Janna Crabb (@jcrabb) is director of online communications at CASE.
Interested in knowing how your peers at other institutions are using social media? Yesterday, we released the results of the fifth annual CASE/Huron Education/mStoner social media survey, conducted in January 2014, at the CASE Social Media and Community Conference in Marina del Rey, Calif. Nearly 2,000 respondents provided feedback on the tools they are using, how they use them and which are the most successful. View top-line findings and the conference presentation.
In reading the results, I saw many pieces of interesting data—prompting the following thoughts.
- Presidents and heads of school see the value of social media. Institutional leaders are using social media in a professional capacity—reaching out to students, alumni and donors. Twenty-five percent of leaders (of the institutions who took the survey) are on Twitter, 17 percent are on Facebook, 14 percent blog and 13 percent are on LinkedIn. This is the first year that the survey asked this question, so there’s no comparative data, but when busy leaders take the time to connect via social media, I think this shows that they see value in the medium. Is your institutional leader on social media? If so, is it valuable?
- The popularity of Google+ is growing. During the past year, there’s been a lot of buzz around Google+ and whether it is really something institutions should spend resources on. According to survey results, use of Google + grew from 22 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2013. This indicates that it is at least worthy of experimentation—whether because of attempts to increase search engine optimization and content reach, experiments with Google Hangouts for alumni and other audiences or a realization that their constituents are on it so they should be too. Have you begun using Google+ at your institution this year? If so, what for? Or are you a Google+ skeptic?
- Fewer institutions see value in private community platforms. Survey results show a drop from 32 percent to 17 percent in the number of institutions using private platforms provided by third-party vendors and a drop from 20 percent to 10 percent in the number using communities built in-house. This shows a move away from the “build a platform and they will come” mentality in favor of the “let’s set up shop where our alumni, students and donors already are” approach (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube). Has your institution dropped its private community platform this year? If so, why?
- Geosocial is falling in popularity. Survey results show a drop from 15 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2014 in the use of services like Foursquare or SCVNGR at institutions as compared with last year. If an institution’s constituents aren’t using geosocial and it isn’t adding value, it makes sense to focus on something else. Has your institution stopped using geosocial services and if so, why?
- There’s less frustration around the slow place of change. In the survey results, 23 percent of respondents said that the slow pace of change is a barrier to success as compared with 31 percent in 2013. One potential reason is that social media use has gained acceptance and is more often used by senior managers and institutional leaders.
What do you think of the social media survey results? Is there anything that you find particularly interesting? Share in the comments.