February #RRWebinar Recap: Video, Slides, and Stats, Oh My.

With attendees hailing from over 70 institutions across North America, and a lively Twitter backchannel discussion, we’re chalking up our February 15 Webinar on Social Media and Student Engagement in the “success” column.

Check out the full video above, or download the slides—but there is one catch: if you download the slides, you have to do your best Tom Krieglstein impression as you flip through the presentation (if  you really do this, please record it and send it to us).

Webinar Stats:

-Total Attendees: 73
– 74% Reported that they manage two or more Facebook accounts for their institution
– When we asked about Twitter usage, the largest segment of the group, 36%, said that they don’t manage a Twitter account at all
– However, the second-largest group, at 14%, said that they manage 3 or more Twitter accounts
– 72% of attendees characterized their institution’s Facebook page as a “Broadcaster” page, one that posts announcements but doesn’t interact with students

Bonus Round: Q&A

We didn’t get to all of the questions that were asked during the webinar, so we’d like to share a few more of Tom’s answers:

Q: How can we encourage students answer the polls we post on Facebook and Twitter?

TK: First, set expectations of what your growth will be like. Set goals and know that your page isn’t going to be an overnight success. It will take time. So, think baby steps. With polls specifically, pick questions that are simple and intriguing, where they will want to know how they stack up to their peers, e.g. “How many hours do you sleep per night?” I’d also suggest making the polls happen on the same day every week, so your fans start to expect it ahead of time.

Q: We have offered prizes if you like our pages…how else can we get students to want to be a part of our Facebook page?

TK: Contests work, but will only sustain motivation for a short period of time. Think about the 90-9-1 rule and how you can engage each group. Polls, like I talked about above, work for the 90%. The 9% will want to answer longer questions. You should recruit the 1% to be your Page leaders, and have them run the weekly poll.

Q: How do you find student blogs?

TK: The short answer is it’s not easy right now. There are some directories like Technorati.com that sort by topic. You can also try Google and Twitter to do general searches. I’m a fan of asking people what blogs they follow as a way to find new blogs to read.

Q: What about the whole institution’s presence vs. the units within?

TK: If your institution has multiple Facebook Pages, it’s important to link between each other so that students can easily find the Facebook Page Department they are looking for. WVU has a page on their main website that links to all their Facebook Pages. Though harder, it’s also important to maintain the same voice across the different pages so the “brand” of the institution stays consistent.

Q: Is there such a thing as having too many Facebook/Twitter accounts at a single university? Our campus currently has one for the University, Student Affairs, IT, Campus Wellness, Basketball, Athletics, Baseball, Card Services, etc.

TK: No. Well, it depends.

Let’s start with two goals for a Page:

1) Relevancy of information

2) Sense of community.

So, if you have 35K students at your institution, then you’ll need to break the page down to smaller units because there will be too much noise and not enough relevant information in the new stream. But break it down too far and there won’t be enough people to build a sense of community to keep people coming back to the Page. Or if your institution is small, then it probably makes sense to have just one Page. The trick will be who within the school will run it. Ideally you’ll have multiple admins supporting the page.

Q: What information is the most important to display on your page?

TK: I wouldn’t make the Facebook Page be your main data page for your department. Instead, link back to your main website with additional details. I would make your contact info very noticeable, and on that note, if a student asks a questions, be quick to reply. If the same 10 questions come up over and over, you could do a FAQ section.

Q: How do you get people to join the page? What are some good promoting ideas?

TK: Contests, Polls, and Engagement, and over time your numbers will go up. There is no magic bullet. It does take time, so set your goals and work towards them one step at a time.

Q: How do you get Admin to buy into Facebook and student-driven content?

TK: It depends on their relationships with social media. If they’re against it in general, then you’ll need to do training on the topic so you can first change their minds and attitudes towards social media. If they are for the idea, then a mixture of both qualitative and quantitative data will go a long way. With quantitative data, the goal is to show numbers that drill back to data they care about (e.g. retention, engagement, student “happiness,” etc). With qualitative data, you can show screen shots of students who were positively impacted by your work with Social Media. This is a chance to show your Admin the social value of social media.

Q: How do you feel about using Facebook ads? Are they effective/necessary?

TK: No, not really. They aren’t very effective and not worth your time, unless you have money to burn 🙂

Q: How do you customize your Facebook page?

TK: There are lots of online guides to help you customize your Page. Do a quick Google search for “Top Tips for a Great Facebook Page” and you’ll get a nice list to work from.

Q: What is the best way to speak to different audiences—alumni, peer institutions, students—on the same Facebook page?

TK: This is just a limitation of Facebook Pages. You have one stream that goes out to all your audiences.

This concludes our recap. Till next time…

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