According to a study from Dartmouth University, 100% of universities in the U.S. are using some form of social media. No other industry can claim this level of adoption.
While universities seem to understand the need to communicate with millennials through social media, the creation of employee positions to maintain those accounts have developed much slower.
I was lucky enough to snag one of these newly created positions in 2012, but even at a large university I’m still a one-person social media team. Besides myself, most smaller universities or college-specific pages (i.e. admissions, financial aid, or college units) have to rely on part-time or student help to manage their accounts. With that said, here are my two favorite social media hacks for a one-person team to find and generate content:
- Facebook Interest Lists: These work like your Facebook News Feed, except you get to pick Facebook Pages and view posted content without any of Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm to hide posts. Since I work in admissions at Michigan State University, I created an interest group with every official social media page registered with MSU. Then I can see a feed of every post coming in across campus. It makes it easy for me to find articles or posts that I can re-share or spot breaking news. You can search for existing lists or create one yourself. I’ve expanded to include categories that relate to my job – admissions specific college pages so I can see what other schools are posting about, and top social media contributors.
- Keyword searches on Twitter: Many people forget you can search keywords in Twitter instead of just hashtags. I spend about five minutes every morning searching keywords for tweets from someone who didn’t use our promoted hashtag (or any hashtag at all). For example, to find students who might be taking a tour of campus I’ll search “visiting MSU” and “headed to MSU” and “going to MSU.” I’ve also had lots of success searching for keywords related to the weather or current events, “soaked MSU” or “raining on tour” to try and interact with guests. I often find when we favorite or reply to these “rogue” tweets, we get a strong positive reply from the student (a retweet, follow, or reply).