Managing social media can be a full-time job, so how many accounts should your institution have?
It’s no secret that social media is one of the most valuable tools for communicating with prospective students and parents in today’s higher ed landscape. Engaging on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and others can be a cost-effective strategy for generating conversation. However, with multiple colleges, sports teams, and departments within a university, how many accounts should your institution have? Before arriving at the solution, here are some things to consider.
Is the audience distinct enough to require its own account?
Within any institution there are multiple departments with valuable messaging for current and prospective students, as well as alumni. The admissions department may have important information for applicants that wouldn’t resonate with fans looking for the score of the latest basketball game. In these cases, it makes sense to create unique accounts for distinctly different audiences. However, when it comes to creating accounts for individual classes of students, they will eventually become redundant. The accounts that are created must have a well-defined audience, a specific voice, and a vital message.
Do you have the resources to maintain these accounts?
Accounts can be created in a matter of seconds, so the appeal to make a new one for each department within your institution is real. However, for a social media account to take flight, there must be a consistent stream of content for followers to consume and engage with. Is your institution prepared to create content for all of these accounts and post regularly? If not, consider limiting the amount of accounts you create. Having too many accounts will dilute the impact of the brand’s overall voice. If so, consider taking advantage of services like HootSuite or Buffer, to schedule posts in advance.
What is your long-term strategy?
When weighing the pros and cons of creating a specific account, consider what purpose the account will serve as a part of your complete social media strategy. If your goal is to increase awareness about your school, additional accounts might help spark the conversation. However, if your objective is to have tight control over your brand’s messaging, limiting the amount of brand voices can help in that effort. Individual accounts for the university’s marching band and poetry club can help raise awareness about those specific organizations, but will be difficult to regulate from a content standpoint. Further, if the account is no longer relevant, there must be a process in place to either shut down or merge the account with an existing feed.
These criteria, along with others specific to your institution, are all important to consider when deciding whether or not to open a new social media account. While increasing the amount of accounts can make regulation more difficult, it also opens up opportunities for content generation and student engagement.