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How to WIN with Social Media

Posted on 22nd December, by Tom Williams in Web tools. No Comments

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I was asked recently in an interview when was the right time for a college or university to begin “giving up control” of their message. My response:

You already have.

Social media has really changed the rules, but don’t be sad. This is a good thing. It’s a good thing for you and for prospective students. It’s a good thing for humanity. In the past, spin doctors and crafty ad agencies could project false images of a company or a college, making most people believe a myth. Those days are gone and I say good riddance. Control of brands and messages is not just the product of an advertising message any more, but the result of the collective crowd.

But what does this mean for YOU?

If you are a college that practices what you preach, it is great news! It means you just gained access to a huge distribution channel staffed 24×7 with “employees” you don’t have to pay who will say things commensurate with who you are, what you believe and what you are trying to accomplish. The message from your institution and the messages bubbling up from all the various social media channels will share common a theme and rhythm. Your message will be heard louder and with more authority than before and best of all, it will receive constant independent ratification.


However… if you’ve been saying one thing and doing another; if your advertising messages are inconsistent with your brand; if you’ve been trying to be something you are not then prepare to be “ratted out” by the groundswell. With the proliferation of messaging, personal webpages, social networks, blogs & twitter, unfiltered information (good or bad) is only one click away. If your messages (what you do and what you say) are disjointed, it will come to light – guaranteed.

If you find yourself in the second (and more concerning) situation, don’t panic. Now is the time to fix what is broken. Look at this as a wake up call. No institution will thrive if its brand is convoluted and its messages are disjointed. You need to determine your core values and beliefs – the stuff that drives the long term vision for your college. All branding, messaging and behavior should be underpinned by this vision. When you achieve this consistency, social media works for you, not against.

Related posts:

  1. OSU on Social Media
  2. Starting a Social Media Campaign
  3. Scalable Social Media Strategies for College Admissions – How? Why? When?
  4. Social Media Experiment: #NACAC08
  5. Social Media… The Most Over Rated Fad in History

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