Would you consider yourself a good listener? If so, you know it’s not exactly easy. You have to pay attention to what the other person is saying, show that you’re listening with nods and smiles, and offer thoughtful feedback. In a nutshell, listening takes a lot of…work.

However, not all types of listening need to be done in person. You can listen online, too. If your college or university hasn’t been listening on Facebook and Twitter, it’s time to perk up those ears. Social media listening is essential for your institution, and we’ll share with you why.

What’s the Big Deal with Social Media Listening?

Social media listening often gets confused for social media monitoring. Both are similar and work well together, but there are differences. Social monitoring is watching interactions take place online while listening is responding to comments and answering questions. You can find people talking about your institution by digging into related phrases, keywords, blog topics, brands, and more.

The benefits to being a good social media listener are:

  • Discover what prospects want in a school

  • Better understand student pain points

  • Know what students are thinking/saying about your school

  • Address potential concerns

  • Interact with brand advocates

  • Nudge students along the application process

Seeing is Believing: Measuring the Impact

If you’re going to give more resources to social media listening, you want to know that it’s worth it. To help, use a social media tracking and analysis tool to better understand what’s giving you a return. Here are a few areas where you can prove that social media engagement is working for your institution.


Content is an effective tool for sharing information about your school. Add useful, relevant content to your social profiles to increase engagement. The more interaction you get, the more you can determine what content prospects are interested in. Then, use highly targeted content to move prospects through the enrollment funnel.


Fundraising events generate awareness and money. The best way to market your events is through social media. Use hashtags, social shares, and sponsored posts to promote your fundraiser. You can also use social media to set up credit card donations and ticket purchases. The success of the event tells you what impact social media had.


Don’t give your alumni relations the short end of the stick. Engaged alumni are more open to sharing your social posts and creating content of their own. This authenticity gives the content an added layer of validity and has a higher chance of engagement from students. Recognize dedicated alums and consider coordinating their efforts with your internal marketing team.


As you can see, social media listening is an excellent practice for your university. Whether you’re looking to increase applications, boost school spirit, or raise money for an event, social media allows you to share your message with a large and engaged audience. But, remember to be a good sport and not just blast your message. Be a good listener and show that you care. This goes further than any promotional post.