Social Media for Academics and Public Relations
I find this quote on the use of social media by Erin Pavlina amusing. “They say it takes 7 exposures to a product ad before you will want to buy it, but after 8,743 spam emails from Viagra, I still don’t want it”. This shows that marketing is not just about shoving the brand in people’s faces. Rather, it is about being receptive.
Talking about the use of social media for academics and PR, I do not mean social jamboree. I mean the conscious targeting of content for precise purposes and individuals.
Given the quick embrace of digital technology, the graph below shows the higher tendency of university students to adopt digital / social media learning based on the use of e-library.
In the preceding chapter, I highlighted a prototype conversion funnel. Here, I will discuss how the processes in that conversion funnel work.
In this article, I discuss how social media can be used for academic orientation and for PR purpose. Let us examine it for PR purpose first.
Social Media for PR Purpose
Good PR is the first point of call for marketing and attracting prospects. Social media for PR is a top priority for any institution that wants to attract the right set of prospects. Below, I share some points on strategies for creating good brand awareness using social media.
These strategies are activity-based. Hence, the expertise of digital marketing service providers is required for the optimal result. See the precepts below
1. Give Virtual Tour Of The Campus.
It is almost impossible for all students who show interest in your school to come physically and inspect your premises before applying. A research surveyed some 7,000 high school students. The report shows that 68% use social media for researching university choices.
Thus, preparing posts that simulate a virtual tour of your campus environment can attract prospects who are researching on institutions to select. This is achieved by sharing images/videos of dormitories, dining halls, classroom sessions, sports activities or any exciting location on your campus. The intention is to create buzzing discussions for current students and alumnus while attracting prospects.
Sharing posts by students and from a student’s perspective, exclusive ‘insider’ moments and behind-the-scene clips are also included here.
It shows you can prepare a virtual tour for prospects around admission opening period. This is the Attraction stage of the conversion funnel.
Your website is also a good avenue for achieving this.
2. Sharing Throwback Pictures and Videos That Celebrate Students
This piques the interest of prospects searching the web for interesting academic schools. Posts like the screenshot above portray the feel of learning to be fun – indeed, learning should be.
It also serves as the right platform for prospects to make inquiries. Inquiries about opening events, procedures etc. This is the Engagement stage. However, you are not to mix business with pleasure. You cannot continue to discuss registration processes between tweets about student’s artworks.
Here, the stage is set to fish out prospects and inquirers. These should be directed to the proper platform for more engagement. Or, for short, take them to the Propelling stage.
3. Provide Adequate Information and Call-To-Actions
To Propel your prospects, you need to give them adequate information. Just enough details to make them want more. And that is when the call-to-action sets in.
On Twitter, for example, direct all admission related inquiries to use a special hashtag. Or create a Facebook Page for that.
The ultimate aim is to direct them to an appropriate landing page. This should be on your website where they can begin registration.
4. Connect and Give Directional Information
After Propelling them to action, you don’t just live them there. It is required that you stay in touch. This is the Connect stage.
Now, you have converted the prospects. You need to guide them through the orientation process. The departments and / or faculty can take over here and approach from a piecemeal angle.
Dropping insightful tweets and posts about registration processes can come in handy here.
Now, let us talk about social media use for academic purpose.
Social Media for Academic Purpose
With the prevalence of digital media, human activities have been well simplified. The same goes for academic activities too. Below, I will discuss a list of social tools/apps which can be leveraged for simplifying academic processes.
These tools are more effective with youths because we do better with our devices and gadgets these days. A Pew Report corroborated this by saying “Across the world, the adoption of these technologies is consistently more common among the young and the well-educated.”
The graph below emphasizes that point.
1. Video Tutorials
The currency of social media is sharing. The fact that you can share contents and data with others in real-time makes it super effective.
To tap into this, institutions need to provide facilities for lecturers to record and share tutorial videos on YouTube. This will foster a learning-on-the-go process for students. Lynda is a valid example of this. Leveraging the Playlists function in Lynda, departments can create a list of visual resources for use by students.
Playlists can be made public or private for departments or faculty. They can also be shared with individuals students or in groups. Finally, students can copy a playlist that has been shared with them and add to it or modify it for their specific needs.
2. Presentation and Research
SlideShare is a platform for sharing presentation files. A departmental official account where students can download and share course-related presentation can help students learn better.
It makes it easier to share research. Also, to gather and share data collected during field work in a presentation format.
As a tertiary institution, don’t need to send delegates out on foot to perform surveys. An official account on platforms like SurveyMonkey and Google Forms can help with research and surveys that students can use.
4. Document Creation and Social Bookmarking
You can also enlist academic bookmarking apps. This helps faculties / departments to create resources that students can use for research purposes.
All the points discussed above are what we call business process digitalization. it means simplifying your business processes using digital tools.
In the next chapter, I will discuss how specific social media accounts for a university can be managed.
Author: Tobi Adono
With a strong academic background of a degree in Philosophy from the prestigious Lagos State University, Tobi is a natural storyteller, with a knack for rational and analytic discourses.
A huge fan of music, social media and a black tea lover.