Published on 2015/01/08

Five Tips to Succeed with Social Media in Continuing Education

The EvoLLLution | Five Tips to Succeed with Social Media in Continuing Education
Having a successful social media strategy is key for today’s continuing education providers to reach their varied and diverse communities.

Engaging with students and prospects via social media can be a daunting task. However, the benefits of doing so are endless. Social media offers an inexpensive way to self-promote and share content with your community. Below are my top 5 tips to create a successful social media strategy to engage students and prospects in continuing and higher education.

1. Know Your Audience

In order to be successful on social media, you must know who you are trying to reach. For example, Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies caters to an older audience with a median age of 39. We are not going to gain followers if we are posting too often, or covering topics that would be of interest to a younger, less mature audience.  In order to reach our audience, we have to know who they are and what they care about.

Find out your average age, gender and professional level, this way your posts can be more targeted. When you can, use pictures and hashtags as a way to boost your posts. Posts utilizing pictures and hashtags get a greater response across all ages on social media.

2. Get Your Community Involved

Success on social media can be difficult, especially when the market is saturated. You need all the help you can get! This means you must tap your faculty and staff to aid you in this process. Make sure you have buy-in from your team. The more likes, shares or retweets you get, the better!  If they’re willing, have your community contribute content via blogs, articles and more.

To increase your community online, make sure you are searching for hashtags and trending topics that relate to your university. When you find an interesting article make sure to retweet, share or favorite it. If you are a good social media citizen, other users are more likely to share your articles and information.

3. Increase Your Offerings

In order to increase our student and prospect following at Brandeis GPS, we have begun to offer more than just articles and updates via social media. Each week we post a blog for students and each month we host a special event webinar. Offering these additional services to students allowed us to supplement what we were already sharing. We were able to use blogs from faculty members, and tapped several industry experts for their webinar expertise. As we all know in social media, content is king.

In order to be a force on social media you need to have the content to back you up! Make sure you are sharing your entire event calendar with your followers. If you are not a part of the central university, share their events, too! Networking internally with other social media professionals in your university is very helpful. They can help you gain followers and interest.

4. Consistency is Key

Having metrics of how often to post via social media is essential for success. Tweeting 10 times in an hour and then going dark for three weeks is not an option. Our social media strategy includes metrics of how often to post across all social media networks. Finding what is feasible for your social media team can take some trial and error.

Sharing your information multiple times is encouraged as it can increase exposure, however, posting too much can be interpreted as spam and posting too little is unproductive. You must find the delicate balance between nagging and sharing.

5. Use Social Media Automation Tools

Using a social media automation tool can make your job so much easier. How so? These tools offer you the ability to schedule your posts in advance. If you are going on vacation your followers will never know because you can schedule a weeks’ worth of content. Using these tools like Hootsuite or SocialBro make staying consistent in your posting seamless.

Keep in mind that your savvy readers may realize you are using an automation tool. However, if an automation tool keeps you consistent and allows you to keep readers engaged, it is worthwhile. Make sure you are still posting on the fly in addition to using your automation tool!

Conclusion

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to add some humor and have some fun. Even though you are promoting an institution, if your posts are always serious, your followers may be turned off. It’s social media; don’t forget to have fun with it!

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