The three unforgiveable social media sins universities need to avoid

Here in TERMINALFOUR Towers, we’re always banging on about the vital role that social media plays in higher education. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse trying to attract, keep and ‘stay friends’ with students and when done right social media can really help you achieve this.

 If you’re a social media believer you probably know what works and what doesn’t but just in case we wanted to highlight some common social media practices that you should avoid faster than a spooky mansion on a stormy Halloween night.

1.      Like-baiting

You know the kind of posts we mean; ‘like and share this post’ to be in with a chance of winning your very own mythical unicorn* (unicorn not included) or worse....Like and share this post or a little ghostly child will appear at midnight tonight at the foot of your bed. Now, we are exaggerating for effect here but any post that contains content that is of little value to its intended audience and that relies on provocative statements to lure users into clicking or liking does very little for engagement and will see students leaving your page quicker than their exit from the library at end-of-term. Just don’t do’re better than that!

2.      Posting too often

People follow you because their interested in what you have to say and like what you stand for. Once a student begins following you on a social media page you’re in- they’ve already confessed they like you! You then have a unique opportunity to grow and nurture your blossoming relationship through the wonderful medium of social media. You can turn a tentative acquaintance into an ardent admirer. However, there is a catch; you don’t want to become too needy, too clingy or just downright desperate. Play it cool, post often but just remember don’t overdo it...nobody needs to be reminded five times in one day to remember that the library opening hours have changed.

3.      Only using social media to advertise

You know those friends that only call you to talk about themselves? Can we all just agree that they're the worst specimens on the face of the earth?  Well, it’s the same on social media. An organization that only wants to talk about itself isn’t going to be half as popular as one that listens, responds and interacts with followers. Nobody is saying you can’t post what you want to post but make sure you keep a nice balance on your page. Take the time to engage with your audience and respond to their queries and concerns. Social media is a forum for engagement not just self-promotion.

We’ve said it before but we just can’t resist saying it again; a well conceived social media strategy can eliminate the risk of having to resort to cheap social media tricks to win over your followers.  Just like any other area of your business, a well thought out strategy is your key to unlocking success. Followers may not grow on trees but they do grow organically so make like Goldilocks and find the strategy that’s just right.