In 2022, social media is a whole other ball game. Gone are the days of Bebo and buffering YouTube videos, apparently Facebook was once called “Facemash,” and as a 23 year-old, I’m still not sure what MySpace was.
These days it’s one of the most powerful communication tools in the world and is used by literally billions of people. So, it only makes sense that universities harness this power and build themselves a community online.
Let me explain why with 4 simple points:
1. It’s a great way to spread news
More and more people are now flocking to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for their news instead of traditional sites and media. With the option to share, comment, and join in with the discussion, it makes sense that followers are spotting breaking news stories on social media before anywhere else.
Given people are now expecting to see news on these platforms, take advantage of that and share your important uni news there too! Having a newsletter is great but how many emails do you receive in a week that get forever pushed to the bottom of your list?
Having an online community means you have an existing audience and therefore a better way of sharing important stories and information in a way that people will notice.
2. It builds a sense of togetherness
Being a part of something feels great, as we feel stronger and happier as part of a unit; this connectedness is vital for social beings to thrive. Having a social media community gives students a chance to build friendships and support each other, through the good times and the bad.
Setting up community hashtags and encouraging people to share posts lends itself to a communal sense of celebration during things like graduations, and understanding during the tougher exam periods.
3. It’s a powerful communication tool
Not just a place to post newsworthy articles, social media is a great way of communicating a plethora of other things to students and alumni.
Do students have questions about term dates, scholarships, societies, or events? They will flock to social media for the answer, maybe even making use of the built in messaging services to talk to you directly.
Having an online community will allow students to help each other out and find you more approachable if they need a more detailed answer. Remember, despite being a tech savvy generation, us young folk and prospective students suffer from an unfortunate mass case of “phone call anxiety” so we’re much more likely to drop you a DM than give you a ring.
4. You can use it for recruitment
Prospective students are very likely to check out your university’s social media when trying to decide where to apply to, so it is worth making sure that your accounts are bright and welcoming!
Having an active community on your channels gets across to new students that there is a friendly, supportive atmosphere and that it’s a fun place to study. Remember to engage with students as they comment on your posts to increase your reputation as an encouraging and helpful institution too.
Overall, a social media community is generally just a great way of bringing everyone together; prospective, current, and past students, with societies, faculty members, and the rest of the world. It can create an invaluable sense of support among everyone and is a great opportunity for you to connect with students in a more friendly and informal way.