Four Ways to Prepare to Engage

Jennifer Doak is the online communications specialist at CASE.

With the constant changes to Facebook and emergence of Google+, not to mention continuous buzz over the biggest and shiniest new start-ups, it’s easy to lose track of what makes social media valuable: connecting with your community.

Fortunately, I got a lot of great advice from members of our own CASE community for an article, “Prepare to Engage,” featured in this month’s CURRENTS. Social media experts at Marquette University, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Worcester Academy, York University (ON), Stanford University Alumni Association and Valencia College shared how they were able to stay grounded to their mission while growing and evolving their social media presence. They give tips on how to get supervisors on board, create and grow online communities, respond to negative feedback and look toward the future.

Here are a few takeaways:

  • Have a social media policy! This is a big one. I’ve written a previous blog post with loads of examples, but there are a lot of other resources out there.
  • Round up people on campus who are into social media and form a working group. Having a posse that’s enthusiastic about your institution and social networks forms a good foundation for success.
  • Don’t be scared of negative feedback. “Students will complain or say outrageous things, and with new media they can say it more freely, but we can take it,” says Lucy Boudet of Valencia College.
  • Experiment with new tools, but keep your institution’s mission in mind—even if that means letting go. “At Worcester Academy, online communities are a visible extension of the school’s mission. ‘It’s much like in any aspect of education,’ [Chief Information Officer Jason] Epstein says. ‘The goal is not to spoon feed them but give them the tools to succeed as they move on.'”

You can find the rest in the October issue of CURRENTS. (CURRENTS magazine is a CASE premier membership benefit, so it’s not open to everyone.)

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