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LSW#9: Pinterest as a Recommended Social Media Platform

March 19, 2013 3 comments

My authentic client, the CSU Department of History and Geography currently has a Facebook and Twitter account. In my report, I plan on advising the department as to how they can better utilize Facebook (not Twitter). In addition, I will recommend Pinterest as a second social media platform that they should begin to use. Pinterest use by universities and their various departments is fairly new and somewhat limited. Thus, it was difficult to find a lot of specific information as to posting frequency or other nuts and bolts advice. However, an article by Ryan Little, entitled “Colleges Try to Find Their Voice on Pinterest” provides an interesting analysis of how universities are using Pinterest to promote their school and what the responses have been. He notes that Pinterest should be used sparingly, i.e. don’t post every little thing to your board. In fact, he recommends that you should only post things that tell a story about your school or department and give others a feeling of what you are about and what you stand for. Aaron Jaco, writing for higheredlive.com, gives 5 reasons why colleges and universities should use Pinterest. He notes that Pinterest is easy to use and is low cost and low maintenance. Any SM platform recommendation to my authentic client must have these qualities, because professors do not typically have a lot of extra time in their day to spend on social media sites! Another bit of advice that I found useful, was in an article by Brendan Schneider. He recommends that 50% of the content that is pinned should come directly from the school’s website, so that more traffic is generated to the school than outside of it. I think this will be useful advice for CSU’s Department of History because they are located on the Riverpark Campus, and this might help connect history students with the rest of the university.

Word Count: 312

LSW8: Universities and Social Media Marketing

March 12, 2013 Leave a comment

In 2011, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth found that 100% of colleges and universities are using some form of social media, up from 61% in 2008. However, although schools might employ some of social media, not all are able to do so effectively. An article on mashable.com entitled “7 Ways Universities Are Using Facebook as a Marketing Tool” provides useful suggestions that my authentic client, the CSU Department of History and Geography, could possibly use. One suggestion is to use Facebook to show a virtual tour of your campus. The History Department is located on the Riverpark Campus, away from the main location. In order to attract new students, it might be helpful to have virtual tours of the History Department building and the surrounding area, which is very attractive and picturesque. Another useful suggestion that I found, in an article entitled “6 Best Practices For Universities Embracing Social Media” is that my authentic client should develop a consistent voice across its platforms. For example, if their Facebook site is serious and professional, then their Twitter feed should not be funny and playful or offbeat and sarcastic. Overall, according to an article by Charlie Osborne, the biggest mistake that universities make when using social media is not engaging with their students. This matches exactly with Orsburn’s book as well. The CSU Department of History and Geography will need to find ways to interact more with its current and prospective students in order to really gain the benefits of using social media. These two suggestions are a good place to start!

Word Count: 260

A Competitor’s Facebook Page: What Can It Tell Us?

February 19, 2013 1 comment

As a reference point for my authentic client, the CSU Department of History and Geograpy, I decided to look at the Facebook page for the Department of History at Georgia State University. I noticed that their facebook page has about the same amount of “traffic” as the Facebook page of my authentic client; incidentally, this is not a large amount. The administrator of the GSU Facebook page posts about as frequently as my authentic client: usually about three to four times per month. The posts all directly relate to the Department of History, whether by announcing upcoming events, recognizing achievements by faculty members, or drawing attention to significant historical dates as they occur on the new calendar year. Overall, I think this gives the impression of a professional academic environment.

A small number of people actually make comments or “like” these posts. Maybe one or two people, at the most. However, a post that included a photoshopped picture of one of the professors with a funny caption received fifteen “likes”, one comment, and two “shares”. It seems that humor and/or entertainment is appreciated by the group that actually follows this page. In fact, that was the only post that had a comment. Every other post was either “liked” or “shared”. It seems that they are mostly using this page as a way to disseminate information, rather than to create an online discussion. They are talking at their students, rather than talking with them, as Orsburn would say!

Word Count: 247

Social Media and Grammar: What is Appropriate?

February 14, 2013 1 comment

The world of online social media creates and supports creativity and spontaneity. However, too much creativity in language usage and mechanics, when it comes to comments or posts on social media websites, can be a bad thing. Liz Hubertz notes on her blog post “The Ultimate Social Media Grammar Guide“, that social communities like those on Twitter or Facebook are governed by unwritten rules of social ettiquette. She writes that from a business perspective, “subject-verb agreement is crucial, and there is a special place in the underworld reserved for brands that substitute numbers for words”. (“OMG, U 2?”)

These “unwritten rules” may be, just that… unwritten. However, in an attempt to gain a foothold as an authority on the topic, Yahoo! has published and released “The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, And Creating Content For The Digital World”. Unfortunately, the vast majority of social media users have not and will not read Yahoo’s style guide. Indeed, when it comes to basic grammar on social media websites, author Debra Donston-Miller notes the 11 Most Common Grammar Gaffes on Social Media including things like using an apostrophe to make a noun plural rather than to show possession, using “it’s” as a possessive pronoun, and even things as simple as beginning a sentence with a capital letter and ending it with some kind of punctuation. You know, stuff you learned in first grade!

Word Count: 233

Optimal Number of Posts

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

I think that the optimal number of social media posts per day is different for every business or organization. According to an article at Mashable.com, Facebook recommends that its business users do not overpost. They have found that it is better to focus on quality, rather than quantity. That being said, there does seem to be a “sweet spot” when it comes to social media posts. It is important that you don’t oversaturate your clients’ feeds, but you also need to post often enough so that they will actually see your posts and read your message.

My authentic client, the History and Geography Department at CSU, usually posts about 3 times per week. However, some days they will post 2 or 3 times, and then wait a week or so before posting further. After doing a bit of browsing, I noticed that other History Departments at universities across the country usually do the same thing. However, I noticed that the Department of History at the University of Birmingham posted every day on Twitter, a “today in history” series. I don’t think this is an effective way to reach out to current and prospective students. Although the posts are interesting, they are all of the same variety and do not have a personal appeal, in the sense that they do not directly refer to the department itself. This might be a cool thing to do once a week, maybe, but not every day.

Word count: 236

Authentic Client: The Department of History and Geography at Columbus State University

January 29, 2013 8 comments

My authentic client will be the Department of History and Geography at Columbus State University. I have chosen this client for two reasons. First, I have a vested interest in helping the department in general, as I am a history major, graduating in the fall, and planning on applying to the new Masters of Arts in History program. Second, the Department is small, is located on the River Park campus, and is losing money because of budget cuts. Basically, they need help!

History departments in universities around the country are experiencing a decline in students enrolled. Graduate programs, in particular, are suffering. According to an essay posted on the American Historical Association website, the number of tenure-track positions in history is declining, even as the number of PhDs conferred is rising. The article makes the case that many historians should recognize that there are other jobs available to PhD candidates, other than university teaching positions.

After doing a little research, I have noticed that many university departments use Facebook and Twitter. The History Department at CSU uses both. According to an article in US News and World Report, many graduate school applicants are using social media sites to gain “unfiltered insights on graduate school life” rather than going through the admissions office to gain this information. This analysis coincides with Osbern’s observation that a conversation is going on about an organization, whether or not they are aware of it!

Word count: 238

Group 1 Media Platform Preferences

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

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