October 27, 2011 Leave a comment
October 26, 2011 Leave a comment
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1. Virtual Tours
Syracuse University is one of the many colleges that use a service called YourCampus360 to build a virtual tour into their Facebook Pages in addition to their websites.
Students can virtually navigate the path that an in-person tour might take, watch videos and scroll 360-degree images of campus landmarks without spending money to travel there.
Other universities, like Stanford, take a simpler approach to showing off their campuses on Facebook. Stanford’s album, Summertime at the Farm: A Walking Tour, is just one of many you’ll find on its page that show off the picturesque 8,180-acre campus.
2. School Pride
Butler’s particularly photogenic mascot, Blue II, has his own Facebook Page.
Facebook has helped students bond with Blue II — he takes rides on four-wheelers and inspects their empty campus pool — but he also drums up school spirit at athletic events.
“Especially when we get into basketball season,” Morrow says, “the team will win a game and then play again two days later. There’s not a lot of time to plan, and we won’t get a mailer out two days from now. So Facebook is a good way to tell people when the game is and that there are viewing parties at these times and these places.”
3. School Swag
The University of Kansas Facebook Page links to some of its more creative school pride digital and print-out memorabilia. Whether a jack-o-lantern stencil or screensaver is more of your style, there are plenty of options. Texas A&M does something similar with a section dedicated to gear, digital goods like wallpaper and its iTunes U store.
4. Alumni Groups
When it comes to alumni, many schools have separate Facebook Pages for different clubs across the country.
At Butler, there is one Facebook Alumni page, but different clubs have created groups like “Butler University Alumni Chicago” for discussing local events.
“With the alumni page, it can be kind of fun because we can post alumni events, but we can also post, if an alumni is doing something great, a news article about them from their home town,” says Ashley Plummer, who coordinates Butler University’s social media presence with Kaltenmark. “It’s a great way to reconnect with those people.”
Plummer says some of the most popular posts on the alumni page have been calls-to-action, such as “What is your favorite memory from the first day of school?”
“It allows us to draw our alumni that much closer to the institution,” says Kevin Morrow. “We have alumni that are scattered all over the world, and having a good Facebook presence allows them to stay connected to find out what other alumni are doing, find out what is going on at the institution.”
5. Sharing Department Content
It’s not unusual for every department at a university to have its own Facebook Page. At Syracuse University, this happened without any coordination from the marketing team. Department pages now work together with the main page in an approach that Morrow calls “Decentralized Federation.”
“When it comes down to it, you want to make sure that all of the constituents are getting the most relevant information for them, and in our opinion that can’t come from one place. There are just so many goals that a university has, you can’t really do it through one channel.” explains Kate Brodock, the executive director of digital and social media at Syracuse University.
The university also has separate pages for different geographic regions.
“What’s nice is that each can have its own specialized content, but there’s also a strong sharing component between the Facebook Pages — a nice sharing of content with one another, so they can kind of do some cross-pollination with different audiences,” Morrow says.
6. Reaching Out to Prospective Students
Just like university websites, university Facebook pages often cater to prospective students. The Texas A&M page, for instance, has a “howdy” portal that gives easy access to university information. It’s also not unusual for schools to create Facebook groups for admitted students.
In fact, there’s an app for that. Inigral’s Schools App creates a closed community of students within Facebook. Essentially, each student gets access to two real-time streams. One provides updates from everyone at the school. The other contains updates that only pertain to topics the student has indicated she or he is interested in. Students can join groups and interact without friending other participants.
The University of Texas at Tyler invites admitted students to join the school’s app. It found that students are five times more likely to enroll if they use the application.
7. Facebook Places Advertising
Last fall, the University of Kentucky plotted giant, wooden markers that look like Facebook Places markers around its campus.
“We’re encouraging students to check in, so when they do, it’ll show up in their news feed and maybe their friends still in high school will see it over and over again,” the school’s marketing director Kelley Bozeman told Ad Age at the time.
Clearly, there are many ways for universities to use social media platforms, especially Facebook. In what ways does your college or alma mater use Facebook? Do you engage on the platform? Let us know in the comments below.