Summer is almost upon the higher education world. You know what that means for enrollment and marketing offices - planning committees, mailing calendar adjustments, strategy meetings, year-end recaps.
If a topic of conversation is going to be social media strategy for the upcoming year, you may want to follow some simple tips to keep the meetings on-topic, engaging and productive.
1. Keep your guest list small
If you’re holding campus-wide meetings (small schools) or department-wide meetings (larger schools), keep the invite list to a minimum. Your committee should have a decision-maker, an organizer, and a group of do-ers. The decision-maker can be someone like a Dean of Enrollment or a VP of Communication/Marketing, since you need a person of power and influence to actually make your group’s suggestions see the light of day. An organizer sets up the meetings, agenda topics, and keeps every on task. Lastly, and most importantly, the do-ers are staff members involved in social media daily, either listening or communicating with the audience. Strategies and goals come from the top, then the organizer facilitates tasks, and the do-ers put the plan into action.
2. Celebrate the small achievements
Did you office run a successful Class of 2014 Facebook group this year? Has your school actively tweeted for the past month? Celebrate your accomplishments first. It will give the group energy to maintain or even implement new tools to help communicate and listen to your audiences.
3. Stay on topic
Establish a format for your social media group meetings. Twice a month, I meet with about 10-15 staff members representing different parts of the campus to discuss social media use at Emerson College. I start with a five minute update about each active school-wide social media platform - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. We give a summary of the statistics, popular stories and key observations we made about the audience’s interactions. Then, I update the group with news in the social media sphere that may affect their office (recently the Facebook privacy and “Like” changes from f8, etc). Lastly, we plan on action items for the next two weeks. Keep them manageable and measurable. Don’t say “let’s implement a Twitter account for the college and start tweeting.” Instead, plan to “Sign up for the account, upload a profile image, create a biography and a background.” You have to start somewhere and grow your implementations over time.
4. Keep in touch
Your meetings should be held every other week. A single meeting will grow some big ideas but they’re likely to never see the light of day. Stick to a schedule and create a Google site, listserv or email list for group members to give updates. Unless everyone is on the same page with strategy and goals, your social media presence will quickly become unmanageable.
5. Make it fun
Social media is fun for your audience - and it should also be fun for your staff. If you find examples of amazing things other companies have done to interact with their fans, show your group. Get them excited about the possibilities for your school. Remember, running a social media strategy for your college is not a 9am-5pm job - it requires a dedicated commitment even outside the office.
And, if you schedule your meetings before 11:00am, buying some coffee and donuts for your group will boost attendance. Just sayin’. What social media goals do you have this summer for your college?
Photo credit: tiarescott