Best Practices for Blogging: Higher Education

Social media is becoming more and more popular as technology continues to grow.  In higher education/student affairs, we are always using social media since that is what the students are using.  Many in higher education have realized that the best way to reach out to the students is through social media since the students are always on the different social media sites.  We aren’t going to send them snail mail when they are always on their computers and we can reach out to them via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

When it comes to blogging and tweeting in higher education, there are some dos and don’ts/ best practices that everyone should be aware of.  You don’t have to be an amazing writer to be a successful blogger

Five steps that will help someone who is not a good writer to be a great blogger include:

  1. Play Mad Libs with headlines- this helps to grab the attention of those that might be looking through blogs and draws them in to view your blog.
  2. Write your subheadings- this is a great way to provide a little more information on your blog without the viewer going through your entire blog to figure out it isn’t what they were looking for.
  3. Do your research- “Research is what separates the winners from the losers” (How to Blog, 2013).
  4. Don’t be a try-hard- Some people try too hard to get their point out there and make their work too complicated.  Write as though you are talking with someone and the viewer will be more interested in what is being said.
  5. Promote- make sure to promote your blog!  This is a great way to gain followers.  This may be a slow process, but the more promoting of the blog the more followers that will eventually jump on board.

You can view more information about best practices for blogging at http://socialmediatoday.com/hishaman/1545026/how-to-blog

When it comes to Twitter, there are also some dos and don’ts to know about just as there are when it comes to blogging.  The first step when it comes to Twitter is to make sure that your username is unique and people will understand what it is.  If your username is completely random, chances are people are not going to follow you.  There are many different best practices when it comes to using Twitter. 

According to The Tao of Twitter, by Mark W. Schaefer, there are five set-up basics when it comes to Twitter.

  1. It is important to use a picture with your Twitter account.  Twitter users who have a picture have more followers than those that do not have a picture.
  2. Include a link to your website.  This will drive people to your website where they can learn more about the organization.
  3. Create a biography with your business interests.  This helps when people are searching to bring them to your website.
  4. Choose a short, easy to remember username.  This allows people to easily find you.
  5. Even if nobody is following you yet, still send tweets.  This allows for people to read your tweets and see if they want to follow you.

As previously mentioned, higher education/student affairs is using social media to reach out to the students.  I believe that this is still relatively new in the industry and that they are doing a great job so far following these best practices.  It is important to follow these guidelines in order to be successful at what you do.  If there are any in the industry that are not following these best practices, they might want to do a little research and change what they are doing.

 

References:

Best practices.  (2013).  Retrieved from https://business.twitter.com/best-practices

Dholakiya, P. (2013). How to blog (even if you can’t write).  Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/hishaman/1545026/how-to-blog

Schaefer, M. (2012). The tao of twitter. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

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Social Marketing Brands and Risk: Higher Education/ Student Affairs

Taking your company’s brand social is very important especially in today’s world which is full of technology. In higher education/student affairs there are always different advertisements, YouTube videos, tweets, and Facebook posts promoting the college/university and its brand. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has definitely taken their brand social by being a part of many different social media sites. It seems that any time I am watching TV I see a commercial about SNHU.

SNHU also has many different Facebook pages for different offices on campus along with pages for incoming classes where students can chat and get to know one another before showing up for the first day of classes. Having all of these different pages definitely gets the brand out to the public and people recognize when something from SNHU pops up on their computers or TVs.

When it comes to branding, another risk is having different versions of the “brand” going out to the potential audience. It is important to make sure that the brand is outlined and clear to those that will be implementing it into their work. Southern New Hampshire University has created branding standards that all staff members must review before using the SNHU logo on their advertisements. This allows them to be very specific and make sure that it is getting out consistently and not being changed up by different departments. The SNHU Branding Standards can be found here: http://www.snhu.edu/files/pdfs/GSFinalWeb.pdf

This can be great for an organization, but it can also be risky. Taking an organization’s brand social, especially a large university can be risky. This is a great way to get people interested in attending the university and seeing other things that are offered, but it can also lead to an overflow of demand that cannot be met. So although this can be very beneficial, it can also hurt the organization if not used properly. I know that since taking the brand social at SNHU, there has been a large increase in applicants in both online classes and on campus classes. This may seem like a great thing for the university, but it can also put a strain on the resources available. Yes, it is great to have high attendance records and have so many people interested in attending, but that leads to extra wear and tear on the buildings, the need for additional rooms and staff members, etc. Sometimes these changes cannot be made immediately with the increased demand and that can make it not as nice of an experience as it could be. Taking the brand social can be great, but it is important to weigh out the risks that are associated with this as well. Like mentioned earlier, SNHU has taken the brand social in many different ways and have been very successful. The university needs to make sure they keep track of what is working and what isn’t working along with making sure they aren’t overdoing it. This is a good thing for the university and they don’t want it to turn bad.

Mobile Applications in Student Affairs/Higher Education


Student affairs/higher education is continually incorporating new Mobile Applications into the industry. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in amount of students wanting to find their roommate match or find a friend to live with for on-campus housing. These students do not want a “random” roommate and would rather get to know them before moving in. In the past, many colleges and universities would place students with a roommate and that was who they would live with.

At the University that I work at, we allow students to put requests in if they would like to live with another student. Although we do not guarantee the request, we do take the time to review the requests and see what we can do. Recently, we have heard a lot from the students that they are going on different mobile applications to find a roommate. It is no longer them requesting to live with someone that they know from home, but instead someone that they have found on a mobile application.

One of the mobile applications that the students have been using is RoomSync. RoomSync links with Facebook and allows for students to find someone to live with and then they can also see each other’s Facebook pages to see what that person is like. RoomSync searches through Facebook profiles of those that are signed up for the mobile application and provides a list of those that might be compatible with each other. The students are able to reach out to each other through Facebook and also through email.

There is also a way for users of RoomSync to interact with other members. This isn’t just pushing a button and instantly finding a roommate, they are able to interact with each other and see if they share any common interests and kind of get to know each other before requesting each other. Students are able to access this from their computers and also from mobile devices. This allows for the quick, easy, and convenience that college students today are looking for. They are not required to be sitting down at their computer and can find a roommate while on the go.

This is something that has been successful for students because they are able to know who their roommate is going to be before showing up for move-in day. Many students these days do not like the unknown which would be the “random” roommate. This application is a great way to find someone with common interests and start conversations to see if it is something that will work out.
http://www.roomsync.com/heh—how-it-works.aspx

Social Media Application

Social media is being used in Student Affairs / Higher Education more today than it was just a few years ago.  The generation that is going into higher education is definitely more tech savvy than the previous generations and they have grown up knowing and using technology.  Social media sites seem to be the way to reach students when some important information needs to go out, if you actually want them to pay attention to it.

I work in student affairs and we use social media not only to get important information out to the students, but to check in with them, address any questions/concerns that they may have, and as a way to remind them of important events that are coming up.  Also, we provide pictures from different programs that occur and the students like seeing the pictures of them with their friends.

Many organizations that are involved in student affairs have jumped on the bandwagon of social media.  My organization uses Facebook as the main source of social media.  We have created groups based on the different areas on campus.  This allows students to pose questions/concerns/comments in a place that is more relevant than just a large page for everyone to join.  Their answers can be answered from other members of the page or the administrators of the page.  This allows them to also see others who may live in their area and they are able to communicate with everyone.  This is the site where we post updates that they may need to know along with different programs/events that are happening in their area or on campus.  We find that this is a very beneficial tool and gets out to the students in a more effective way than using paper signs that just get torn down.  This also helps when it comes to cutting back on the amount of paper that the university uses.

Many involved in student affairs have used/participated in Facebook group pages and said that the reason for using/enjoying these group pages was for: Socializing, entertainment, self-status seeking, and information.  There are so many different opportunities when using Facebook as a form of social media to reach out to the students.  Our university also uses Twitter to get information out to students.  This allows them to tweet back in the moment and get a speedy reply, along with some joking around that occurs.

In order to improve standings with the social media environment, I think it is important to make sure that the students are being involved in the social media.  I also think it might be beneficial to see what types of social media they use the most and then implement pages on those sites.  This way sites that the students use are the ones that the university uses and they can be effective.  Staying up to date with the different technologies and social media sites is also very important since they are always changing.

References:

Park, N., Kee, K., Valenzuela, S. (2009). Cyber psychology & behavior. Retrieved from: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cpb.2009.0003

Social Media Tools

There are many different tools out there that are used in social media and are put in place to make social media sites easier to monitor and more efficient.  I am no pro when it comes to social media and tools that are used in social media, but I have heard of a few that are interesting and offer easier access to information and even offer great statistics about your pages.  The two tools that I will discuss in this blog are: Facebook Insights and HootSuite.

Facebook Insights

Facebook insights are a tool that is relatively new to the social media site and was just introduced this year.  This tool allows Facebook users to see who is viewing their pages and also how much time the viewer is spending on different sections of their pages.  This is a great tool for businesses and organizations to use in order to know what on their page is most seen and what they might need to change to make other parts of the page more noticeable or to get the audience to spend more time on that section.  This is a great tool to use when marketing your organization or business through Facebook.  It seems as though many organizations are starting to have Facebook pages, but some are not very effective and appealing to the eye.  I have been on some companies Facebook pages and found it very difficult to obtain information and it was not set up very well.  Facebook insights will show the business page owner what parts are most visited and then allow them to work on the page to better their views and viewing time.

HootSuite

HootSuite is another social media tool that is becoming popular.  This tool allows for a user to see all of their social media sites in one place and they can keep track of comments, tweets, pins, etc.  The page owners are able to post something to multiple social media sites from one place and reach out to many people at once.  This is a great marketing tool and allows for the user to schedule posts in advance.  This allows them to do the work ahead of time and not have to worry about going back later to make the post.

Both Facebook Insights and HootSuite are growing social media tools.  They were both put in place to help the user and make their pages better and easier to use.  Although each tool has its own uniqueness, they are both social media tools that can be very helpful to organizations if used correctly.

References:

About HootSuite. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://hootsuite.com/company

Harper, B. (2013). New facebook insights tested and reviewed. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/node/1562941