Coast Design attended the UCAS Social Media conference on Monday 18 October at the Russell Hotel. The whole day showed the importance of using these tools in the real world and the underlying message was “you just can’t afford to ignore social networks”.
This point is especially true within the education sector, the 16-25 age group is the key demographic for use of social networks so it bodes the question – why are Universities and HEIs so afraid of implementing a social media strategy as part of their communications?
Another point that was made several times throughout the day is that all of these tools are free, they don’t cost a penny!
Well this is true, up to a point. They all cost time and once you decide to dip a toe into social media, you may as well be diving in head first and before you know it you’ll be up to your eyeballs in tweets, blogs, likes and shares.
In order to create a social media strategy, you need to have some key goals, and, as this is all online, you also need some key metrics in order to prove that you’ve met these goals. Coast are working on implementing a social media strategy at one of the UK’s top Universities and have chosen to take one step at a time.
Step 1 is Twitter (sorry Facebook).
We identify the use of Facebook and the fact that it’s got 500 million users (and a few enemies) blah blah blah…
But after installing Tweetdeck throughout the marketing team, you realise that alot of the processes can be automated. Part of our strategy here includes:
Use Tweetdeck as a Twitter client. You can schedule tweets to go in the future and then you can forget about them. We set up 5 weeks worth of tweets for an open day in less than 5 minutes.
Another reason we chose Tweetdeck was because of it’s integration with bit.ly. Hootsuite is another exceptional twitter client, but for us, the integration with bit.ly and in the future, bit.ly pro was an important feature that we couldn’t resist. Simply insert your bit.ly API key in your Tweetdeck settings and all of your links are instantly shortened. Log in to your bit.ly account and you can view all the stats. This will show you not just how many links have been clicked, but retweets and mentions as well.
Another tool that we will start to use is Socialoomph (formerly Tweet later). We have to thank @andyheadworth for this little tip. It enables you to further automate your tweets to increase traffic to your website, facebook page, newsletter sign up or anything else you want to make people aware of.
But, this is all fair and well in terms of decreasing the amount of time spent on social media, but the secondary aim behind increasing traffic is to open a dialog with your stakeholders.
This will take time, it will have to be focussed and you certainly don’t want to automate this bit. Perhaps this is what Universities and HEI’s are most afraid of. We’ve already seen mistakes from major corporations so what chance do educational institutions have?
Coast Design will update soon on the next part of rolling out a social media strategy within a major educational institution. Sign up to our newsletter to be notified or follow us on twitter ( @coaststudios ) to keep up to date with this major project.