5 Strategies to Reach Social Media Maturity

Everyone has social accounts now, so many of you passed Social 101. But how do you take your social strategy to the next level? Here are five things to consider to transform your social from scatterbrained teenager into a mature young adult.

 

Conversations/Responses

Social is all about conversations. If you’re not having conversations, you’re doing it wrong. Well, at the very least you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Every mention or question posed by a user on social is a marketing gift. Someone was so interested in your school that they decided to engage with you directly. The potential students you’re looking to have enroll found you! And you didn’t have to spend a dime. Don’t leave them hanging, feed their excitement with a response. Think about it this way. With one response, you’re more likely to see that student share it with his or her friends and followers – expanding your reach in a way that you could never see with a regular post, and essentially doing your work for you. The goal is to respond to every mention you receive – these are often the people most interested in your school.

 

 

Listening

Everyone wants to build up their follower count. Don’t be selfish, it’s not all about you! As much as you believe your post about your campus event is super exciting, your students and potential students may have no interest whatsoever. Take some time to listen to what your followers are saying, what they’re interested in, and what they’d like to see. Taking a minute to understand who you’re talking to can dramatically increase your engagement. Basically, instead of focusing so much on getting people to follow and listen to you, follow your audience (literally also, if you’d like). The irony…

 

Organizational Structure for Scale

Once you’ve gotten a good foundation and think you have it all down, it’s time to think about scaling. Doesn’t matter how much of a genius you are, at some point you’ll need to scale to manage the social accounts on different platforms. This means creating best practices, brand guidelines, and having everyone on the same page. Sure every department wants to be heard, but your school ends up screaming at your audience from 20 different accounts. Not good. Ideally, there should be one account on each platform – it keeps everything streamlined, ensures your brand is consistent, and it makes it easier for your audience to digest your message. Short of that, consolidate your accounts to get as close to this ideal as possible with a “hub and spoke” model. Your main account should lead the way, while all other accounts are flowing in perfect harmony.

 

Branded Content

Sure, you’re not using your own proprietary platform. But that doesn’t mean you can’t customize it to make it your own. Your streams will look infinitely better with a healthy dose of your own consistently branded images, and with the right message, you should see a healthy increase in your engagement. Visual content does better than text.

 

 

Personality

Loosen your tie. Really, just take it off. That said, at the risk of throwing out the biggest cliche of all-time, be yourself. Stay true to your brand and your voice. If you have no idea what “dabbing” is or if you want to post Star Wars content just because it’s hot right now, think twice. GIFs? Memes? Go for it, just make sure it makes sense for your audience.

 

James Edward Ogle-stache! #peteyontheshelf

A photo posted by Oglethorpe University (@oglethorpeuniv) on

 

You may be thinking to yourself, “But Chandler, we do these already.” Well that may be true, however, it takes time, consistency, and a lot of work to become great at anything. I know how to play soccer, but I’m certainly no Messi. Keep refining your strategy and while you’ll never be perfect, you can get pretty close.

 

Questions? Suggestions? Want to yell at me and tell me I’m wrong? Cool, drop a comment below!

9 Tips from a Social Media Expert

sm_taylor_fb

As a prior admissions counselor and assistant director of admissions, Taylor Florio brings a wealth of enrollment management experience to TWG Plus team. During that time, she’s specifically created and managed social campaigns in higher ed. Extremely passionate about higher education, she is also an active member of both NACAC and SACAC. Taylor loves living in Charlotte and enjoys to travel, seeking out the best Americano and local flare wherever she goes.

I could go on about everything she’s done, but this is a blog post and not a novel. Anyway, I picked her brain about social media, and here are some of the jewels of wisdom she came back with.

How do you measure success?

Success in my eyes is when a social channel is able to remain constant with content and activity while steadily growing their following.  It’s not always about a surplus in followers, but a following that will engage.

How do you determine which platform(s) to use?

I have always been a huge supporter of only managing social channels if they will be managed well.  Knowing where your audience is spending the most time is key to choosing which social platforms on which to have a presence.  It’s better to have an excellent presence on a few platforms than to be on every social platform and be inconsistent.

What is one of the campaigns you’re proudest of and why?

When I was working in admissions as an assistant director and social media manager, there were a lot of campaigns attempted through the enrollment funnel cycle.  One in particular which measured great success was from a scholarship interview program held on campus.  We had over 200 students and their families on campus for the interview process and I was charged to get those students socially engaged.  In addition to the usual social platform and hashtag plugs during the event, students were asked to capture and post anything that made their experience on campus during the program extraordinary.  We tracked the hashtag over the length of the program and awarded the winner via a social wall at the closing luncheon of the program.  We had a tremendous amount of activity and enough posts to fill a social wall for over 30 minutes without recycling the feed!  I put this in the books as one I am proudest of because it pulled creativity out of our audience and kept them engaged throughout the entire program. The students from that event yielded at the highest rate compared to other campus programs and the images collected from social were ones we could reuse for future content.  WIN WIN.

What trends do you see for current students and what trends do you see coming in the near future?

Snapchat.  Admissions offices and colleges campuses need to be on Snapchat.  This platform is ever-evolving and has dominated the phones of teenagers.  It allows for a true organic look into the day-to-day of a college campus and can be a wonderful addition to recruitment and retention.

What is another school you feel is doing a great job with social?

Tulane.  When I first started taking over the social media for my admissions office, I was digging around for social media aspirational schools who were doing things well.  That’s when I found TruTU.  I highly recommend anyone to explore their social media hub (TruTU) for inspiration.  Kudos to Jeff Schiffman!

Which new platform are you most excited about using?

The platform that’s next.  With social media, there will always be a “next” platform to explore and experiment with.  At the moment, Snapchat is at the top of my list.  There is so much you can do with it and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Is there anything unique about your students that you incorporate into your campaigns, and if so, what?

One favorite aspect of bringing in unique features to a campaign is implementing student takeovers.  Anything from student body president, Greek life participants, student athletes, students abroad, or internship sneak peaks can all be a way to engage the audience even more!  Inclusiveness is the key to any good campaign.

What are some best practices you would recommend for social campaigns?

Constancy with brand, transparency and organic qualities, thinking outside the box, and staying relevant.

What are 3 pieces of advice you would give to anyone about starting and running a social campaign?

  • Start with one platform and work your way up from there, don’t have too much on your plate until you know you are doing well.
  • Don’t be afraid to be creative.  It’s okay if your social doesn’t look like everyone else.
  • Absolutely without a doubt make sure you have created best practices and strategy and share with everyone involved prior to the creation of a social campaign.

Have any questions about the knowledge Taylor just dropped? Comment below and stay tuned to the blog for more social media wisdom from industry vets!