Social media in higher education changes all the time. Change is part of the social media’s DNA. Change comes to campus every Fall — with the new class of freshmen. If you don’t learn in higher ed social media, you won’t last long.
That’s why I asked the 12 higher ed professionals of the 5th Higher Ed Social Media Conference to share with us the most useful thing they’ve learned over the past 12 months.
Check out these 12 lessons learned identified by your higher ed colleagues.
Leadership misunderstanding of Social Media for Nikki Sunstrum, Director of Social Media – University of Michigan
It’s not necessarily something I’ve learned, but something I had confirmed.
In my August keynote at #EduWeb17 I asked the many social media professionals in attendance to raise their hand if they truly felt their leadership understood what they do daily.
Not a single person raised their hand. Let that sink in.
The importance of empathy for Holly Hill, Director of Web and New Media Services – Flagler College
The importance of empathy.
Caring for your audience and being empathetic to their needs – especially during times of crisis – is not only important, it is the right thing to do. Put yourself in the shoes of your viewer and constantly ask, “Is what I’m creating adding any value and how will my response impact the person receiving it?”
You can’t please everyone, but you’ll become a genuine voice of trust for your institution online.
Campus-first focus for Jacob Schupbach, Social Media Specialist – University at Buffalo
Staying in touch with the campus community has also been a big lesson for me. After graduating in May 2017, I was concerned I wouldn’t be as connected to the campus vibe as I was as a student before. However, I have challenged myself to interact with the campus as much as I can. Whether that means speaking to the marketing club, giving a guest lecture to a class, or even just going on a run through campus after work, staying in tune with the university is imperative to building an authentic and engaging narrative on social.
The importance of getting out of the office for AJ Lopez III, Social Media Coordinator – Midwestern State University
To find content, you need to be out of your office.
I’ve learned that if you’re in front of a computer screen all day, it does nothing to help you find organic content to use for your social media plan. If you have a laptop or even your phone, make it a habit to go outside and work on projects.
Visit other offices to learn what’s going on that day around your campus. New topics and opportunities present themselves when you’re outside and talking to others.
Recruitment marketing research for Dominique Benjamin, Communications Coordinator – Texas A&M University
How I view my role on the team has changed over the past year when I realized just how much recruitment marketing research is out there.
Reading up on it helped me adjust our priorities for social media in a way that I thought would be most effective for our audience. I feel more confident now knowing for sure what content makes a difference and why.
Collaborative content calendars for Dr Corie Martin, Digital Marketing Director – Western Kentucky University
This year we religiously implemented a content calendar. We had loosely used it before, but we absolutely rely on it now.
It has helped us grow, find holes in content coverage, and calendars keep us focused and on track. The beauty is that social media is fluid, so if something doesn’t work the first time, you can tweak it and try it in a different way. We have been able to play with timing and creative in an effort to get our campaigns to be the best they can be.
Team use of Google Calendar for Rebecca Stapley, Assistant Director, Multimedia & PR – Nazareth College
The most useful thing has been to use Google calendar with my “social media team” of 15 students to share and manage blogging deadlines, events and meeting invitations.
I already used google to organize my professional and personal life, but I had an aha moment when I started to use it with my student team.
Going all in with a smartphone for Andrew Twist, Digital Content Producer – The University of Sheffield
The most useful thing I’ve learned over the last 12 months is that I can pretty much do my entire job with just a smartphone.
In the past I would do community management of our social accounts from my laptop, edit photos and graphics on an iMac and shoot videos on DSLRs – now I can do all of that with just my smartphone.
The keys to being an effective social media manager in 2017 can basically all be found in the AppStore. Social platforms are increasingly focused on the smartphone user experience and with tools like FilmicPro, Rode Rec, LumaFusion and DJI Go making high-quality content production possible, it is now possible to be completely unshackled from their desks. This is hugely advantageous in a university as we want to be out there capturing the experience of our students and staff as much as possible on our social channels.
Simplifying Social Media Tagging with GTM for Holly Sherburne, Director of Digital and Social Media – Bowdoin College
I learned how to simplify social media campaign tagging with Google Tag Manager (GTM).
And, then I wrote an article about it (with a video tutorial), so you can learn how, too! Creating campaign URLs for social media posts can become cumbersome and is prone to error. With a little work up front, you can configure GTM to automatically (and invisibly) add a fragment such as #fb to the end of URLs posted to Facebook, #tw for links on Twitter, and so on, and append this fragment to the campaign parameters you choose.
Facebook data exports for Jessica Stutt , Integrated Marketing Manager – University of New Brunswick
I think the most useful thing I’ve learned is how to do more with data exports out of Facebook. With my background as an analyst, my biggest interest in social media is on the measurement and analytics side of the house.
Facebook data exports have given us extra flexibility in terms of being able to more specifically dig into our reporting within the actual platform without having to go directly to a 3rd party measurement and reporting tool. It’s also letting us explore data that doesn’t necessarily show up at the surface level.
Excel for Erin Supinka, Assistant Director of Digital Engagement – Dartmouth College
Excel – seriously!
I spent this year building a strong foundation and understanding of how to use Excel. We use management tools with analytics built in, but doing it by hand lets me manipulate the data in a way that makes the most sense for our goals.
It can be hard to sit down and watch tutorials on Excel, but I HIGHLY recommend trying to build up your worksheet skills!
The necessity to keep learning for Angi Roberts, Information Services Manager – University of Guelph
The most useful thing I’ve learned is to not get comfy and believe I am an expert.
Platforms and apps change so quickly, expectations of users change, and new tools pop up. It’s important to be prepared for continual learning.
A conference focusing on higher ed social media?
The Higher Ed Social Media Conference is a must-attend event for higher ed social media professionals and teams looking for new ideas and best practices.
Watch below what a few of your higher ed colleagues who attended the past editions of the Higher Ed Social Media Conference say about their experience.