Social media is often seen as this insurmountable beast that can only be done well if you have someone running it who’s in their twenties.
Where does that idea come from? Why do enrollment and higher education marketing teams think they need a twenty-something to run their social media efforts? What do twenty-somethings know that you don’t? How hard are those skills to learn? Are they actually marketing to prospects, or are they just posting to post?
There are hundreds of resources out there on how best to run social media and we’re here to tell you that NONE of them fit your situation. How can we say that? Because we’ve read plenty of them and seen the same things over and over: surface level concepts and strategies that try to appeal to the masses – that’s not you.
So, what is right for you, your university, the structure of your work week, and the content that’s at your disposal?
Here are the only three concepts you need:
Let’s break these down a bit further and give you examples of how this works in the higher ed space!
Curation: 50% of your social media posts
Curation focuses on distributing content that is from other sources but is still relevant to your audience. You may be thinking this is pointless because it doesn’t drive traffic to your website and therefore has no value. Here’s something you may have never heard about social media marketing: it’s not about you. The benefit of curation posts is two-fold, it shows your audience that you have your finger on the pulse of a given industry and that you’re there to help your followers and not sell to them.
Creation: 30% of your social media posts
Here is where you get to attract people to your website! The creation posts are ones that come directly from your institution: blog posts, premium content, infographics, videos, promotion of events, or reminders about deadlines. The key here is varying this content and still acting more as a resource and not as a salesperson.
Pro tip: gate your premium content so that engaged followers give you their contact information to access it – hello, permission-based marketing!
Humanization: 20% of your social media posts
This speaks for itself. These posts should give your university a personality through fun and engaging content that is solely meant to build a connection with followers and increase engagement. Use the power of social media here: engage in conversations around popular hashtags, create a poll on Facebook about a recent pop culture news story, or post a picture of your dog (then grab popcorn and watch the likes roll in).
Managing Social in 30 Minutes a Week
You might be thinking this all sounds great, but I can’t afford the interruption to post on social media 2-3 times a day. Of course you can’t, so let’s explore some social media management platforms that allow you to do a week’s worth of posts in bulk that’ll only take you about 30 minutes each week!
Hootsuite (free option): with Hootsuite you can manage up to 3 social profiles, schedule up to 30 posts in advance, generate leads with social contests, and even get some basic reporting and analytics.
Buffer: very similar to Hootsuite, but with a cool feature they’ve implemented recently. Their suggestion tool tells you the perfect moment to post based on follower activity.
SproutSocial: you’ll have the ability to manage posts, drafts, messages, paid promos, and monitor activity. This is obviously much more robust than the previous two, but this also comes at a cost. If you have the budget and dedicated digital team member, this may be the best platform for you.
Zoho Social: Zoho give you all the basic functionalities of a social media management platform while also allowing you to monitor keywords and collaborate with team members in a single dashboard. If sharing the workload of social media is your modus operandi, Zoho is worth a look.
See? No Twenty-Somethings Needed
Lack of knowledge around these social platforms is a poor excuse to not have a strategy when it comes to posting. Take the curation, creation, and humanization approach and develop social messages for each of those three categories. Find a social media management platform that works best for you and your team, and then carve out 30 minutes each week to schedule these posts. As always, remember to analyze, adapt, and improve to ensure your time spent is driving the highest ROI possible.
Want to get a little more advanced? Check out our post on what we’ve learned after 12 months of paid social media promotions.