LinkedIn’s latest offering, “University Pages,” is designed for institutions of higher education to connect with prospective students, parents, alumni, faculty, and businesses. It is a powerful networking tool that:
- Connect students with schools based on areas of interest.
- Graphically illustrates where alumni live, where they work, and what they do.
- Allows users to engage in conversations.
- Shows top areas of study.
- Lists graduate skills.
LinkedIn’s Jonathan Lister told an audience of about 2,000 content marketers at Content Marketing World 2013 in Cleveland, the mantra for business procurement is changing from “always be closing” to “always be helping.” Lister, who is vice president of North American sales, emphasized the importance for businesses, including universities, to connect with their audiences on personal levels. He and other content marketing experts at the four-day event said people come to search engines looking for more than information — they come looking for insight, connections and experiences.
U-Page Is Not a Biz Page
University Pages allow people to connect with universities in interactive, meaningful and insightful ways. They are not business pages. A business page shows updates from the school, connections, featured groups, advertisers, etc. For example, the business page for PennFoster.edu shows its logo, which takes up most of the “above the fold” screen, followed by its updates and the typical “how you’re connected.”
When the online university launches its LinkedIn University page, it will connect to all LinkedIn users who’ve listed the school in their education. The logo will be replaced by information that’s meaningful to prospective students and their families.
Think of business pages as brand reinforcements for people who are already engaged with your university — current students, alumni, faculty and staff, etc. LinkedIn’s business pages don’t grab the attention of your untapped audience. Christina Allen, LinkedIn’s director of product management, said University Pages were inspired by her own daughter’s journey from high school to college. Allen recognized “powerful insights” exist within LinkedIn’s 200-million-plus users that help prospective students begin their college careers. She helped create this outbound marketing tool, which reaches those prospective students, parents and guidance counselors.
How University Pages Work
Let’s say a student has an interest in veterinary medicine. She enters her keyword phrase in LinkedIn’s search field and selects from the drop-down menu “Universities.” The results will show schools that have launched University Pages, each packed with data from LinkedIn users. She can further narrow her insight with advanced search tools, such as people who graduated within the previous 10 years from public universities, with graduating classes of more than 1,000.
Or, say a student is interested in a specific school, like Colorado State. He can see the school has more than 104,000 followers, and the top three areas of employment for graduates on LinkedIn are in the entrepreneurial, administrative and sales fields. He can also browse the school’s 21 notable alumni and get a snapshot of the school’s self-reported demographics, statistics and financials.
How to Become a U-Page Administrator
If your school hasn’t launched its University Page, you will see the message “The … University Page isn’t quite ready…” You will still see data mined from LinkedIn members who’ve listed the school among their education credentials. Once you set an administrator, you will be able to add images, about-us-style content and statistics.
To qualify as the page administrator, you must have an e-mail address from the university, be a current employee of the school, and list your university position in your “Experience” section. Click “Request Access,” and LinkedIn will take you through the verification process.
If your school doesn’t have a University Page, you may request one by writing to LinkedIn’s Contact Us page.
University Pages’ Limitations
US News ranks University of South Carolina as the number one school for undergraduate international business. Yet, the majority of its LinkedIn users live in the U.S. Top careers are in sales, education and operations. Until the school’s administrator updates its About section — and more graduates update their profiles — first-time visitors won’t learn about this impressive ranking from its LinkedIn University page.
If your school has multiple campuses or related colleges, LinkedIn does not automatically link those pages. You will need to create “See Also” links among your colleges. For example, University of Pennsylvania has a “See Also” link to its Wharton School of Business.
University Pages are a must for recruitment. The social network has amassed more than 238 million users worldwide, in 200 countries, in 10 years. It is the largest online community designed solely for business networking. Its recent change to allow children younger than age 18 to subscribe will expand its reach even further. Under-18 members will have added safeguards to protect their privacy, as well as their own path to customer service.