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I woke up this morning and began my regular morning ritual which consists of letting my dogs out, making my first cup of coffee and sitting down in from of my MacBook Pro to begin sifting through what’s been happening overnight in the social media landscape.

 

After some trial and error in terms of my Twitter client of choice, I now use TweetDeck primarily because of its ability to allow me to follow certain search terms that come up in the Twitterverse without having to follow 5000 people. This morning I came across @maoneill’s tweet “20 Reasons Why You Can’t Ignore Social Media” which brought me to an article written by Kyle Lacy.

 

Kyle wrote this blog post after reading a presentation on SlideShare called Wave.3 Presentation from Universal McCann. He has done a great job processing the information and research conducted by Universal McCann.

 

Here is what he found:

1. 394 million people watch video clips online
2. 346 million read blogs/weblogs
3. 321 million Read personal blogs/weblogs
4. 307 million visit a friends social network page
5. 303 million SHARE a video clip (viral marketing anyone?)
6. 272 million manage a profile on a social network
7. 248 million upload photos
8. 216 million Download a video podcast
9. 215 million download a podcast
10. 184 million started a blog or weblog
11. 183 million uploaded a video clip
12. 160 million subscribed to an RSS Feed

Not enough reason to start the journey into connecting with your clients and consumers? Here are eight more reasons to continue on the social media marketing path.

13. Blog Reading has risen 66% on a global scale in a year
14. 60.3 million American have read a blog
15. 36% of consumers will think more positively about companies that have blogs
16. 32% of consumers trust bloggers opinions on products and services
17. Social Networking has an estimated 272 million users (Myspace, Facebook, etc)
18. 43% of online consumers belong to a social network
19. 74% of social networking users message friends as part of their daily routine

20. Video Uploading growth is 31% to 82% global reach seen in all markets

So what are the implications of this list for schools? I think there are few stats that jump out that are worth noting.

18. 43% of online consumers belong to a social network. How many of these online consumers are possible or prospective families for your school? Many independent schools in particular have realized the need to add a marketing component to their executive leadership structure.

 

Whether it is means hiring a firm to act as a contract consultant or searching for a full time, on staff marketing director, the realities of changing school demographics and the increase in educational consumerism have forced many to realize that traditional marketing strategies may no longer work. If your school is not talking about how social media fits into your marketing strategy you will find yourself trying to catch up.

 

6. 272 million manage a profile on a social network. How many of these 272 million are your current students, parents, faculty or alumni? 15%, 20 or 25%? The strategy many schools continue to use which relies heavily on printed materials, costly mailings and flat, one-way communication is not going to work on these 272 million. The percentage of members in your school community using social networks like FaceBook and LinkedIn is going to continue to increase exponentially. Taking steps to formulate a solid communication strategy around these tools is going to be critical to your schools advancement goals.

 

8. 216 million Download a video podcast. I suggest that if you haven’t already, you visit AdmissionsQuest’s website. Peter Baron has done a terrific job of helping boarding schools manage and leverage the potential of Web 2.0. His Boarding School Podcast is one way that schools can model the use of video and podcasting to get their message out.

 

13. Blog Reading has risen 66% on a global scale in a year. Does your school website have a blog? Are students creating original content? e-Newsletter blasts that come out once a month are starting to feel a bit like 2003. A great example of a school Head using blogging to communicate with her school community is Trudy Hall of The Emma Willard School in Troy, NY. Trudy’s “Emma Everywhere” blog is a great example of how one school is embracing the social media landscape and using blogging as a vehicle for communication.

 

There is no question that the data supports a re-examination of how your school is talking about and thinking about social media and while taking some small initial steps is a great place to start, a comprehensive and strategic approach to which tools you school will focus on using and the strategies it will employ in putting those tools to use will have a much greater, long term impact.

 

Follow Antonio on Twitter @antonioviva or on his blog antonioviva.com

Antonio Viva

Head of School at Walnut Hill School of the Arts

http://antonioviva.com