I think Wikipedia is often overlooked as a social media site. Sure, its model is a little different, but given what it is – a user contributed encyclopedia – I think a case could be made for its impact being the largest of all social media sites. Consider that the only two social media sites ranking higher on Alexa.com are Facebook (2) and Youtube (3). At number seven, Wikipedia has a very respectable audience and is clearly one of the most viewed sites on the internet. But how can Wikipedia work for you?
When users research schools online, sometimes a school’s Wikipedia page is displayed first – even before the school’s own homepage. Assuming some end users will be learning about your school through your Wikipedia page, then you must also make the assumption that a more complete Wiki reference can only help you. It’s time to take an active role in populating your Wiki identity and here are three ways you can spice it up.
Simple, and not hard to do. Add as many great photos as you can to your page. License them with creative commons which will encourage reuse as well. Also, make sure high resolution versions of your seal, logo, etcetera are posted on your Wiki page. These images should also use the latest standards like SGV or PNG to ensure maximum reusability and adherence with your identity guidelines.
A school can greatly benefit from cross-referencing the content and specifics of their Wikipedia page with their Facebook profile. Think about the numbers alone. We just said that Wikipedia ranks in the top 10 of busiest sites on the internet. Combine that traffic with Facebook’s ranking of number 2, and you get an easy formula for online success.
Wikipedia school pages pretty much have a consistent layout with repeatable headings and information. And one common area of interest to me is the Notable Alumni section. Everyone’s got a hint of celebrity-itis. Wouldn’t you want to send your kid to a school where Emerson penned, Kennedy spoke or Portman stood on stage? Worcester Academy is a fantastic example of a school who has taken their Notable Alumni section and raised the bar on direct links to those with notable status, be it in the world of science, literature, athletics, etcetera.
Schools need to be more active in getting their information out there to all those who seek it. The unique and interesting information that will get people talking about their campus and programs, and using all components of Wikipedia is a great way to start.