Succeeding with Social Media in Advancing Education


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This white paper provides highlights of research into how schools, colleges, and universities use social media in institutional advancement--raising money, building affinity, and marketing the institution. It's based on research conducted in spring, 2009, by CASE, mStoner, and Slover-Linett Strategies, the first-ever study of these activities. It includes an appendix on how colleges and universities use social media in admission and enrollment and four case studies of social media in action.

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Succeeding with Social Media in Advancing Education

  1. 1. Succeeding with Social Media:Lessons from the First Surveyof Social Media in Advancementby Cheryl Slover-Linett and Michael Stoner 1Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 1
  2. 2. Table of Contentspage 3 » Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement A report on what we learned from the survey; our reflections on what we learnedpage 15 » Appendix 1: Social Media and the Admission Office What others have learned about how admission and enrollment officers use social mediaCase StudiesIn-depth looks at how four institutions use social media in coordinated,multi-channel campaignspage 24 » Oregon State University: Powered By Orangepage 28 » William & Mary Mascot Searchpage 31 » Integrating and Managing Social Media at Northfield Mount Hermon Schoolpage 35 » Coordination and Decentralization of Social Media in the Emory University Alumni AssociationSucceeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 2
  3. 3. All institutions are trying to engage with their constituents with socialmedia tools. But how are they doing? Are constituents commenting,liking, and otherwise interacting with the Facebook pages sponsoredby institutions to engage alumni, influence parents, encourage donors,and build awareness of institutional messages and brands? What arebarriers to using of social media in institutional advancement? How do wemeasure success? What does an effective social media program look like?Early in 2010, a task force composed of people recruited from all three CASE Commissions began toexplore these and related questions. Led by Andrew Gossen, senior director for social media strategyat Cornell University, and Charlie Melichar, associate vice chancellor for communications at VanderbiltUniversity, they began attempting to understand what was happening with social media on variouscampuses around the world by interviewing colleagues about their social media activities.2 What theylacked was data.So when mStoner and Slover Linett Strategies approached CASE with a proposal to conduct researchon how advancement offices were utilizing social media, everyone was keen to jump on board. As RaeGoldsmith, vice president of advancement resources at CASE, explained, “Social media is something thatprofessionals in all disciplines—fundraising, alumni relations, communications, marketing, advancementservices—are struggling with. It’s a universal advancement issue.”She noted, “There just isn’t much data about what people are doing in advancement to betterunderstand social media and to employ it to achieve their goals. We need a way to better benchmarkwhere people are to help us understand their needs and determine what resources could be meaningfulto them.” Working with Goldsmith, Gossen, Melichar, and other CASE staff and task force members, we developed a 39-question survey that we tested with a focus group of attendees at the April 2010 CASE conference on social media and community. In June, we emailed a link to the survey to a random sample of 18,000 CASE members in the United States and abroad. We received nearly 1,000 responses, providing a demographically representative cross-section of CASE membership. As a result, we have a high degree of confidence in the data. The results have a 3% sampling error, very similar to most national polling data.1 Cheryl Slover-Linett is managing partner of Slover Linett Strategies, a research firm that conducts audience research and planning for education and cultural organizations. Michael Stoner is president of mStoner, a communications and marketing firm that works with schools, colleges, and universities. We partnered with CASE (the Council for Advancement and Support of Education) on the survey discussed in this White Paper.2 Both Andrew Gossen and Charlie Melichar shared some thoughts about the survey results reported in this white paper and are quoted in the text and in sidebars. We also interviewed Andy Shaindlin, founder of Alumni Futures, who, as director of alumni relations at Caltech, was a founder and participant in the early work of the CASE social media task force. You can follow the work of the task force on its blog, CASE Social Media, which is posting transcripts of conversations with advancement professionals around the world. To encourage broader participation and sharing, CASE created a listserv for people engaged in social media (SOCIALMEDIA-L) and established a LinkedIn subgroup on social media.Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 3
  4. 4. A number of caveats about our findings» Respondents may skew toward those CASE professionals who are the most engaged with and—the heaviest users—of social media. In other words, to the social media enthusiasts among CASE members.» Because most CASE members are fundraising, institutional communications (PR, media relations, marketing, publications, and periodicals), and alumni relations professionals, the views of enrollment and admissions professionals are under-represented. To help address this gap, we’ve shared what others have learned about the use of social media in admission and enrollment in Appendix 1. Similarly, because the survey focused on the use of social media in advancement, our results do not represent perspectives on the use of social media in learning and teaching.» We did not conduct research on how audiences (alumni, donors, parents, or other influencers) are using the various social media established by institutions to engage them. If you’re interested in learning about how people are adopting and using social media in their personal lives and for business purposes, you’ll find many resources on the Internet. Start with the research on social networking by the Pew Internet and American Life project.We also want to clarify two terms that we use a lot in this white paper: social media and social net-working. Social media are web-based media used for social interaction. Examples include blogs, Flickrfor photos and images, YouTube for videos, and Facebook, which provides a suite of social media tools.Social networking refers to the interactions facilitated by those media, which include sharing,commenting, ranking, posting, and so forth.Snapshot of social media use in advancementHere are some key takeaways from the research, that provides the first in-depth lookat how schools, colleges, and universities are using social media to engage withsignificant external audiences.Most institutions are using one or more social media tools.» Facebook is the clear leader, with » About three in five institutions » About one in three maintain nearly every institution (94%) also use Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or blogs, use Flickr, and/or offer a using Facebook to engage with YouTube. social community via an outside multiple audiences. vendor like Harris or iModules. » Only 4% of respondents» Almost 60% of institutions said they weren’t using any social have added social networking media (most of these features to their own websites. respondents represented development offices).33 We note that the BlueFuego staff, who visited 1,387 college and university websites to see where these institutions place social web callouts, determined that 86% of the institutions they visited in July 2010 had links to destinations on the social web on either their homepage, admissions page, or alumni page. These links indicate that the destination social sites are sponsored by the institutions. Furthermore, 60% of the alumni websites they visited had callouts to social media.Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 4
  5. 5. Institutions are using social media to engage Percent communicating with this audience at all with multiple audiences. The table on the left (using any type of social media) offers an idea about just whom advancement staff are attempting to reach with social media. ALUMNI 96% FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS 77% The top three goals are engaging alumni (86%), strengthening institutional brand (72%), and increasing awareness/advocacy/ CURRENT STUDENTS 69% rankings (58%). Marketing professionals also use social media to DONORS 66% recruit students (70%), engage admitted students (65%) and engage CURRENT FACULTY AND STAFF 64% current students (62%). Nearly half of development professionals reported using social media in fundraising. PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS 57% PARENTS OF CURRENT STUDENTS 49% Right now, we understand that fundraisers often don’t see value in PARENTS OF PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS 43% social media. Anecdotally, we’ve heard fundraisers argue that using social media is a fine long-term strategy, but that it won’t help them to MEDIA 42% raise money in the short term and is a distraction, especially for those EMPLOYERS 37% engaged in campaigns. It doesn’t help that there are few examples HIGH SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELORS 23% within education in which social media have been used to raise significant amounts of money. GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS 18% EXTENSIVELY (5) SOMEWHAT (3) QUITE A BIT (4) NOT MUCH (2) NOT AT ALL (1) #12To what extent Goals of social media MEAN is each of Engage alumni 3% 2% 10% 27% 59% 4.4 the following Create, sustain, and improve brand image 4% 5% 20% 35% 37% 4.0 social media Increase awareness/advocacy/rankings 12% 8% 22% 23% 26% 3.5 objectives Improve community relations 10% 12% 28% 28% 23% 3.4 a goal for Engage current students 13% 12% 28% 27% 20% 3.3 Engage current faculty and staff 13% 17% 34% 24% 12% 3.1 your unit? Engage prospective students 28% 16% 15% 18% 23% 2.9 Engage admitted students 26% 13% 20% 24% 17% 2.9 Raise private funds 16% 22% 31% 18% 13% 2.9 Engage parents of current students 23% 18% 29% 21% 9% 2.8 Recruit students 30% 16% 14% 20% 20% 2.8 Manage crises and issues 32% 30% 20% 11% 7% 2.3 Recruit faculty and staff 47% 31% 16% 4% 2% 1.8 Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 5
  6. 6. Advancement officers like Facebook. Respondents consider Facebook the most successful tool in meeting their goals(85%). Having an institutional website with social network features ran a distant second (31%). LinkedIn ran third (27%),and Twitter (25%) and YouTube (23%) nearly tied. Usage and success of social media platforms in reaching unit goalsPERCENT USING FOR ANY AUDIENCE 94% 67% 61% 59% 58% 36% 33% 33% 5%SUCCESS RATING 85% 25% 27% 23% 31% 15% 8% 12% 1% s ok er In e s kr ng s or og ub re ed ic itt bo Ni nd uT Bl tu Fl Tw nk ce ve ea Yo Li Fa kf by or d de tw vi ne ro sm .p w/ m m ite co ls al na ci So tio itu st InAttitudes about social mediaWhile many advancement offices are participating in social media, but the demand is growing, illustrates onesocial media, they recognize that they are not, by and of the real issues we face. And it’s reinforced by the open-large, the primary drivers of that effort. Nearly all are ended responses. People aren’t going to get any moremotivated at least in part by demand from alumni or people to do social media, so some staff members areother constituents (86%) or competition from peer going to have to unplug from at least some of what theyinstitutions (84%). While most (71%) believe social are doing and switch their have great potential for achieving important goalsfor their unit, fewer say they have either institutional “This is a management challenge to the institution’ssupport and buy-in (46%) or the expertise to help their leaders, who have to figure out how to incorporate socialsocial media efforts (26%). And institutions are not media responsibilities into the org chart with the fullmaking significant investments to support social media understanding that they’re not getting more staff, andin staffing or budget. Only 14% expect to add staff they may actually lose some people. And let’s be clear:committed to social media this year. this isn’t a new challenge, but an ongoing manifestation of change. The world has changed and if you want to beAs Andy Shaindlin, founder of Alumni Futures, pointed in it, you have to be ready to change, too.”out, “The fact that only 14% expect to hire more staff forSucceeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 6
  7. 7. Managing and deploying social media LOCAL #17 Is the use of social media by“Right now, management of social media is 43% your unit under your unit’sdecentralized across the institution without muchcoordination, and, you know what, we like it that way!” complete control, or is thereAt least that’s what our respondents report. More than 21% a coordinating committee orhalf (53%) handle their own social media activitieswithin their unit with some input from other depart- group for the institution 11%ments; another quarter does it without any input, and as a whole?about 20% have another department take the lead. 10%Management of social media at the discretion of How would you like to see thisindividual units, and there aren’t many institutional 9% change in the coming year?policies or standards that they can turn to for guidance.4Those that exist tend to be graphics and brandingguidelines. Those institutions that report having policies 6% 6% 54% 41% MORE LOCAL GOOD MOREsay that they are created and/or managed by a com- WHERE COORDINATED IT ISmunications, marketing, or PR department. Few institu- COORDINATEDtions have considered managing negative postings byestablishing posting or commenting policies. In addition,most institutional policies do not address privacy,ethical, or legal issues. CENTRALIZED #18 Is the use of social mediaThough our respondents like the current “Wild West”approach to social media—an environment where there 16% at your institution centralizedisn’t much coordination, focus on policy, or standards— in one institutional unit,many respondents recognize that they could benefit 11%from more coordination and planning at the institutional or is it dispersed throughoutlevel. However, they don’t see the need for a one-size- the institution as a whole?fits-all strategy, nor do they want to give up control of 11%staffing or the content of their social media efforts. 15%Our data reveal a split when it comes to planning How would you like to see thisand control. Only 35% said their social mediadevelopment is the result of planning (not spontane- 15% change in the coming year?ous), and 71% said they would like to see more planningin the future. Just 15% said social media is controlled by 32% 34% 54% 13% MORE GOOD MOREa committee or group, and 41% would like more coor- CENTRALIZED WHERE DISPERSED IT ISdination. In contrast, 54% like the level of planning and DISPERSEDcoordination they currently have.4 CASE maintains links to a collection of social media policies from education institutions [login required]. For a more general collection of social media policies, see this article from and the list from The Altimeter Group, where Charlene Li, author of “Open Leadership”, is a partner.Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 7
  8. 8. To what degree is each issue belowa barrier to the successful use ofsocial media in your unit? EXTENSIVELY (5) SOMEWHAT (3) QUITE A BIT (4) NOT MUCH (2) NOT AT ALL (1)Not surprising, the biggest challenges Potential barriers MEANinhibiting institutions from doing morewith social media are staffing, expertise, Staffing for day-to-day contentand funding. Privacy concerns, turf 7% 9% 27% 33% 23% 3.6 managementbattles, and institutional red tape are low Staffing for siteon the list of barriers, partly, we suspect, development 9% 14% 30% 29% 19% 3.4because social media management is so Lack of relevant human resourcesdecentralized. 12% 22% 26% 22% 18% 3.1 in my unit Expertise in how to implement it 13% 25% 34% 22% 6% 2.8In fact, social media seems to be atthe same place now that institutional Funding 17% 27% 28% 20% 9% 2.8websites were in 1997. At that time, Lack of IT resources 15% 30% 27% 19% 10% 2.8institutional leaders and administratorsoften didn’t understand how important Slow pace of change 15% 27% 35% 16% 7% 2.7an institution’s website was. As a result, Concerns about loss of controlthey provided little formal oversight over content and tone of postings 14% 35% 32% 15% 4% 2.6 by othersand little or no budget for site develop-ment, essential tools such as a content Lack of institutional clarity about who is responsible for social 19% 29% 30% 15% 7% 2.6management system, common design media initiativesstandards, or staff support. Much haschanged since then. If social media Lack of commitment by decision 19% 37% 24% 14% 5% 2.5 makersfollow the same trajectory as institu-tional websites have, these issues will be Lack of champions at the 20% 37% 26% 13% 5% 2.5 institutional leveladdressed as leaders begin to see howimportant social media are in engaging Uncertainty about usefulness 19% 34% 31% 14% 2% 2.5 of social mediatheir important audiences. Privacy issues 20% 39% 31% 9% 2% 2.4One surprise from the survey is the Turf battles 25% 37% 25% 10% 4% 2.3fact that fear of negative postings isa non-issue for respondents. Many Institutional red tape 23% 44% 19% 10% 4% 2.3of us who speak or write about social Lack of interest from those 32% 41% 19% 6% 2% 2.0media are invariably asked about how in my unitto respond to the concern among senior Ethical issues 33% 48% 16% 3% 1% 1.9staff about negative comments or blog Legal issues 32% 48% 17% 2% 1% 1.9postings. Yet, overall, this was a minorconcern for respondents.Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 8
  9. 9. Case Studies: We’re starting to see some coordinated yet decentralized approaches to managing social media, both within institutions and within units charged with broad com- munications for institutional audiences. For example, at Northfield Mount Hermon School, an independent school (grades nine through 12) in Gill, Massachusetts, individuals from a number of offices across campus manage and contribute to socialSee page 31 » media. About three dozen faculty members, students, and administrators post to NMH blogs. These blog posts, in turn, are syndicated through NMHbook, the school’s social media aggregation site. At the Emory University Alumni Association, a three-person team works hard to educate and prepare colleagues to participate in social media where and when appropriate. Stacey Gall, assistant director of technology and information manage-See page 35 » ment, said, “We’re trying to get to a point where all staff have their hands in social media. We have around 70 Facebook pages/groups based mainly on events or city- specific networking. We rely on our staff and volunteers/contacts in these locations to post and respond to comments.”Measuring social media and determining successHow successful are we in using social media? Most institutions consider themselves to be moderately successful (64%)with their social media efforts. Another quarter say they’re very successful. A stark few—13%—don’t think their effortsare successful.But how do they know they’re successful? That’s the real issue. Data from the survey show that most institutions areprimarily using superficial measures, such as counting the number of “touches” (friends, click-throughs, participation,etc.) as their main success metric. Respondents rated Facebook as the most successful platform by far (85%, comparedto 31% for the next most successful one, which typically is the social media platform on the institution’s own website).Not surprisingly, Facebook makes it easy for a page administrator to count wall posts, likes, and comments.As Andrew Gossen observed, “It’s an encouraging sign that people are beginning to measure, but the outcome measuresthat are used the most are the most basic. We need resources to help people conceptualize and implement moresophisticated measuring.”As Andy Shaindlin of Alumni Futures, put it: “The measurements that people are using now are very counting-oriented.We should be moving away from these metrics and moving toward measuring the impact those numbershave. For example ‘having 100 more people in the group has resulted in xx% increases in messages posted on messageboards.’ In other words, we should be looking at what happens as a result of the numbers, not focusing on thosenumbers themselves.”Respondents also reported that they weren’t doing much surveying of how their constituents use social media. CharlieMelichar said, “We need to be integrating more survey research into our social media programs so we can measure theimpact we’re having and adjust our campaigns in response to what we learn.”Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 9
  10. 10. Bottom line, it’s difficult right now to Social media use: factors that help make anknow exactly what success looks like. organization more successfulWe suspect that those institutions whoclaim to be “very successful” (19% SUCCESSFUL OTHER OVERALL ORGANIZATIONS* ORGANIZATIONSof respondents) in their social mediaactivities are underestimating how much Q9: Percent that report “We handle ourmore successful they could be if they own social media activities, without 27% 36% 24% any input”were thinking about using social mediaas the basis for a broadly integrated, Q12: Percent selecting “Extensively” to describe the extent to which the following are top socialmultichannel campaign. In 2010, social media goals within their organizations:media success rarely involves focusing on Engage alumni 59% 68% 56%one social media platform or one channel. Create, sustain, and improve brand 32% 54% 37% imageThose who say they are successful withsocial media report that success factors Increase awareness/advocacy/rankings 26% 42% 21%include: having specific goals for their Engage prospective students 23% 35% 19%activities; being more coordinated anddoing more planning; having institutional Improve community relations 23% 34% 20%support and buy-in; controlling social Q16: Percent selecting “planned” (rathermedia activities (including content and than spontaneous) to describe the 58% 75% 54%staff) within their department; and having development of social within their unitenough expertise in-house so they don’t Q17: Percent selecting “local” (vs. coordi-need to look to outside resources. nated) for control over social media 75% 78% 74% use within their unitOther success factors include using Q18: Percent selecting “centralized” (vs.multiple social media platforms. In other dispersed) for the organization of 38% 44% 36%words, developing a campaign that moves social media in their institutionbeyond a blog or Facebook to incorporate Q19: Percent selecting “under unit control”Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, blogs, and (vs. control by another unit) for 82% 93% 79%other channels. support staff maintaining unit’s social mediaThe best example we found of a Q20: Percent selecting “under unit control”coordinated, multichannel campaign (vs. more outside approval) for 89% 97% 87%using social media is Oregon State content of unit’s social media site(s)University’s Powered by Orange. Q22: Percent selecting “in-housePBO deployed across multiple social resources” (vs. outside resources) for 73% 88% 69%platforms—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, development of unit’s social mediaFlickr, YouTube—and used blogs and a Q24b: Percent selecting “in-houseGoogle map mashup. But OSU didn’t stop resources” (vs. outside resources) 86% 90% 84%there: it brought PBO into the physical for conducting evaluations of social mediaworld using signage, bus wraps, t-shirts,and a variety of opportunities for Q25: Percent who agree at all with “My unitface-to-face interactions. benefits from institutional support 74% 84% 71% and buy in for social media develop-Case Study: ment” * uccessfulorganizationsaredefinedhereasthoseratedeither“verysuccessful”or“amodel S forsuccessfuluseofsocialmedia”inquestion14concerningtheoverallsuccessofaunit’suse ofsocialmedia.See page 24 »Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 10
  11. 11. Susan Evans, director of creative services at the College of William Mary, Feedback from Andrew Gossenwanted to “involve as many people as possible” in the search for a new mascot AndrewGossen,for the college. Using a combination of a blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and seniordirectorforFlickr, William Mary ended up with more than 22,000 comments by the time the socialmediastrategy atCornellUniversity,campaign closed—and earned significant media coverage. isco-chairofthe interdisciplinaryCase Study: Evans noted, “Our main lesson was that the integra- CASEsocialmedia taskforce. tion of these social media tools matters. We didn’t realize the power behind what we were doing was that we were using all of these channels together, 1. hywastheresearchnecessary? W What’sitssignificance? but in different ways. For example, Twitter was less TheresearchprovidesanecessarySee page 28 » formal; our blog functioned more like a website and baselinesenseofwhatwearewas more formal. We did plan up front to use all of these channels and had a talkingabout,andwecanuseitto trackallmanneroftrendsfromthisstrategy of how to use each of them, but all of them together gave us a cohesive pointonward.Thefactthatitwasapresence.” systematic,CASEmembership-wide surveymakesitmoresignificant.In contrast, the 13% who say they have not been successful with social media citesome of the following issues as difficulties: 2. nyfindingsstandoutforyou? A Iwasencouragedtoseehowmany respondentsareactiveonatleastone » Lack of staffing, expertise and funding socialmediaplatformnow.Peopleare takingstepstowardengagement,and » Lack of institutional clarity about goals Ithinkthat’sencouraging.However, wedoneedtoacknowledgethatthe » Lack of “the right people” to do the job responseratewassmallenoughthat » Slow pace of change in a world that moves quickly there’salmostinevitablygoingtobe abiasintheresponsestowardpeople » Lack of commitment and uncertainty about social media’s usefulness whoareexperimentinginthisarea. Trackingtrendsintheresponserate » Red tape overtimemayhelpusgetabetter fixonhowwidespreaddigitalmedia initiativesactuallyare. We’re all newbies Question16[askingwhethersocial mediauseisspontaneousorplanned] revealsadefinitedesireformoreInstitutions that fail to pay attention to factors of social media implementation planninginthewayinstitutionsusethat might increase their success do so because they lack of experience with the socialmedia,andthere’sobviously aneedforresourcestodothattechnology and have not thought through its full risks and potential. But the vast effectively:maybeadditionalstaff,majority of people who are working in social media in academia are doing so part- additionaltimewithincurrentjobstotime, with little training, and with many competing priorities and responsibilities. thinkmoreaboutwhatthey’redoing, andadditionalresourcesformCASEThey simply don’t have the luxury of taking time to explore the larger implications tohelpthemdeveloptheirplans.Butof what they’re doing. there’sclearlysomethingaboutthe statusquothatisnotallowingstaff workinginthisareatodotheirworkSome of our findings support the hypothesis that social media is new enough that asthoughtfullyastheywouldliketomany practitioners still don’t know what they don’t know. doit. Question21[askingaboutumbrellaTake measurement, for example. Success doesn’t mean simply counting touches, vsindividualstrategiesbytargetbut involves measuring the engagement of constituents over a longer period of audiencesforsocialmedia?]suggests thatthereisademandforhelpwithatime and ultimately measuring the action that results from that engagement. But socialmediastrategy. Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 11
  12. 12. defining what that means—and measuring it—is challenging and will take years. Andrew Gossen (continued) Maybe longer. We have no good models for it in the commercial world, much less Question23[askingaboutoutcomein higher education. So counting friends, fans, or comments is a convenient proxy. measuresforsocialmedia]showsThat’s acceptable for the moment: as long as we’re seeking more meaningful ways thattheoutcomemeasuresbeing usedthemostfrequentlyarethemostof analyzing data long-term. basic.Ontheonehand,they’rethe mostaccessible.It’sanencouragingLikewise, the fact that worry about negative comments or blog posts has not signthatpeoplearebeginningto measure,butthere’saclearneedoutinhibited deployment of social media to a substantial degree is heartening. It thereforresourcestohelppeopledomeans that institutions have understood that the benefits of engagement far somemoresophisticatedmeasuringoutweigh the potential drawbacks and have chosen to engage rather than to bothinhowthey’reconceptualizing themeasurementandhowthey’rewithdraw from engagement. Those that do engage have discovered that healthy media communities can be largely self-correcting. A proactive comment or There’saninterestingjuxtapositionacceptable use policy can help to mitigate the worst excesses of negativity. betweenQuestion27[aboutbarriers tosocialmediause]andQuestionThis also helps to explain the apparent lack of concern by respondents about 30[askingwhatkindofassistance peopleareconsidering].Thetwomainprivacy. Andrew Gossen, senior director for social media strategy at Cornell and barrierstousingthesetoolsbetterarethe co-chair of CASE’s social media task force, remarked, “This lack of concern is lackofstaffingandlackofexpertise,especially jarring because most of the folks responding to this survey had been butpeopledon’thaveplanstohire stafforvendorswhocouldhelpthemringside spectators to the Facebook privacy kerfuffle5 and, more recently, the news developamorepowerfulstrategyorabout Google’s privacy struggle. These aren’t esoteric issues: they’re the best abetterapproach.They’vegottheirindicator that we should be worrying about this ourselves.” In other words, privacy problemdiagnosedbutnoplansto solveit.isn’t a luxury. As social media evolves, privacy issues are likely to be increasingly important, especially as the practices of heavily used external social sites like Finally,I’mstruckthatpeopledon’t seemworriedaboutprivacy,legalFacebook conflict with strong institutional privacy policies. issues,orethicalissues.Thissuggests thatpeople’sengagementnowFinally, the lack of worry about negative comments helps to explain why mightbetoobasicandthatthey’re notthinkingthingsthroughveryrespondents are so self-satisfied with their own initiatives. thoroughly.Ianticipatethatasthe useofsocialmediainadvancementThis self-satisfaction is curious for a number of reasons. First, the responses matures,peoplearegoingtothink throughtheseissuesmorecarefully.indicate that most institutions find measuring their social media activities difficult.A result, they aren’t measuring their efforts effectively, or at all, beyond counting 3. hatarethekeytakeawaysforthe Wsome basic indicators of participation by constituents. And because they aren’t advancementprofession? It’sgreatthatpeopleareengagingsurveying constituents, they aren’t setting a benchmark that can show them if withsocialmedia,butthisisn’tleading indicators change or not over time. Oregon State University conducted thetimetorestonourlaurels.The reallyhardworkstartsnow.Asfarextensive survey research with many constituents before launching the PBO asakeytakeaway,respondentsarecampaign. In three to five years, that research could help them determine whether under-resourcedbothinstaffingor not PBO altered perceptions of the university. Without it, it would be nearly andexpertise,andunlessthey addressthat,theywillneverbeableimpossible to measure the campaign’s impact. totakemaximumadvantageof thesetools.We’reseeingmassive increaseinengagementinthese platformsonaglobalsense.5 The controversy erupted in March and April 2010, when Facebook changed its privacy settings to make certain information in profiles public by default. Reaction from the technology press and some members of the public was swift, with most people condemning Facebook’s actions. The changes were supplemented by news reports, such as this one from Wired, that revealed that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is said to disdain privacy. Facebook has since simplified its privacy settings, but this is the latest round in the company’s continuing attempt to encourage users to make more data public rather than private.Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 12
  13. 13. Second, in the open-ended examples, respondents called out initiatives that Feedback from Charlie Melicharthey thought were particularly noteworthy. Some examples consisted of a CharlieMelichar,Facebook page or having a president tweet. These examples (and others) associateviceindicate a lack of clarity about what’s really involved in being successful with chancellorfor communications,social media. It may also indicate a lack of urgency in implementing social VanderbiltUniversity,media initiatives. isco-chairofthe interdisciplinary CASEsocialmediaNot every social media campaign has to be as broad-based or diverse in and strategy as PBO. In contrast, the social media deployed in NazarethCollege’s Flight of the Flyers campaign were used to further the goal of 1. hywastheresearchnecessary? W What’sitssignificance?engaging alumni. During its mascot search, William Mary used social media There’sbeenavoidofgoodand other channels extensively, but its campaign was limited in time and informationbeforethis.Wecan quibbleoverspecificpointsthatscope—and received a great deal of interaction and response. emergefromthedata,butweneed researchtohaveacommonstartingWhile it’s important for institutions to experiment with social media, a real pointthatinformsourdiscussions.This researchcanhelpputintoperspectivecommunications strategy must look beyond the tools themselves. Simply using everythingfromwhatCASEisFacebook or Twitter or LinkedIn is not an end in itself. These platforms, like offeringforprofessionaldevelopmentemail, postcards, or phone calls, are tools that should be chosen specifically to towhat’sbeingdoneoncampus.achieve a defined goal. 2. nyfindingsstandoutforyou? A I’maresearch-orientedguyand enjoymeasurement.SoIappreciatedWhat’s next? theanswerstothequestionsabout socialmediametrics.TheresponseWhat do respondents expect to happen this year? Here’s what they said when toQuestion23[whichaskedabout outcomemeasures],onsurveyswe asked them in June: andtargetaudiences,wasabitofa head-scratcher.Maybewhenpeople» We can expect to see more institutions creating a comprehensive social answeredthisquestion,theyjust media plan (50%) didn’ttakeasecondtothinkaboutit. Ifweareintegratingsocialmediainto» Expanding social media programs to new audiences (43%) programsandnotconsideringthatin ourresearch,that’saproblem.Nota» Adding new social media tools to current programs (41%) lotofpeoplearedoingsurveyresearch, ormaybetheyjusthaven’tintegrated» Developing formal policies (37%) itintotheirsocialmediaprograms. » What we probably won’t see; hiring (14%) Ontheflipside,Iwaspleasantly surprisedbyalotoftheresponses.The» Getting help from CASE in social media (9%) topfivetosixbarriersareresource- related;thebottomsixoreightall» Getting help from social media consultants (7%) indicatethatleadershiporbuy-in isn’tanissue,andthatsurprisedme.I» hiring a vendor for social media evaluation (4%) wouldhaveguessedthattherewould havebeenpeoplesaying“Iwantto doit,butmybossdoesn’tgetit.”SoAnd therein lies a conundrum. As Andy Shaindlin observed, “So you’re not thefearofsocialmediadoesn’tseem tobethere.Ifwecanalignthosegoing to get any more people to do social media. But what you do have to do things—someonewhoiswillingtobeis unplug some people from doing some of what they’re doing and switch their supportiveandprovideamandate—responsibilities. Social media has been layered onto everything else. And the resourcesshouldfollow.Itpointsouta responses support what I’m saying. This isn’t a budget issue. It’sa management challenge. Organizational leaders have to understand howSucceeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 13
  14. 14. important social media is and determine how to incorporate it into the org chart. Forme,Question12[whichaskedThis isn’t really a new challenge; it occurs all the time. The world changes and if aboutgoalsforsocialmedia] indicatesaneedtoraisepeople’syou want to be in it, you have to change too.” sightsaboutjusthowmuchsocial mediaabhorsasilo.Ifengaging alumni,creating,sustaining,Furthermore, while many institutions know they’re held back by a lack of resources andimprovingbrandimage,andand expertise, very few have plans to acquire what they need. And 59% of re- increasingawareness/advocacy/spondents said they weren’t aware of other organizations that were using social rankingsarepriorities,youcan’thelp buthaveoneaffectalltheothersmedia successfully. Few institutions are reaching out to external sources, or CASE, withyourefforts.Ifyou’reinvolvedto expand their horizons. inengagingalumni,howdoyou bringprospectivestudentsintothe conversation?They’reallconnected.Budgets are tight. But there’s every indication that social media is not just a fad.That it’s here to stay. The challenge for advancement professionals is to recognize 3. hatarethekeytakeawaysforthe Wthis reality and to begin to institutionalize the use of social media—not necessarily advancementprofession? Socialmediaareastrategicby focusing on a specific platform. As Andy Shaindlin said, “We should be riding assetwithininstitutionalandthe wave, not the surfboard.” communicationsprogramsthat needstobeintegratedintoourwork. SmartinstitutionsaremovingawayNow is the time to seek models that suggest how social media can be integrated fromspontaneousbuildingofsocialinto existing initiatives and ongoing programs. Charlie Melichar said, “There networksandmovingtowardmore planning.We’reputtingsocialmediashouldn’t be any doubt that social media are a strategic asset within institutional inthehandsofpeoplewhoknowhowand communications programs that needs to be integrated into our work. We tothinkaboutitanddoit.should be moving away from knee-jerk, spontaneous solution building. We should Theotherpartisreallyimportant:take the time to step back and think about what we’re doing. People need to calm thisisapeople-basedplatform.It’sdown. There’s too much trying to create buzz. People have enough buzz in their notmassmedia.Ifyoursocialmedia–lives right now. We should be trying to add value to their lives, and that basedcommunicationsdon’treflect yourinstitutionalvoice,peoplearerequires thought.” goingtopickituprightaway. Finally,everyoneneedstocalmdown.We’re looking forward to seeing what changes—and what doesn’t—in the 2011 We’retryingtodoeverythingallatversion of this survey. once,tryingto“createbuzz.”People haveenoughbuzzintheirlivesright now:weshouldbetryingtoaddvalue totheirlives:thatrequiresthought.Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement 14
  15. 15. Appendix 1:Social Media and the Admission OfficeWhat about the use of social media in the admission office?As noted, our survey doesn’t include significant input from admission staff because admission officersare not well-represented among CASE members, especially where admission or enrollment marketing ishandled by admission office staff.To provide a glimpse of how admission and enrollment officers are using social media to recruitstudents—and how effective their efforts are—we’ve explored data compiled by other people. Wereviewed research that includes a master’s thesis exploring the use of social media by prospectivestudents and admission/enrollment offices, data derived from questions embedded in national surveysof broader admission practices compiled by National Association for College Admission Counseling(NACAC), and observational research on the use of social media and Facebook by consulting firms whospecialize in coaching colleges and universities on the use of these tools in student recruitmentand outreach.How college and university admission offices use social mediaAccording to the 2009 State of College Admission report from NACAC, 51% of colleges offer blogs bycurrent students on their websites, 39% link to social networking sites such as Facebook, and 23.6%offer blogs by admission officers.1According to NACAC’s “State of College Admissions 2010” report, the use of social media toolscontinues to grow. “In 2009, 73% of respondents reported that they provide links to their colleges’ socialnetworking sites (up from 39% in 2008), and 61% reported offering blogs by current students (up from51% in 2008 and 42% in 2007). Some colleges and universities also have blogs by admission officers(31%), podcasts (31%) and online message boards.” NACAC also reported that 36% of colleges allowedapplicants to check their status on the institution’s website. NACAC did not capture data (or did notreport data) about the use of Facebook or other social networking sites in college admission.NACAC also distributes “Social Media and College Admissions: Higher-Ed Beats Business in Adoptionof New Tools for Third Year,” a report by Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson from the Center forMarketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Using data collected in 2009 fromvoice surveys of admission offices selected from a directory compiled by the University of Texas, Barnesand Mattson explored the use of a range of social media, noting that higher ed had lapped commercialentities in the adoption of social media tools.1 These numbers are from NACAC’s Admission Trends Survey, conducted in 2008.Appendix 1: Social Media and the Admission Office 15
  16. 16. They found that 51% of colleges and universities have an admission blog and noted that “familiarity withsocial networking has jumped from 55% reporting they were very familiar with it in 2007, to 63% in2008 and now to 83%. Admission officers have clearly embraced Facebook and other social networkingsites as viable forms of communication with their constituency.” The following chart from their reportshows comparisons over the three years of the study: Which of the following types of social media does your admission office currently have? (% yes)100% 2007 87%90% 200880% 200970% 61% 59% 59%60% 51% 48% 46%50% 41% 39% 38%40% 36% 33% 29%30% 27% 22% 19%20% 16% 14% 13% 10% 3% 5%10% 94% 67% 61% 59% 58% 36% 33% 33% MESSAGE SOCIAL VIDEO DO NOT BLOGGING BULLETIN PODCASTING WIKIS TWITTER NETWORKING BLOGGING USE ANY BOARDSWhile they don’t say much about engagement in general, Barnes and Mattson do focus on blogcomments as a measure of engagement, and they report that 78% of respondents accept commentson their blogs. Comments facilitate “conversation” (the term that Barnes and Mattson use); 86% ofrespondents said their blogs were successful. And they don’t call out the use of Facebook specifically,focusing on “social networking” in general.In terms of plans for the future, they report that 50% of respondents believe that social media is “veryimportant” to their future strategy (a 5% decline since the question was asked in 2008).Robin Lindbeck, a professor at Drake University, and Brian Fodrey, from the University of North Carolina,studied how prospective students and admission offices relate to social media and other technologiesAppendix 1: Social Media and the Admission Office 16
  17. 17. as part of the admission process. In “Using Technology in Undergraduate Admission:Current Practices and Future Plans,”2 they reported how admission offices used technol-ogy. They offered additional perspectives on this research in a presentation at NACAC2010 entitled, “Integrating Emerging Technologies into Undergraduate Admission.” Theirwork, which they shared in two articles in the Journal of College Admission and a presenta-tion at NACAC 2010, is based on surveys completed by 36 institutions from 11 states.They found that 25% of institutions were using “social networking” and, of the 69% ofrespondents using an online profile for their admission office, 36% rated it as having ahigh ROI.Using a list of colleges derived from the directory compiled by the University of Texas,BlueFuego staff visited 1,387 colleges and university websites repeatedly over the pasttwo years. They viewed institutional home pages and the opening pages of admissionand alumni sites and recorded instances in which the institutions linked to social mediasites from these key pages. In BlueFuego’s initial survey, conducted in March 2009, 8%of institutions displayed “social web callouts” (BlueFuego’s term for icons or specificlinks to destinations on the social web such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, etc.). Of the 113institutions that used these links on their admission sites, 65% linked to Facebook, 25%linked to YouTube (with 19% embedding a YouTube video), 14% linked to Twitter, and12% linked to MySpace.In July 2010, BlueFuego updated their research with the same set of institutions. Now,53% of admission websites include social web callouts (links) on their main pages.BlueFuego observes, “Admission continues to lag behind in promoting their presences viaSWCs directly on their site. Our supplementary research with prospective students hasshown that they are more likely to visit and join presences that are officially promoted bythe institution.” When the research was done (June 2010, about the time our survey wasposted), 94% of institutions linked to Facebook, 67% to Twitter, and 53% to YouTube.2 Journal of College Admission, Summer 2009: 25-30Appendix 1: Social Media and the Admission Office 17
  18. 18. Varsity Outreach’s white paper, “Facebook and Admissions: A Closer Look at How College Admission Offices Use Facebook,” reports on a survey sent to the 601 American universities in their Facebook Page Directory in spring 2010, at roughly the same time we were surveying advancement offices about their use of social media. They received 226 responses. Their topline findings: » Facebook is the most important and most used social media outlet for admission offices, ahead of blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and MySpace. » Most admission offices have a dedicated presence on Facebook that typically includes Facebook pages or Facebook groups. Many have more than one presence on Facebook. » An admission office’s Facebook presence is typically managed by a small group of individuals (one to three people) who spend four hours or fewer per week on this task. More than half of admission offices place primary Abe Gruber’s master’s thesis “Social responsibility for this task in the hands of a junior admission Media in Undergraduate University staff member with fewer than five years of experience. Admissions” provides a very nuanced » Most admission offices are happy with the results of view of the range of social media used in their Facebook presence, yet less than half agree that their admission offices and offers a perspec- presence has had a significant impact on recruitment or yield efforts. tive of how admission office use of social media compares to what prospective students want. Completed in late 2010, Admission office use of social media the thesis relies upon a sample of 200 prospective students and 70 admission% of Responents offices. His admission office respondents indicated that Facebook was the most 80% popular social media for communication 70% with prospective students (67% used it). 60% 40% used blogs. 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 67% 40% 40% 40%% 37% 33% 29% 14% 14% 10% 9% 7% 3% 14% g ok s ns er S ce g ng ds e ng In e tin og RS tin ub es itt pa ar io bo ki ed gi Bl as as uT Th ss ar Tw Bo yS sa nk ce dc dc m Se Yo es M Fa Li ge of ok Po Po at M sa ne Bo Ch o o t es di No de an al M Au p st Vi ci ou In So Gr Social media technology (from Abe Gruber) Appendix 1: Social Media and the Admission Office 18