Social Media Marketing
I was talking with a friend recently who is in the ad agency business. He was sharing his amazement that a year and a half ago Twitter wasn’t a part of our lives, and that Facebook was just opening itself up to the non-higher education market. Now, the marketing buzz is all about new social media, and all of us are trying to figure out what it all means beyond learning this new vocabulary that identifies us as tweeple who tweet, etc.
There’s a great social media marketing blog by Scott Monty who heads social media for the Ford Motor Company. This particular blog entry is titled Social Network Shorthand, and describes how he uses the different platforms of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. His analogy is clarifying.
What’s it all mean for marketing higher education? There are now tons of agencies and experts who will define it for you. It’s a growth market. But really, how do you jump into the fast lane or even the slow lane of this constantly evolving social media vehicle? Well, to mix metaphors, baby steps seem to me to be the wise approach. But jump in you must. To sit on the sidelines during this evolving phase of social network marketing will put your institution at a market disadvantage, and sometime in the not so distant future, may very well negatively affect your brand image. On a positive note, this fast changing marketing environment may be an opportunity for a college or university to make up ground or make progress with its brand image.
What is clear is that the rules of the game are changing dramatically for advertising and communicating with our publics. There is definitely great potential for PR, enrollment management, alumni relations, university relations, and even the classroom when considering social media options such as Twitter, which now makes it possible to interact in real time with media, applicants, alumni, contacts in the community, and students. It is mind boggling to think of the possibilities just from an admissions standpoint.
So, for the sake of your college or university, go think about it, research it, and carefully adjust your marketing plan to include social media if you haven’t already done so. As this social media game changer continues to evolve, everyone will be jumping in. And when that happens, it’s the early adopters of the use of social media in higher education who will have valuable experience upon which to build their evolving social media strategy.