Social media explainer, with donuts

If you work in registration, admissions, transfer, or international, you’ve likely struggled with how to communicate with students and prospects -- and possibly also alumni, faculty, and staff.

“Students are no longer reading their emails, and if you flood them with texts, they opt out, so texting is less of an option,” said Texas Ruegg, University Registrar, LeTourneau University. “Social media is one way to have multiple channels of communication with students and parents, and even internally to faculty and staff.”

Not all social media is created equal -- and the number of outlets is increasing, including: Facebook, Linked in, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Pandora, Snapchat, and Google+.

“But how do you--and should you--use every flavor of social media?” asked Ruegg. To maximize your social media investment, keep these three things in mind:

  1. Specificity. Platforms have various tools and tricks to help your message gain more traction--but these may differ among platforms. For example, understanding how to use the hashtag (#) can help improve your branding and efficiency both within and across platforms.

  2. Segmentation. Platforms have varying levels of cultural cachet with different demographics. For example, adults looking to change or advance an established career may be more accessible via LinkedIn, while highschool students might be more likely to find you on Instagram.

  3. Reputation. Some platforms have more professional connotations (such as LinkedIn) or casual connotations (such as Snapchat). Your institutional brand may align better with some platforms than others; be deliberate in your platform usage.

“A lot of people in our industry don’t know what many of these platforms do, and they don’t know how to use them,” Ruegg said. “But there are some folks out there doing really creative things.”

Ruegg uses donuts to illustrate effective ways to communicate the same message via different channels -- with photos, hashtags, comments and other content-boosters -- with his AACRAO 2018 session “Everything You Need to Know about Social Media and Donuts.” (No word yet on whether actual donuts will be served at the event.) Attendees will learn more about the history of these platforms and how to use them, as well as have the opportunity to share interesting ways their campuses are exploiting these resources. For more deliciously sweet professional development experiences, register now for the 2018 AACRAO Annual Meeting, March 25-28, in Orlando.