The Important Role of Social Media in Higher Education
Universities have come a long way from its students using MySpace and the advent of Facebook. Since the major social networks have come into play, social media has fundamentally changed the way we communicate in today’s world. Between MOOCs and smart devices like tablets, smartboards, wearables, and more, reaching someone is as easy as clicking a button. As social media has transformed every industry, higher education has felt enormous pressure to respond to the evolving technology landscape.
How are schools using social media to compete among other colleges for enrollment and improving the student journey? Read on to learn more about the important role of social media in higher education.
(Sourced from Inside Higher Ed)
Attract top talent with social media
Declining enrollment rates are cited as one of the top concerns of higher education schools today. A 2019 report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center states that “college enrollment in the U.S. has decreased for the eighth consecutive year.”
Colleges all over the nation are feeling the heat to recruit prospective students as American universities continue to lose talent to foreign colleges. How are universities differentiating themselves against the competition? One answer is social media.
Social media is an excellent way to shine in a crowded market with a digitally native audience. Through digital marketing and brand efforts, attractive student experience is what a student is looking for when choosing a college. By curating appealing, personalized content to prospects, a student is much more likely to visit a website or the campus itself. Social media provides both paid and organic ways to drive engagement with students all year long, instilling a sense of community that many prospective students seek when attending a university.
From the customer experience (CX) perspective, colleges can assure students are heard and informed using a solid social media strategy. Your marketing department and recruiters can create lasting impressions with students using a well-curated social media presence.
Increase campus safety with social media
School shootings, sexual assault, and hate crimes are on the rise in higher education institutions. At a time when we are more connected than ever, colleges are relying on technology to alert faculty, staff, and students of potential crises. Particularly with Twitter, a network that updates in real-time, campuses are able to communicate danger with live updates.
Thanks to the virality of social media, a word can spread fast. Dave Cullen, author of Columbine — a book named after the 1999 incident in Ohio — shared that “psychopaths love giving [us] clues” ahead of time. In the case of the nearly 300 school shootings that have happened since 2013, social media is a critical way of dispersing accurate information quickly. Squashing fake news, preventing crime, and keeping the public informed are ways social media can help higher education institutions.
Today, colleges are embracing anonymous tips related to sexual violence on their campuses. Providing a safe, digital way to alert universities about an incident helps to protect the reputation and safety of the whistle-blower. Social media can accelerate the spread of information about a rapist, often prompting expedited action from university boards and law enforcement.
Create sustainable change with social media
College campuses have a long history of being the foundation of social justice movements. Particularly during times of war, domestic troubles, and politics, higher education campuses are the grassroots force of American activism.
For example, the lunch counter sit-ins in the midst of the American Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s began with four college students in Greensboro, North Carolina. Flash forward to today, movements like Black Lives Matter and Free Speech Movement, continue to wage war in and outside of campuses. These movements are predominantly led by students.
In the digital era, social media has exploded the way students fight for social justice on campus. Now support groups, clubs, and advocates can bring their movements online and go viral and reach global audiences Once an important part of photojournalism for historical purposes, documenting protests today can now be done by anyone with a smartphone.
Social media can engage conversations in a medium preferred by younger generations, create explosive awareness, sustain momentum, and spark change within the legislation. Getting the word out has always been the bread and butter for every social justice campaign — today, social media allows students to take civic engagement to the next level in terms of scale.
Transforming higher education
The benefits of social media are vast and the role social media networks play is vital to any campus. Social media is used to enhance the student journey, recruit prospective students, communicate with your student body, and increase social and civic engagement among students.
We specialize in deploying enterprise solutions that improve the student journey and eliminate paper processes at higher education institutions. Maximize your digital transformation project at your college with ProcessMaker today.
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