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​Higher Ed & Twitter

Many institutions report that their social media efforts are successful. CASE recently researched the social media activities of educational institutions in conjunction with Huron Education Consulting Group and mStoner, a marketing firm specializing in higher education. The goal of the research is to create a knowledge and resource base to assist with the assessment and implementation of social media strategies for communication and engagement. Though the results are from the education sector, nonprofits as a whole can learn from the findings.

When responders were asked which types of social media they used, Facebook (92%), Twitter (81%) and LinkedIn (76%) were listed as the three most popular sites. Of those three, Twitter was used the most frequently with 44% responding that they posted more than once a day. In fact, Twitter far out placed its nearest competitor (Facebook at 24%) as the most active social media network. Twitter is also the most popular social media site used by leaders of educational institutions, with 26% using it.

Twitter is being used to drive website traffic, maintain professional contacts, receive news updates or information on hot topics and also as an educational resource.

Many institutions define success by the number of active friend or followers (89%) or the number of click-throughs to a website or microsite (75%). Institutions are using social media to achieve a number of goals: planned campaigns (70%), stewardship (62%) and donations (57%). Of those responding, 83% raised up to five percent of their total funds from social media and 11% raised from six percent to ten percent.

When asked what the content of their posts consisted of, images made up 45%. Text came in at 43% and videos at 12%. Just three years ago, the majority of postings were text-only.

All nonprofits can learn from this data. Tweets with images are more likely to get retweeted — in fact, 94% more likely. Long story short: Add images to boost your effectiveness.

Some other valuable tips for using Twitter effectively:

  • Recycle old tweets with a new image
  • Use an interesting statistic.
  • Ask and you shall receive. “Please Retweet” is the 11th most retweetable phrase.
  • Do a brief poll or survey.
  • Ask interesting questions.
  • Be part of the big picture. Use popular and relevant hashtags.
  • Use TwitterCards, a new ad product from Twitter which allows you to drive traffic to your website by embedding rich media in your posts that don’t limit you to 140 characters.

To read the full results of “Best Practices in Social Media, Summary of Findings from the Sixth Annual Comprehensive Study of Social Media Use by Schools, Colleges and Universities” click here.

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