Parent engagement on social: putting a stake in the ground.

I had the chance to catch up with Patrick Powers this week. We were kicking around some ideas about social media and engagement. Our conversation turned to parent participation on social and I mentioned some interviews with parents that I’ve been doing for an mStoner client.

Many of the parents I’m talking with mention following the social channels of the university to stay connected. Parents are using social to find out what speakers are on campus, learn about upcoming events, and keep an eye on the general state of things. And, more than one parent mentioned sending follow up emails to remind their students about something they should attend or do.

Colleges and universities are seeing a rise in participation on social from parents. They are posting comments to higher ed Facebook pages and scouring platforms like Instagram and Flickr to see pictures of life on campus.

We all know this generation of parents of college age students is continuing to hover much as they did when their children were in high school. They want to be involved, they neeeed to be involved, they WILL be involved. As a result, they now use social to stay in touch with the campus where their children are living.

We also know that parent giving is on the rise and that parents often feel more connected to the institutions their children attend than they do to their own alma maters. Do you recall the piece about this in CASE Currents at the end of last year? It is the case that parent giving to higher education increased by 49% in the past nine years.

So this blog post is a stake in the ground. I’m saying it here: Parents are following the social channels at the colleges or universities that their trying-to-be-independent children are attending. Parents have the affinity and we should continue to explore the opportunities for engagement.

I’ll be doing some thinking, writing and presenting about this in the coming months.

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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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