Social Media: Think Like a Student

Carnegie Higher Ed Sep 10, 2012 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

So your private school has hundreds of likes on its Facebook page and you’ve been tweeting for a year. But how do you hone in on content that will help attract students for a mutually good fit? A look at your school calendar probably reveals no shortage of potential material to share—and that’s particularly good for keeping current students up-to-date—but you may want to look a little deeper to ensure potential students and their parents get a true sense of your community through your social media outlets.

One approach would be to step back and take a fresh look at your campus, as students on a tour might see it. Your printed materials are likely not the first introduction to your school anymore, so social media is critical for capturing initial interest. As important as it is to convey how your campus is staying current with academic trends and related technological advances, don’t overlook the appeal of things that may no longer seem as exciting and new to you. For example, schools that have recently implemented programs to get food from local farmers are probably touting this development in social media posts, but if your school has had a garden for decades and locally sourced food has been the norm, don’t forget that this may now be a more relevant factor in school choice for some families.

Is turnout high for sporting events at your school? Make sure students who love to root for the home team realize they won’t be faced with empty bleachers at football games.

And don’t overlook glimpses of everyday life: Did you pass (or participate in) a spontaneous snowball fight between students and faculty on the way to your office? Share the moments that show a sense of fun and camaraderie that only a Facebook post or tweet can convey. Students already know that they will be working hard at your school, so use social media to give them real-time examples of what your school has to offer beyond academics.

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