Spitballing content ideas for social turned up a few unanswered questions! #SMcontentideas

Last Thursday, more than 100 of us imagined ourselves sitting on a few couches spitballing ideas about content for social media channels. We even closed out the mStoner webinar with a few minutes for Q&A. As promised, here are my responses to several questions I didn’t have time to answer.

Question 1: We have a group on LinkedIn but I haven’t figured out how to use it to our benefit. What should we try to better engage there?
My first suggestion is that you should have a university-wide strategy for LinkedIn. I am not suggesting that your university will only have one LinkedIn group; merely that your campus should coordinate efforts with the best interests of your alumni in mind. Too often, social properties reflect the institution’s organization chart. Focus on what you are trying to accomplish—how to provide the most effective networking opportunities for your alumni—and let that goal drive your planning.

Secondly, I have a suggestion from my colleague Fran Zablocki. Fran is an expert on using social for alumni engagement and he offers (I’m quoting him) the following:

If you missed LinkedIn’s subtle shift of focus onto higher education with its introduction of LinkedIn Alumni, you’re forgiven. The company barely publicized the move in late 2011. Despite its somewhat hidden nature, this new feature has the potential to be a big help to the alumni, development, and career services offices, not to mention to alumni themselves.

LinkedIn Alumni flips the normal company and corporate-focused interface around and showcases LinkedIn’s impressively powerful database from the standpoint of who you went to school with, then allows you to filter on all kinds of categories such as those shown below.

JMU on LinkedIn Alumni

Though it isn’t something that a university has direct control over, it’s too good of a career and networking resource not to share with your alumni. And, if LinkedIn’s recent pilot partnership with Michigan State University is any indication, the company intends to make inroads with major university LinkedIn properties. To see LinkedIn Alumni in action, take a look at your own LinkedIn Alumni profile at http://www.linkedin.com/alumni. For more information on how to use the new features and the MSU pilot, we suggest watching this HigherEdLive episode on the subject.

Question 2: Has anyone done a study on when the best times for users is to post on social media? If so how did was that info gathered?
I recommend these links for more about when to post on social channels:

Question 3: Can you share any insight on how to best bring the various social media voices within one university to be on the same page; i.e., singing the same tune and brand story?
This is an important question and the coordination you suggest is a critical element of a social media strategy. In fact, you can probably take cues from the coordination mechanisms your campus has in place for all communications and marketing efforts. (It’s true, bringing all your voices together for all communication platforms should be your strategy!) For many universities, the central marketing and communications office provides oversight for social. Often, guidelines like these are resources for department- and unit-based social channels:

I have also talked with people on many campuses who have cultivated strong and active social media user groups. These groups regularly bring together university-, department-, or unit-based social media managers to share ideas, understand guidelines and policies, and plan for social content. For more, I recommend Matt Klawitter’s post, Now What? About Social Media at Michigan State University. Matt’s writing on this topic offers excellent and comprehensive thinking on “social media infrastructure in higher education.” http://mattklawitter.com/2011/11/21/now-what-about-social-media-at-michigan-state-university/

Webinar Reprise (Take Two!)
Due to the high demand, I’ll be presenting Content Ideas for Your Social Media Channels again this week. Here’s more including how to register:

Webinar Description:
It bears repeating, content is king. If you are just getting started with a social media channel, it can be daunting to figure out what to say. Even those of us who have been doing this for a while experience an occasional dry spell or suffer through good, old-fashioned writer’s block.

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned pro, coming up with good stuff to use on your institution’s social media channels is sometimes challenging. This webinar will offer lots of suggestions and attendees will walk away ready to develop new and engaging content for their institution.

When:
Thursday, August 23 at 1:00PM ET

Cost and attendance:
Cost is free. Attendance requires registration.

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Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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