More college marketing cash going to social media

Joni Kirk, associate director of media relations at the University of Idaho, said that with the school’s 75,000 alums, “the potential … for people to hear more about the university [on Facebook and Twitter] is huge,” she said.

“Higher ed has taken quite a hit [financially], so we have to look for other avenues, and this is certainly one,” Kirk added.

And not every college’s social media strategy was made equal.

In a Jan. 10 article for .eduGuru, Michael Fienen, a web marketing manager at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, ranked colleges and universities with the best social media presence—avoiding an overload of posts and tweets, but responding and interacting in a timely way.

Among the top schools were the University of Colorado at Boulder, Drexel University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Oregon. Some of these institutions, such as Drexel, take time to post online congratulations to students who gain admittance to the university.

“The key is to make sure you add value wherever you are, give people a reason to engage you in those venues, and … add to their experience and impressions,” Fienen said, adding that universities should commit to social networking before they subscribe to Twitter or Facebook. “Properly cultivating and maintaining social media takes a lot of work, even if you have a large community of users contributing.”