Like other types of businesses, colleges and universities understand the power of social media to engage with students and alumni. For prospective students, social media platforms present an opportunity to connect and gain exposure with a school before and during the application process. It's also an excellent way to learn more about a school's programs, achievements, and campus life. Why not connect with colleges on social media in these six simple ways?
1. Follow schools
Most schools are accessible on various social media platforms to account for different age demographics and user preferences. For instance, while most Americans have Facebook, about 71% of people age nine to 29 prefer using Instagram daily, ranking it the second-most popular platform. Start looking for your schools of interest while you’re scrolling your feed. Most colleges and universities have a general school profile, but some colleges create multiple accounts for various departments, clubs, or campus-based amenities such as libraries and career centers. When you follow a school's social media accounts, you can easily stay abreast of upcoming events and deadlines in real time, so consider following the accounts most relevant to you.
2. Comment and like posts
While following a college on social media is a good place to start, commenting and liking posts is even better. Engaging with colleges through social media enhances your online association with a school if you already attend and helps you stand out if you’re applying. Remember, there’s an actual person behind each college’s account. Sharing your opinions, enthusiasm, and questions gives the school insight into what students want or need to succeed and the areas that draw the most interest from potential students. You may even catalyze positive change on campus by providing feedback on posts.
Related: How to Be Responsible Using Social Media as a Student
3. Participate in contests
Many colleges engage students by posting contests or trivia games on their social media feeds. Sometimes winners earn a featured post or receive free college gear, like a sweatshirt or accessories. Some schools may even run social media scholarship contests to help you pay for attendance! Participating in these contests is a great way for prospective and current college students to have a fun digital experience with a school. Enterting these contests may also be an opportunity to gain exposure at your school or build new friendships with your peers; you never know who you could meet and connect with!
4. Participate in discussions
In addition to events, campaigns, and announcements, colleges post trending topics on their social media channels. These posts may include recent studies from the school’s research centers or other interesting facts from various academic programs and experts. If you find any content from a program of interest, you may also consider participating in the post's discussion and offer your insights. Writing your thoughts is also helpful for finding and connecting with mentors or fellow students in a future or current major.
Related: 22 Social Media Tips for Athletic Recruitment
5. Share content
Content sharing is the foundation of social media. When colleges share posts, updates, or events, consider reposting them to your feeds. Studies show that we share self- or socially relevant content to reflect on it or impact our followers. Maybe a school posted about their latest research or announced a weather-related closing. We want to do our part to disseminate important information through shared content we think others should know, especially following COVID-19, so don’t be afraid to hit the share button.
6. Send direct messages
You'll likely have numerous questions about a college’s application process, a particular program, or student life. It may also be challenging to navigate the school website if you're unfamiliar with it. Reaching out to the college's social media specialists through direct messaging may prove helpful. While they may not have all the answers, they should be able to point you in the right direction to the people who can help. Additionally, you'll have contacted someone at the school you can turn to in the future.
Related: How to Talk to Admission Officers in Person and Over Email
Social media can be a powerful tool for bringing colleges and students together. There are plenty of opportunities for students to connect with colleges to get the ball rolling on their college search, demonstrate interest, or strengthen their presence on campus. Whether you leave a thoughtful comment, participate in contests and discussions, or simply follow the school for updates, there are plenty of ways to increase your involvement in a digital setting.
Want another easy way to interact with schools? Check out our CX featured college lists and get connected in a few clicks!