Your University Thrives on Distributed Digital Engagement

Changing mindsets about how we do social media.

October 6, 2016

What would happen at your university if all in-person questions/interactions from students had to be funneled through your marketing and communications office?

This would mean that all face-to-face questions about student services, libraries, finances, career development, accommodation/housing, admissions, counseling, and/or academic advising had to go through someone in your marketing and/or comms department.

So here's my next question... Why do we treat social media engagement as if it's fundamentally different from in-person engagement?

Marketing and comms at a university (I'm talking top-level) are oftentimes the first point of digital engagement for a prospective student. The main channels represent the accounts that have the most followers and usually the most activity. However, that doesn't mean that every single social media interaction should be handled at "the top level."

Students engage with accounts/representatives who they think will be able to help them in answering questions at any digital access point within an institution.

University communications and engagement are distributed. There are countless email addresses and phone numbers that students can use to make connections that matter. Social media shouldn't be viewed like it's only a venue for marketing.

If your university isn't treating social media engagement like it does in-person engagement (distributed), that's problematic. Train your staff/personnel how to utilize social media to enhance the student experience. Set up expectations for student engagement that mirror in-person structures. Ensure that marketing and comms are able to focus on their jobs and students are able to reach the right people that they need to connect with from all over the organization.

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