Most college campuses don’t have one staff member toiling away on the social web, answering students’ burning questions and updating the school’s Facebook page. Some institutions have an entire team – seven people, sometimes more, managing the daily Facebook goings-on.
It depends on the size of a university and its commitment to consistent communication with prospective and current students and web-savvy alums, but social media staff varies widely from campus to campus, according to research released Nov. 16 by Varsity Outreach, a company that advises schools with web-based promotion.
Three in 10 colleges have one employee to manage the school’s Facebook presence, according to the Varsity Outreach study, while a few schools – 4 percent of respondents – have seven or more staff members managing and updating social media sites.
Most colleges – 51 percent – have a social media team of two or three people. One in 10 schools has four to six employees managing social sites like Facebook.
The results are similar to last year’s Varsity Outreach survey, and in some cases, identical.
Researchers said some colleges’ lack of attention to Facebook as a primary means of communication was disconcerting as higher education adopts the social website to evaluate prospective students, transmit security and weather warnings, and alert students to upcoming campus events or schedule changes.
Six in 10 colleges who responded to the survey said the school spent 1-4 hours every week on social media initiatives, while one in 10 said they spent less than an hour managing official Facebook pages.
“We worry that schools spending less than one hour per week risk presenting their school in a less-than-ideal light,” the report said. “Social media is not very social if students post questions on the wall of a school’s Facebook Page and do not receive a response for a week or more.”