Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Social Media and Faculty Publicity

Faculty stars. You know who they are, and so do they. They may be prolific authors, influential activists, professional leaders or international speakers. Their achievements are frequent and important within their spheres of influence.

And these stars want you to magnify their shine through publicity.

Not too long ago, there weren't many options for handling stellar, PR-happy faculty. You could give into their requests for publicity in the few channels available (namely news releases or institutional publications), featuring them with such frequency that other quieter professors become obscured. The other option was to draw a line in the sand and say no, offending the well-regarded faculty member. Needless to say, both options had significant drawbacks.

Enter the social Web to the rescue!

With a flexible and well-designed Web site and social media presence, higher ed communicators now have a broad range of tools at their disposal for promoting faculty achievements. Instead of saying "no, we can't write another news release about you" to a prestigious professor, we can now respond with "congratulations, we've already posted your news to your department Web page and our college's Twitter feed." Here is our new range of options:
  • College/university magazine article
  • News release
  • Home page spotlight
  • Lower-level Web site features (i.e., departmental home pages)
  • Facebook update (reserved for accomplishments that reflect more widely on the institution)
  • Twitter update
  • Flickr/YouTube (if media available)
  • "Faculty applause" or "Faculty in the news" Web pages
  • Testimonial quotes/features in marketing materials
  • E-newsletter profile


  1. Davina,
    Thanks for the insightful post. Yes, you are right that communications managers in higher ed. have many more options for promoting our faculty than ever before. Gone are the days of sending a press release and hoping for a hit from the 20th Century Media. We are already doing many on the list you have outlined and are working to implement even more. Glad someone recommended your blog.

  2. Thanks, Sarah. Would love to hear your ideas too. It's an exciting time to be in our profession!

  3. Davina, just wanted to let you know that we thought this blog was great and we wanted to spread it around to the higher ed marketing community. We included it as a "Must Read Blog" in our November Brand Bounce, check it out http://bit.ly/3hy7NZ. It was sent out Monday Nov 9. See bottom right of the page at the link if you didn't get in your email.

  4. Thanks, EMG. Great newsletter (and not just because you linked to me)!