Social media can be a powerful tool—when used correctly. If you work in a career center, chances are likely that you help manage multiple social media accounts to achieve a variety of marketing and programming objectives for your students. But, just being “on” social media does not necessarily mean you provide true value through those channels.
Students today are hyper-connected individuals that check each of their accounts several times per day. On top of sharing blog posts, upcoming events, and available resources, you should also curate and aggregate content from different sources across the web. In order to provide actual value through your social media accounts, you need to evaluate your current content, and also plan ahead with these strategic approaches to each platform.
Here is a primer on how to most effectively use each social media site.
Students do not use Facebook as much as they did a few years ago. Only 18% of Facebook users are 18 to 24 years old. Yet, for several reasons, it’s still a vital platform to maintain. You can share blog posts from the career center’s website, as well as articles on interviewing strategies, networking best practices, résumé tips, and other relevant content that you discover online. Think of Facebook as a hand-crafted aggregator of the Internet’s best content that you’re curating for students.
It’s also effective to determine the number of posts per month off of your audience. Pages with less than 10,000 Likes that post more than 60 times per month receive 60 percent fewer clicks per post than pages posting 5 or fewer times in a month.
Facebook is an incredibly useful resource for listing important information, as well as posting announcements. This means updating the “About” page with your website URL, mission statement, phone number, contact email address, and hours of operation. It’s also a fantastic way to inform students of events taking place throughout the year. You can create Facebook events, and post those on your page for students to discover, and hopefully share with friends and classmates.
Similar to Facebook, this is another platform to curate news and articles that your students might find valuable. It might be worth creating a Twitter List with the blogs, publishers, and individuals that share content relevant to your city and students. Once you create a Twitter List, you can view the Tweets from those accounts in a custom feed, which makes it easy to find articles and information to share each day.
You can also use Twitter for announcements, such as events and opportunities on campus and around your city. Twitter is the most “real-time” channel, which allows you to Tweet last-minute reminders, important updates, and other time-sensitive matters.
If you’re striving for engagement and to interact with students, you can host Twitter “chats,” which are real-time discussions that use a hashtag to track conversations. Your career center’s Twitter account can be the moderator Tweeting out questions to engage your community, students, staffers, and any other followers you have. This is a great way for students to not only learn new things about professional development, but also network with each other, and any alumni or professionals that join as well.
University of Georgia’s career center created a #DreamWeekUGA Twitter Chat to create a conversation around selecting a major. Students asked questions, engaged with each other, offered personal stories and experiences on campus, and the @UGACareerCenter account hosted and moderated the chat.
Instagram is one of the most popular social networks among students, and there are several reasons. It’s simple, clean, highly visual, and not over-saturated with advertisements. There’s also not as many algorithms that impact the content users see, and subsequently, don’t see. You might think a career center shouldn’t be on Instagram, but it’s the opposite. Visual content, both photos and videos, can benefit students in so many different ways.
One of the easiest things you can do is collaborate with alumni for “Day In A Life” Instagram takeovers. These can be done in two ways: either allowing the individual to log into your account, or he or she would send you photos and captions to upload yourself. If you’d like the alum to engage with followers such as responding to comments for a Q&A, it’s better to grant them login access. Alumni who now hold full-time jobs can post photos and videos throughout their day at work to offer current students a glimpse into their career.
You can also post photos of professional attire similar to “Dress for Success” events, and share tips and information on clothing and accessories for interviews, networking events, office culture, and more. You might even share pictures and videos from events that you host, as well as photos from campus tours that might attract prospective students.
Even with all the great content online from other blogs and publishers, it’s important that you create original content covering campus opportunities, professional development tips, and other career-related best practices for students. This is where Tumblr is useful. It can act as your blog, or, if your career center website already has a blog, you can publish the content on your Tumblr as well, acting as a syndication platform. The content will be the same, but targeted and intended for students who actively use Tumblr, and prefer to consume your content there, rather than your website.
If you have the flexibility to be a bit more playful with content and voice, you can mix standard professional messaging with some fun on your Tumblr, such as funny or entertaining images, videos, memes, GIFs, and quotes that tie into professional development or your university. It’s a clever way to add some personality and sense of humor to your content, especially if it’s something students would enjoy as a quick break from the typical, buttoned up content shared on most days.
This is the most popular social network among students today. Period. Students spend the most amount of time on Snapchat compared to any other platform; 45% of Snapchat’s users are 18-24 years old, and in early 2014, it was reported that 77% of university students use Snapchat daily. And it’s not just for friend-to-friend interactions—there are plenty of opportunities for career centers to produce Snapchat content that students would enjoy.
This content can be similar to Instagram. Highly visual, personalized, and conversational. You can create a Snapchat account, and allow alumni and staff to log in and create content under the same name, such as a “Day In A Life” series or “Dress for Success” events.
You can also create “Snapchat Stories,” which are strings of photos and videos that last 24 hours. These can be interview tips, campus tours, networking tutorials, and any other advice on career and professional development.
You can take photos around campus offering prospective or new students an exclusive tour, or Snap a video of someone on your team offering students five- to eight-second tips on career development, such as an important question to ask during interviews.
It’s best to create stories with five to 10 photos or short videos, which keeps the content short and sweet. Stories that are too long often result in users swiping through immediately, and ignoring your content entirely.
As relevant as LinkedIn is to career development, it’s not the ideal place for sharing content and engaging with students. LinkedIn Groups are rarely used, and most students only use LinkedIn to update their profile, and connect with professionals. If you’re eager to be active on LinkedIn, you can create a page and simply share original content, such as blog posts and announcements that your team creates.
It doesn’t require daily monitoring, but some unique ideas for Spotify include playlists curated by your staff. You can create playlists such as “Late Night Studying” or “Get Pumped For Your Interview” or “Relaxing After Class” on Spotify. You’ll just need to select the songs for each playlist, and then share them across your other social channels. Have some fun with these, and make the titles specific to your university using building names or inside jokes that students can relate to on a personal level.
If you produce original videos, YouTube is the perfect host for that content. It allows you to share and embed the videos on your website, and on most social networks as well. YouTube doesn’t require active, daily management, but rather serves as a secure, trusted place to host your original video content.