By Nakul Arora:
In the fast growing world of today, social media is the latest thing which has made its presence felt virtually across all the sectors. Facebook and Twitter are two big players having majority control within social media. Thus, it becomes very important for any organization today to be present in some form or the other on these networks so as to connect with the wide following these networks have. These networks have also taken individualism to another level altogether with each person having a considerable say over his friend group. Thus, for any educational institutions if they can win over a person, the chance of influencing his friends group also increases. We will now try to make a list of the 5 things that the educational institutions can do to tap into the students on Facebook and Twitter:
This aspect involves creation of a dedicated team for the sole purpose of managing the social media setup for the institution. This is very important in the present environment due to there being more than one department in an institution. It is also important to ensure the smooth functioning of the online groups with the social media team managing and ensuring a proper sync between all the different aspects of the institution. An example here to show the need of such a team would be to simply take a case wherein an ex-student of the university sends out a job opportunity to a group of present students online. Now, the social team would keep track of this and forward it to the respective department which can then ensure that the opportunity is properly utilised by the students. This dedicated team would also ensure that the institutions updates are well planned and organised instead of them being random. This would thus, cater well to the different groups of ex, current and prospective students.
A common rule of the internet is that you have to first give before you receive. Any person would only follow a particular group or institution if they are sharing things that are unique and beneficial in some way for the person. This is not a tough thing to achieve, for every institution is unique in its own aspect and thus, creation and sharing of unique things wouldn’t offer such a big problem. Also, the university can utilise its previously existing case-studies, problems, etc. for the purpose of engaging the prospecting and other interested students. It can also start sharing parts or whole of the newsletter articles so as to share the happenings of the institutions with the people interested in keeping up.
Students are any institutions’ biggest asset for they are the ones living in the moment and thus, can be the best people to spread the message of the happenings and current life of the institutions. Thus, any institution should maintain proper online students group where it should form a dedicated team of student volunteers to share the latest things from the campus. This would help give the prospective students a real glimpse of what the actual life in the campus would be like and also, help them connect with the current students. The ex-students can also use this group to feel connected with the happenings at their Alma Mater. Also, more such groups can be formed for specific purposes for example: a group can be formed solely for the purpose of sharing internship opportunities by the alumni with the current students. Another such groups can be exclusively for the alumni and staff members to reconnect and be in touch. Also, smaller groups can be formed foe like-minded students within the campus.
Every college has its heroes: professors or teachers who are famous for their service to a respective field of study. These are people who have a huge fan following and thus, any update that they make will be followed by a large number of people. The university has to ensure that professors of such repute have their presence in the social world as well and they also communicate on a regular basis with their followers. Many institutions have already set down on this path with their chancellors and heads already having an active Facebook or twitter handle. It will also be great if they can actually hold open forums, discussions or simply answer some queries occasionally on the social media.
The institutions can also use the social media for their aims towards providing a good education to all. This can be done with the help of creation of free online courses which can be taken by anyone and everyone. The world has been propelled in that direction with the introduction of Apple’s iUniversity which gives the universities an opportunity to provide a host of courses, either free or paid. This will go a long way in developing the reputation of the university and also, would in a way help it back due to development of good content and new courses. This will help towards creating a better world where quality education will be free and available to all.