Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thinking practically about social media

Who says you need a full-time professional staffer dedicated solely to social media before you can build an institutional presence?

If you follow many Web marketing blogs, you might get the impression that implementing a social media strategy is a time-consuming commitment of staff and/or funding. However like most graduate and professional schools, my law school has a fairly small communications staff. We are generalists by necessity, and we work hard to make the most of our limited resources.

Two recent higher ed blog posts feature a more practical perspective on integrating social media into an existing communications workflow. Michael Stoner's "Small staff, smart choices yield social media success for Baylor School" shares the story of an independent school communications director's foray into social media, one that closely mirrors my own. Andrew Careaga's "I, (not) Robot: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the Borg," discusses the advantages of using technology to distribute official communications into social networks.

Here are other factors my office considers before adding to our social media mix:
  • Audience involvement: Are active prospective students or alumni already using the social media site? How would an institutional voice fit into the conversation?
  • Channel credibility: Is the site mainstream (yet)? What is the culture of the channel? Are other graduate or professional schools establishing an official presence there?
  • Office utility: Can we tweak or repurpose existing content for the site? Can the site help us streamline our current processes? Can we save institutional resources by shifting to a social media site?
Sure, it would be nice to be on the leading edge of every development in the social media revolution. But even a small daily investment in social media, when done strategically, can yield great rewards.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Davina. Once we get over the mania about social media, it's going to be part of everyone's job not some exotic "technology" that specialists use. There's no time to get started like right now, though....