Posted February 10, 2017 by Mark Perna
Social media is here to stay, and it’s not hard to see why. Our desire to connect with others is as old as the human race and, thanks to the incredible technological advances of our time, we can now do that in unprecedented ways. This presents us with both a challenge and an amazing opportunity to reach and engage our communities like never before. It’s a challenge and opportunity we must not just meet, but embrace.
Why is it so critical for organizations to embrace social media? Think of your social media channels as a window into everything positive happening on your campus or business. A vibrant, frequent social media presence is like an open window. That open window doesn’t just allow onlookers to glance in, but actively invites their interaction and engagement.
A spotty, irregular social media presence is like a closed, dirty window — can’t see much through it but at least there’s something happening behind that foggy glass.
No social media presence whatsoever is like a wall with no window at all, just a smooth brick face. There could be amazing things happening within your organization, but how is anyone to know? In 2016, nearly 62% of adults in America got their news on social media. More than 40% used Facebook as a platform to access news. If you are relying solely on other, more traditional channels like print to get your message out, many in your community may not be seeing it…especially today’s young people, who spend up to nine (yes, nine) hours a day on their social media accounts.
For organizations, social media has many functions. First and probably most important, it shares your organization’s personality with the online world. It’s your voice to speak where people are listening and it can reach anyone with an Internet connection. It’s a perfect place to recognize excellence among your staff and students/employees. It also operates as a source of news (such as closings), marketing of programs and pathways, event promotion, brand building, and much more.
Your social media presence is not just for your current students and employees, but also for their circle of influence. It’s for your alumni. It’s for the prospect who is trying to get a feel for your organization and deciding if they should apply or not. It’s for the parent who wants to see if your organization is delivering on your promises. It’s for the journalist doing a writeup on what your community offers. It’s for your staff and strategic partners who want to be seen as connected with something effective and thriving. It’s for everyone whose life you touch in some way.
If social media has not been a priority thus far in your organization’s strategic communications, it’s time to change that. Building an effective social media presence does require time and effort, but likely much less than you think. In my next blog I will share a simple, one-page strategy to launch (or relaunch) your social media presence and start building an online presence that will propel you toward the ultimate goal of attracting, retaining, and engaging more of the right students, in the right programs, for the right reasons.
In our technology-driven, constantly connected culture, social media is no longer optional. It’s an imperative for successful organizations to positively influence public perception and enhance their brand. It’s your window — and it’s time to throw it wide open and share the difference you’re making every day.