I’m pleased to kick off this week with the first guest post on this blog. It comes from Paul Redfern, director of web communications and electronic media at Gettysburg College. Thanks, Paul, for responding to my call for guest bloggers.
If you do a Google search for “social media and higher education” it returns over 23 million webpages. My copy of University Business magazine arrived today and there was an article on 10 Twitter Tips for Higher Education and Five Steps to Developing a Powerful Social Networking Strategy. Put in a conference presentation on social networking and it’s accepted (and you get a big crowd). If you keep your eyes open you can find a webinar almost once a month on the topic. Follow a few higher ed people on twitter and more often than not it’s the topic of conversation. Higher ed to our credit is trying to figure it out. Some have. Some have not. Some never will.
In the last year I have participated, commented, created, and tried to understand social media for my institution. I came up with the following five guiding principles for our strategy in the next year. Some of of our plans will create lots of engagement with our audiences. Some of them will flop miserably. If you are afraid to fail social media may not be for you.
Here are my five principles. What can you add?
- Each piece to the social media puzzle may be small but collectively they add up
- Social Media needs to be integrated into our traditional approach to communications and marketing
- Social Media is word of mouth marketing for prospective and current students as well as recent graduates
- We do not have control of the message and we can take advantage of that fact – we need to listen
- Social Media will play a critical role in the future of brand, marketing, and institutional visibility