Blogging, social media use skyrocketing at universities


From time to time I have been pleased to feature the research of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research. They’ve uncovered some fascinating trends among non-profits, Fortune 500 companies and fast-growing Inc. 500 firms and the latest research turns to social media usage trends at four-year accredited collges and universities in the U.S. Some highlights:

Social media usage soars

100 percent of colleges and universities studied are using some form of social media, up from 95 % last year, 85% in 2009 and 61% in 2008.

Facebook is the most common form of social networking being used with 98% of colleges and universities reporting having a Facebook page (up from 87% last year). Eighty-four percent have a school Twitter account (up from 59%) and 66% have a blog (up from 51%). Podcasting has risen from 22% to 41% in just one year.

College admissions professionals are flocking to LinkedIn with 47% on the professional networking site, up from 16% last year. The number of schools using MySpace has declined from 16% last year to 8% this year. Foursquare and You Tube were included in the study for the first time and are being used by 20% and 86% respectively. The use of message boards and video blogging have remained at approximately the same level as last year (37% and 47% respectively).

The rise of the blog

Blogging continues to be embraced by colleges and universities. While other sectors are reporting a leveling off of blogging (i.e., Fortune 500, Forbes Top Charities) higher ed adoption has grown significantly in the past year.

Eight percent of schools with blogs are using some internally developed applications (down from 14% in 2009-2010). Others cite WordPress (38%) and Blogger (10%) as platforms. The use of WordPress as a blogging platform has doubled in the past year.

When asked who manages their blog, the most popular answers were the admissions office (including the director, staff and students), marketing, and public relations.  The researchers also claim that these institutions are using their blogs “siginificantly” more effectively by developing communities around them. 85 percent now accept comments, up from 63% four years ago.  The report also points to a four-year increase of RSS availability from 46% to 77% as an indicator of an increased sophistication in the use of blogging as a “conversation: and recruitment strategy.

And it seems to be working …

When asked how successful social media tools have been for their schools, respondents have “consistently raved about their experience,” especially Facebook (95% success) and YouTube (92%). For every tool studied, a high degree of success is reported. The relatively new Foursquare is being used by 20 percent of those interviewed while 61% of them report success with it. The exception is MySpace which shows a decrease in perceived success from 42% to 34%.

Surprisingly, school “listening” activities have fallen off. 53 percent in 2007, 54% in 2008 and 73% in 2009 report they monitored the internet for buzz, posts, conversations and news about their institution. The latest research shows a slight decrease to 68%. Given the ease with which monitoring can be done, it is surprising that all schools are not monitoring online buzz about their institutions.

US colleges and universities are taking the lead in using social media as part of their marketing and recruiting plans. Some schools will use search engines and social media sites to garner more information about prospective students. They are evaluating the effectiveness of tools that were adopted early on and making decisions about which new tools to add into their communications strategy. The goal is clearly to reach and engage those tech savvy young people who may be making at least initial decisions about a school based on its online presence.

Looks like colleges and non-profits are leading the way by far over corporations in social media marketing usage. This has been trending for our years now. isn’t it interesting that the organizations with the most money and resources have the least use of these tools … maybe that makes sense?


TimesHigherEducation (@timeshighered)
27/08/2011 19:20
US steps up recruitment in South Korea as UK plays catch-up


Marketing is now par for the course

21 July 2011

Programmes must appeal to students, not the vanity of academics, says PR head. David Matthews writes

Marketing is now par for the course

Credit: Getty

Chattering classes: Researchers ‘should be taught how to talk to journalists’

University marketing departments should play a bigger part in deciding which courses are offered to students, a senior public relations expert has said.

Peter Reader, director of marketing and communications at the University of Portsmouth, said marketing staff needed to make sure that there was demand for new programmes to avoid the creation of “vanity courses” by academics.

“If you are going to take a course to market that will be successful, you need to know there are (enough interested students),” he said.

As well as using data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, Mr Reader said many universities now used focus groups to gauge the popularity of new courses.

He questioned whether some programmes were “vanity courses”, and said some master’s degrees were created to satisfy the interests of academics but ended up attracting small numbers of students.

“That a particular member of staff has an interest is not a reason for that course. Many (courses) have gone on to fail,” he said.

Mr Reader also suggested that marketing departments should play a greater role in branding courses. “The academic world is full of jargon and one of our tasks is to make sure what we mean is understood outside the university,” he said.

However, he insisted that his aim was not to cut courses just because they were unpopular, adding: “Universities need to have a comprehensive programme.”

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said the development of courses should be a “long-term not a short-term process. Courses should be determined by academic rigour, not marketing fads.”

In an article published in Perspectives, the journal of the Association of University Administrators, Mr Reader says that marketing staff now require “open and sometimes immediate access to the head of the institution” and are “advising on everything from the tone of messages to course-portfolio management”.

He told Times Higher Education that media training for academics was the norm in an era when communicating with the public was of fundamental importance.

He admitted there was a danger that “something gets lost” when researchers talk to journalists about their findings, but pointed out that research reached far more people through newspapers than through scholarly journals.

Ms Hunt acknowledged that communicating research to the public was important, but said that if “academics need to go on media training courses, then there is definitely a case for some science reporters to be sent on basic science courses”.


Social media play an increasingly important role in the college search proces

Nancy Griesemer's photo

, DC College Admissions Examiner

July 16, 2011 – Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.

When it comes to choosing a college, social media are playing an increasingly important role in facilitating connections between institutions and students.

Earlier this year, Maguire Associates, a consulting firm used by educational institutions, and scholarship-search website FastWeb surveyed over 21,000 high school seniors to determine the most important factors influencing college enrollment decisions.

Not surprisingly, students consider social media or networking sites “most important” for getting news and announcements about upcoming events and activities, including those posted by colleges and universities.

For these institutions, student use of networking sites suggests the need for a “compelling social media presence,” particularly on Facebook and YouTube.

When asked how such a presence affects interest in applying for admission, 22 percent of the students reported being influenced by something they saw on a social network or other online resource. In fact, over half recall:

  • using a web service to explore their “fit” with colleges and universities (59%);
  • watching a YouTube video created by a school (57%);
  • Searching for scholarships using social media or networking sites (56%);
  • reading posts about a school on a social networking site (53%); and
  • reading student blogs or other posts on a college or university website (51%).

Fewer, but still significant proportions of students became fans of or friended a college or university on a social networking site (44%) or chatted online with students enrolled at a particular school (39%).


Most importantly for admissions gurus, nearly a quarter of the seniors surveyed (22%) admit “they more strongly considered applying to a college because of a recommendation read on a social media site.”

And colleges are responding by upgrading their web presence through the use of Facebook “fan” pages, creative videos, and blogs produced by students, faculty and administrators.

For example, students interested in keeping up with admissions at local colleges and universities can choose from an impressive menu of social media offerings including Dean J’s UVa Admissions Blog or a host of promotional videos posted on YouTube by GMU, GW, or the University of MarylandFear the Turtle!

They can be Facebook fans of American University or the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays. Or they can follow Georgetown University on Twitter.

All this goes to support earlier findings from similar studies including one from the UMass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research titled, “Social Media and College Admissions,” which found that higher education continues to beat business in the adoption of social media tools.

And they’re getting a head start engaging a whole generation of loyal fans.


Pete Cashmore (@mashable)
29/06/2011 02:50

5 Ways the Advertising Industry Is Preparing for a Digital Future –


Tips to make content your secret weapon

by Kit on June 16, 2011

We’d like to call attention to something we’ve observed for quite some time. People really do recognize and appreciate valuable content, especially when it comes from their peers. By “valuable” we mean content that raises the interest, awareness, and knowledge of the person who receives it. It also can entertain, inspire and challenge a point of view. Like visual artists displaying their images in a portfolio, think of your content as a knowledge portfolio – a well organized collection of your expertise.

Earlier this week Ross posted “Building Context for Professional Content”. Ross describes how the job guide Daily Endeavor is using our open API to integrate with SlideShare content and help people find jobs.

Non-profits have content, too
In a recent workshop in content marketing for associations and non-profits, Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe) asserted that the Ultimate Goal is to be “The trusted, expert resource in your niche wherever your customers are online.”

This is true for any organization that wants to improve its visibility, credibility and brand image. Joe summarizes the workshop in his article “Nine Steps to Content Marketing Success One Step at a Time” and has published the slideshow on his channel.

What exactly is “content marketing?”
There are many definitions of content marketing, but all include the following concepts: adding value, building credibility, sharing knowledge in order to build trusted relationships with your customers and partners. Don’t limit yourself to just text copy. The term “content” includes illustrations, data, charts, videos…anything that has information that your audience will find useful. Marketing Sherpa posted an article outlining the four tactics that our friends at Eloqua use to implement content marketing. There are some golden nuggets in this article – a recommended read.

Looking for other ways to share your content? Nancy Scott challenges folks to add more value to company newsletters by making them content-rich. Here at SlideShare we have a conscious commitment to use our newsletter as a vehicle for building community and sharing value-added content. Nancy lists 16 more newsletters that are taking this approach.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s