There are many ways for a university’s communications department to connect with students using social media, but how do we know our efforts are working? How do we prove its value to our superiors? We can always print reports showing weekly or monthly analysis of the number of followers on Twitter, likes on Facebook, pins on Pinterest… but those are just numbers and we need a lot more than just numbers.
We need engagement. We need a campaign or a strategy that creates and builds relationships between the future and present student body and the school.
After the holiday season, high school seniors applying to college are eager to receive their acceptance letters. And once that occurs, many research and follow their respective schools’ social media channels.
At The University of New Hampshire, we created the hashtag #UNH17 and began using it on Twitter and Instagram at the very beginning of 2013. It wasn’t an official hashtag and it wasn’t emailed to students, parents, or mentioned on any website. It grew organically. We tweeted #UNH17 to accepted students and it caught on.
Here’s a collection of tweets and Instagram photos through Storify that demonstrates to our administration that social media really works: http://bit.ly/unh17.
Numbers need not apply; the photographs speak for themselves and speak louder than any spreadsheet.