5 tips for Higher Education Twitter Marketing

By May 23, 2014 No Comments

It’s apparent that twitter has exploded in digital marketing. But it isn’t confined to advertising in the slightest. From churchgoers to third graders, everybody tweets! Short and oh so sweet, Twitter is a must have for higher education marketing. As social media is a beast of many forms, twitter too has limitless applications. It’s much more than a forum for pushing news about what’s happening on your campus. It’s about creating communities and ethnographies around your school.Higher Ed Twitter
The way I’ve always thought about twitter is as a miniature blogging platform. Condensing an article-length idea down to 140 characters and retaining high quality content is always a challenge but can be extremely powerful. You don’t have to be a writer to create a successful twitter campaign. I’ve represented numerous universities on behalf of their social media presence and have compiled 5 tips that can make an immediate impact on your twitter campaign.
1. Find a personality, build a community. Twitter users want to talk to a person, not a post-scheduling robot. And they definitely don’t want recruitment-style posts thrown at them. It’s important to “hide your marketing” when using twitter. Simply put, it comes across naive to the youthful demographic of social networkers to use twitter as an advertising platform. Traditional marketing is great for your website, e-mail, and print, but Web 2.0 is more about having personality and driving engagement. So keep your contenimage_thumb2t quality and your messaging genuine. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box a little bit. Social media takes practice and finding a routine that works for your school will take some time.
2. Don’t send messages via auto-responders. There are sites out there that will spam your new followers as soon as they follow you, which is a horrible first impression. Don’t use these. It’s very robotic and lacks a human element. Don’t get me wrong; twitter messaging can be really useful for direct, personalized queries. If you do send a message to someone it should be about a customized issue or in response to a question or message you received. However, automatic “Thanks for following XYZ University!” messages are static and do nothing but fill up your followers’ inboxes.
3.   Create multiple twitter accounts. Get specific! When targeting leads and conversion, make accounts for each of your universities schools such as law, health, business, etc. For a more internal approach create separate accounts for school news, alumni, admissions, athletics, student life, etc. This way, you can really target a specific niche and post relevant content that users will actually enjoy. What a concept!? The more accounts the better. Just be sure to stay active and up to date throughout your twittersphere.  Maybe add a note here – while it’s great to have a lot of accounts you must ensure you have the resources to effectively manage them – also the owners of each account should communicate regularly on content pushed, ideas, voice, etc
4. Don’t only push your own content. Twitter is a main news source for some people. Tweet articles or blog posts by your favorite news sites or bloggers. This brings me to another point. If it is quality content, it reflects well on your institution. Quality content is everything in social media. Don’t limit yourself to articles; think program-relevant visual resources such as infographics or videos. Not too long though, Ted Talks or RSA Animate videos are good examples. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky enough to be retweeted by the original poster, which could give your school more exposure and a lot of credit. Just don’t forget to tweet “@” them in your post.
5. Adapt to change. It’s a pretty basic rule of thumb for, well, anything, but specifically let’s take a look at the brand new twitter profiles. You’re probably wondering, how will this change affect marketers in 2014? What are the benefits and downsides? One of the most noticeable things about the change is how similar the user profiles look to that of Facebook. Profile picture and header image placement is extremely similar. They’ve also removed background images altogether, putting heavy emphasis on the profile and header images. This new look doesn’t really change anything; just remember to update your accounts for the new design. The twitter basics such as character count, retweets, favorites and replies are here to stay. twitter-new-profile-twitter-170214What DOES make a difference, however, is the system they’ve added for “popular tweets”, featuring them in a larger text size that definitely stands out. This is sure to lead to higher engagement for certain posts and further highlights the importance of quality content.
When it comes down to it, quality will always prevail, no matter what the future has in store. Stick to this guideline and you’ll be sure to see an improvement in engagement and followership for your university.

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