Engaging potential faculty and staff through social media
U.S. colleges and universities have long embraced the influential power of social media. Many, in fact, had front row seats to Facebook’s meteoric rise from its roots at college campuses. And studies from elite institutions such as Duke University have suggested that the school’s social media presence has influenced one in five students to enroll.
If your school is like most, you have developed strategies for using social media to encourage school pride and interact with alumni, students and prospective students. But social media can also be an effective tool for recruiting top faculty and staff if you use the right platforms, post relevant content and maintain appropriate activity levels.
Here’s how to boost your social media image to attract attention from top talent.
Pick the right platform
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google + are some of the most popular social media sites among organizations and businesses. However, each site attracts different users and has unique missions, so it’s important to design your strategy with the site’s demographics and purposes in mind.
Because your school likely already uses Facebook and Twitter, consider speaking with the people in charge of those accounts to discuss weaving in recruiting and hiring messages with their current content. If you don’t already have a profile or page on the professional networking site LinkedIn, create one. Then build your network by connecting with higher education staff and faculty, and joining groups dedicated to higher education or other applicable interests.
Follow up with those who run your school’s other social media sites to make sure relevant posts are consistent across social media platforms. For example, you may want to share the same post about the first day of school on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and all other sites, but LinkedIn probably isn’t the right platform for announcing a snow day.
With these steps complete, you’ll be on your way to building an online community. The next step is knowing how to interact with that community.
Tell a compelling story
A school’s greatest asset is its student body, and educators want to work at an institution where they feel they’ll be able to make a difference in students’ lives. Social media posts should promote the broad spectrum of campus life, including student achievement, faculty successes, industry hot topics, and awards and recognitions that will interest current and potential employees.
The Social Media Examiner suggests organizations apply the 70/20/10 rule, which suggests 70 percent of posted content should revolve around the brand and business. For schools, this means posting information useful to students, professors, adjuncts and others in the education community. Twenty percent of posts should be shared from other sites, such as news articles on education or guest blog posts from community members. The remaining 10 percent should be entirely promotional, letting people know what is unique and wonderful about the school and any upcoming events.
While following the 70/20/10 rule, use mixed media — articles, videos and images. The variety will help keep your followers interested.
Post updates frequently
Social media engagement only works if content is posted regularly. Create a calendar of topics at the beginning of the semester so you’ll know what to post and when.
Recommended posting frequency varies by social media site, but best practice guidelines from Buffer.com suggest:
- At least three tweets per day on Twitter
- No more than three posts per day on Google +
- No more than two posts per day on Facebook
- One post per day on LinkedIn
These guidelines will help ensure you’re posting frequently enough to provide value to your community of followers but not so frequently that you’re overwhelming their social media experiences. Remember that these are just guidelines. Keeping an eye on how people engage with your posts by topic and frequency will help you create the schedule that best fits your school.