Juniata is interested in establishing and nurturing the feeling of community that all our students and alumni so faithfully cite as one of the primary reasons they choose to attend Juniata. Social media is above all a method of creating and maintaining a community focused around different aspects of the human condition, whether it’s cultivating connections on Facebook or LinkedIn, sharing images on YouTube or Instagram, or blogging about college on Tumblr. Juniata’s aim is to use these and other emerging media as part of Juniata’s communications strategy to make the world aware of our programs and to bring in new members of the Juniata community.
Why Have a Strategy?
Juniata College has an inclusive social media strategy that encourages every person on campus to become part of the conversation. All offices and departments on campus should look at their communications goals and choose a social media strategy that best fits that vision. Each unit should pursue a mix of social media that will build and exemplify Juniata’s educational mission.
If our goals are defined and chosen for maximum effectiveness, the College can use interactive social media platforms to engage new audiences. Engagement, in this context means a ladder of interaction that goes like this: visit—repeat visits—“likes,” “comments,” and “sharing”—appointment browsing. Engagement is nothing more than forming a relationship with the audience
A cohesive strategy makes things consistent across all campus offices and allows collaboration on how to take advantage of current and emerging media. It also helps the campus to adjust when older platforms are on the wane.
What is the Importance of Social Media?
Social media is the new backyard fence, the diner counter or whatever place is used to gather and exchange information about friends, acquaintances and business. Social media really is just an information distribution system, the next step after television and newspapers. There is a singular difference for social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest compared to the old media landscape. Today, any person or business can “own” the media. New social media can be used in higher education by establishing communities connected in some way to Juniata and providing opportunities to connect with the College and take part in College activities.
Social media is one of the few mediums where the owner of the “media,” whether it’s Facebook, the local newspaper or YouTube, can reach out directly to users who have a connection to their product. Juniata can engage with a variety of constituents with a clear message.
But, in order to have a clear message, the College must have an overall strategy for engaging our community. Every department should work cooperatively to deliver specific, consistent stories about Juniata’s faculty, students, research efforts, service and civic engagement. Collaboration also helps when a college has to adapt to newer platforms as the public moves on to the next evolution in social media. A consistent social media policy with common goals will allow the College to learn about new media and different social opportunities as a whole, rather than as an independent operator.
Juniata’s Social Media Goals
- Deliver relevant messages of a department or the College as a whole to a large audience.
- Create a sense of community by using a variety of social media platforms.
- Deliver Juniata news, information, and marketing to underserved audiences.
- Give administrators, faculty, and students access to the platforms so the college can bring in new audiences.
- Use social media to establish Juniata as a credible news source.
- Ensure that all Juniata social media are used to enhance, not dominate, the conversation.
- Make sure that all messages, approaches and tone are consistent throughout the Juniata administration and on campus. Try to schedule a yearly seminar for faculty and staff on how to craft messages.
- Give all Juniatians, from students to faculty to staff, training, advice, and guidance in any social media strategies.
- Keep Juniata on the leading edge in social media by exploring, then joining emerging media that can best deliver Juniata’s messages to a new audience or expand an existing audience.
- Constantly define and assess the audience and the College’s goals for that audience, particularly as it applies directly to whatever social media is employed. Typically the platform offers some rudimentary analytics, and Google analytics also can be used to assess some aspects of social media. When considering a new social media platform, make sure the services offered are truly a benefit to Juniata, and that there is a genuine need for the College to use it.
- Use Juniata’s Social Media Policy, which is a guide to using social media and is continually updated to reflect current thinking on the various platforms and make sure the policy is posted on the website and available to all with social media responsibility.
- Make sure that social media entries are involving, necessary, fun and have some sort of call to action that might inspire users to create an off shoot of the conversation and incorporate others into the discussion. Examples can be “likes,” or posting a question designed to inspire answer-posts.
- Make sure everything entered on social media is interesting. Do not use it as a bulletin board or dumping ground for announcements.