The 5 deadly sins schools commit on Twitter and how to avoid them
Higher Education Marketing

The 5 deadly sins schools commit on Twitter and how to avoid them

Date posted: October 5, 2012

Twitter is an efficient platform to share information, reach out to students and prospects, and position your school in its industry. It’s a great community-building tool. Many schools are already on Twitter but they get discouraged by the lack of engagement there. We have compiled the 5 most common mistakes we have seen schools make on Twitter and how you can avoid them.

1. Sin: Being where your students are not.

You have set up a Twitter account because you hear it was a large referrer for schools’ traffic. But using a social media platform your students don’t use amounts to shouting in an empty room. Salvation: Determine whether your students use Twitter: Your students’ tech-savy-ness, their age, education level and career choices can all be indicators of whether or not they use Twitter. Start an on-campus poll or an email survey campaign to reach out to your students and see which social media platforms they most use. This will help you focus on meeting them where they are.

2. Sin: Creating accounts your school does not need.

You created Twitter accounts for several of your departments or projects at your school but no one is following these accounts.  Or, you already have a good Alumni group on LinkedIn or a good Admission page on Facebook and you create a corresponding Twitter account. Salvation:  Identify the specific need that you want your Twitter account to fill and then only create your Twitter account. Here are a few uses for a school’s Twitter account:

  • Enhance your school’s Admission or Student Services by answering questions to students through an @Ask + name of your school account.
  • Enhance your school’s Career Services by actively helping students stay on-top of the workforce with news about internships, jobs, workshops that are taking place and may be of interest.
  • Enhance your visibility in the community by positioning yourself as a relay, a creator or an analyst of all news with the industries you want your students to succeed in.
  • Listen to your competition and what they are doing: with Twitter, you can create private lists, meaning you can track other twitter users without actually following them. Making a “Competitors” list will help you stay attune to what other schools are doing on Twitter.

3. Sin: Feeding Twitter directly from Facebook.

Everything you post on Facebook goes automatically on Twitter. Why would students follow your Twitter account if the content is just a duplicate of what you have posted on Facebook? This goes for every type of content duplication: publishing some of your content on several sites is recommended but publishing the exact same content across every social media platform is not. By using Twitter as a mere recycled content bin, you are indirectly showing that Twitter does not matter for your school. If that is the case, why should students follow you? Salvation: Clearly differentiate the content for each of the platforms you use. Having a clear Social Media strategy can be a first step to identifying the path.

4. Sin:  One-way tweets.

You are only sending news (mostly about your school and your programs) and never actually interacting with your followers. Salvation: Engage with your followers. Community-building is about addressing your students and their issues while trying to have fun with them.

  • Create public or private lists to manage your followers.
  • Be useful to your followers: Listen to what they have to say. Answer or help relay their questions. Read here to learn who you should follow on Twitter.
  • Ask them to help you relay important info and acknowledge their part in your community
  • Create contests via Twitter or integrate Twitter to your contest initiatives.

5. Sin: Silence.

You have created the account and have been engaging with your community! Then summer came along and you decided to give your Twitter account an extended vacation. Salvation: Create an account only if you are sure to keep it updated. Twitter loyalty partially relies on your ability to be consistent in your tweeting. If your account is inactive, your followers will unfollow you. Many schools have a hard time keeping their account updated. If this is the case, ask for the help of your students. Many of them are eager to work in social media.  You can also count on them to create high-quality content about your school to share on a regular basis.

What other sins have you seen committed on Twitter?