • It allows you to track and monitor activity and information that can be used to adjust strategy, improve communication, enhance marketing efforts and find out how audiences feel about your institution.
  • It will strengthen your relationship with students.

The best part about it, it’s FREE!

Click here to watch a video that breaks it all down.

What other Social Media Management Systems have you heard of and/or used within your institution to manage your social media campaigns?

-Allison

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