Social media is a hugely powerful tool. It’s evolved into a “can’t live without” element for businesses as well as universities. This tool allows campus departments to connect with students for free and share with them all the great things offered throughout the year. When developing a social media profile for your department, you might be wondering, in today’s world where everyone has social media, can’t anyone run it?
The short answer is no. I say that not only from years of experience, but also as an avid social media user. It is obvious when a company doesn’t know what they are doing: putting links in Instagram captions, misspellings, blurry photos and the list goes on. For more concrete reasons, here is why hiring a social media manager is crucial to up your online presence:
As new students enter our universities, they also introduce new forms of communication. Nine years ago, no one had an Instagram account and today we couldn’t imagine not having one. As we garner new audiences and their preferred platforms, we also need to be aware of new policies, algorithms, trends and general social media knowledge. To effectively use the platforms, it is vital to know what is changing and keep on top of industry news. With a dedicated person to take charge of the platforms, rec centers can stay on top of these changes and know when to adjust tactics for best results.
To maintain a credible account and be seen as an authority figure in the industry, grammar and spelling are important. To broaden this even more, having an eye for design, photography or videography is important as well. On today’s platforms we see favoritism toward photography and videography, and without that, the account suffers. More often than not, marketers have backgrounds in dealing with these elements and, therefore, should take priority in running the social media accounts.
Developing a social media strategy is important for any social media page, including rec centers. This gives a goal, direction to posts and general purpose for the page. Is your strategy to sell memberships to students? Strictly bring awareness to events and programs? Develop a rec community? Whatever it is, creating a document that guides your intentions helps keep posts on track and gives a consistent voice and branding to the department. Let your department’s marketing team create a social media strategy that reflects the department as a whole and promote the department’s mission and goals.
Often times I hear how fun it is to post to social media. “I want to do that, too!” they say. What they don’t see is the behind-the-scenes analysis of engagement rates, click through rates, growth rates, etc. The analysis of weekly, monthly, or even quarterly data on social media is critical to gauge progress and understand what audiences like and don’t like. While many can be taught to do analytic reports, it makes sense to have one designated person to compile the reports and track progress over time. While others are busy running programs and probably can’t put the needed time into thinking strategically how to shift social media strategies, a dedicated person can do the trick. Along with the analytic reports, social media managers can also focus on other important metrics, like best times and days to post, response rates, and unique viewers.
Handing over the reins to a social media account may seem daunting. But with the right team in place, your platforms can really shine and create that ROI you’ve been looking for. Let a social media manager help you think critically about connecting with students, creating easier point of purchases and welcoming experiences for students.