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eduWEB – Practical Uses of Social Media

July 28th, 2009 by Erick Beck

The hot topic at just about every web conference now days is social media. The problem is there are so many people saying so much, most of whom have no idea what they’re talking about. This program focused on what the University of Miami (FL) has done on their social media. They are slightly ahead of us when it comes to getting social media done right, but so much that we can’t borrow a thing or two from what they have.

Remember that Twitter is supposed to be a two-way communication? How many of us actually watch our own space for what people are saying about us? Twilert is similar to Google Alerts in that it can be set up to watch and report on what the twitter-verse is saying about us.

College Confidential is another site that prospective students use to check out schools and ask questions about them. As with Twitter, there are not nearly enough schools monitoring and answering these students.

What makes up a good university facebook presence?

  • University facebook page
  • University admissions facebook page
  • Class of … pages (usually unofficial, but you should be cooperating with them)
  • Individual pages of dedicated fans

We have all tried the “pay a student to blog for a semester” and it seldom works out. That’s because we aren’t really motivating them to do something they weren’t doing anyway. Instead, let’s change the scenario around. Go find those people (faculty, staff, students, whoever) who are already blogging about the school and offer to make them an official part of your site. They have already proven they want to blog, and making them feel like they represent the organization is a great incentive for going further.

YouTube, especially if you are a part of the EDU program, is a great place to post things like convocations and commencement ceremonies.

As with student bloggers, when it comes to finding faculty members to help with academic video, find those who want to be involved and use them as test cases. Other faculty might see them and want to join in.

Integrate content from other projects into your campus tour. A building on the tour might, for example, open into a video of a professor talking about his research interests.
http://willyou.capital.edu/ for example was built from hundreds of photos being sent in with a catchy slogan. It became so popular it was expanded into a larger video campaign.

Social media is not about pushing out your content. Make sure what you are saying is what your audience wants to hear. Bring them into a conversation. Shouting loudly from the mountaintop doesn’t work anymore.

Build conversations, don’t build buzz…

It’s about activity, not numbers. The more engaged your audience is the more satisfied they are, the more comfortable they will be with your school and the more likely they will be to enroll.

Go to Disney.com. This is what 7-year-olds see and expect today. This is the kind of experience we’re going to have to be offering in just a few years.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 Social Media
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2 Comments to eduWEB – Practical Uses of Social Media

  1. Wow, Disney.com? For sure, the water level is rising, and incoming students (incoming faculty, for that matter) have ever rising expectations for using our websites to carry on this conversation you speak of. It’s a whole new paradigm and a whole new way of relating – not just communicating.

    Together seems to be the only way we’ll get there.

  2. Monty Dickerson on August 5th, 2009
  3. I remember how frustrating it was to write for the school paper when most students don’t really care about what we were writing. Social Media would really help student publications.

  4. Miami Seo on September 4th, 2009

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