PR in Higher Education: Making Social Media Work for You

Social media is not magic. I repeat: social media is not magic.

No matter what platform is popular, how many platforms are used, or how often content is released social media is only as effective as it is made to be.


I was once taught by a mentor that universities are like little cities; all universities have numerous moving parts, departments, and target audiences. As new platforms emerge and owning a smart phone becomes as normal in our society as owning a toothbrush, the question for universities to now answer, “is how can we make social media work for us?” With so many target audiences, each area affiliated with an institution must follow the best practices of implementing social media into their communication strategy. However, these 3 rule-of-thumb tips can be applied to any department involved with a university. How can your department be more strategic with social media?


Make Data Analysis Top Priority


Analytics offers the opportunity for PR professionals to readjust their communication plan based on relevant data. Do you get lots of retweets on tweets that are decorated with a funny GIF? Are only three people accessing the link in tweet? Only data analysis will highlight those important details. Whether seeking to reach the incoming first-year students to attend a university or alumni, tracking data will make the next steps clear after a communications plan with a focus on social media is implemented.


Make Social Media a Two-way Communication Tool


The worst way to use social media as a platform is to solely re-publish blurbs from the formal press release sent out earlier that week and just call it a day. Creating engaging content is top priority for one reason and one reason only – for people to engage in conversation! Social media can work for you or your university if it is used to answer questions and communicate in real-time. While traditional PR methods are centered around disseminating a message, social media offers the opportunity for two-way communication.


Social media is an amazing resource for all organizations to reach key audiences and maintain a positive reputation. While it is not a magic tool to success, it is extremely beneficial when it is manipulated to produce the best result for the organization at hand. Implementing these best practices is just the start of making social media work for you and your institution.




Andrea Masamaba 4460-002

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