The digital era has changed the way we communicate with people. Smartphones, tablets and other gadgets are normalized in everyday life, making it possible for people to plug in whenever they want. Consider that a single image posted on Facebook from your higher institution can be consumed in a hundred different ways.

From a single photo, you build an image of your brand and develop relationships with prospects. Unlike other marketing tactics, social media does not interrupt your audience. The content is available for users to consume when they are ready. From course availability to school selection, social media is a highly influential tool for millennials.

How Colleges are Using Social Media

Whether your school is looking to expand its presence, increase engagement from students or discover creative ways to use social media, the key is to learn from others. Let’s take a quick look at a few of our favorite higher EDU social media success stories.

University of New South Wales: Recruitment

Recruitment is always a main concern for higher institutions. Pressure continues to grow because of online options, declining applicant pools and a more advanced selection process. The University of New South Wales has found a resourceful way to recruit more applicants. During O-Week – UNSW’s annual recruitment week – the university uses social media to promote their culture, curriculum and extracurricular activities.

University of British Columbia: Research

Elite research schools rely on top researchers to teach at their schools and accelerate their programs. There is a place for scholarly articles and faculty speaking opportunities, but they can be limiting based on the individual’s awareness and interest in these materials. A more effective approach is to support research through social media. Canada’s University of British Columbia is successful using social media to highlight its leadership in hard and soft sciences, including autoimmune treatments and greenhouse technology.

Columbia University: Alumni Engagement and Fundraising

Most higher institutions rely on external funding to keep their programs alive. Traditionally, fundraising was carried out over the phone or through direct mail. With social media, new ways of alumni engagement are now available. Columbia University has seen tremendous success with their annual Giving Day campaign. The school runs a 24-hour fundraising day where they raise money to take on global issues such as climate change and social justice. The campaign targets alumni, staff and students. Participation for Giving Day 2016 raised over $14 million!

Ohio State University: Crisis Management

Social media reaches many students quickly and at once. When OSU had a student on campus who smashed his car into pedestrians and slashed a knife at a student, it was first reported as a shooting. OSU immediately turned to social media to alert students, staff and faculty. OSU continued to keep everyone informed through updates and options for counseling. To this day, the school uses social media as their primary safety communication tool and has been applauded for these efforts.

Social media is more than a marketing tool. It’s an excellent channel for connecting with students, raising funds for your school and maintaining safety. Higher institutions from all over the world are finding success with social media. Do you have a success story to share?