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Student affairs professionals: Looking for social media examples for my book

Posted by reyjunco on July 11, 2013 in Commentary, Research |

Student affairs and social mediaStudent affairs professionals: I need your help for my next book, Engaging Students through Social Media: An Evidence-Based Approach for Student Affairs being published by Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

I’m looking for examples of how you are using social media in your functional areas. Successes and challenges are both welcome! Feel free to post your story in the comments section or send it privately to me via email by clicking here. Please indicate whether you would like to be identified or whether you would like for your contribution to remain anonymous.

Here are some questions to help frame what I’m looking for (note that I’m not looking for you to answer every question – they are just food for thought):

  1. What did you do? Which social media tool did you use? How did you use it? How did you get students to use it with you? How did you overcome departmental/division/institutional resistance, if any?
  2. What worked? How did students respond to the intervention? What did you do (if anything) to measure what worked?
  3. What didn’t work? What were the challenges you faced? Were there challenges you didn’t expect?
  4. What were the major takeaways?
  5. What advice would you give to others?

If I use your example and you choose to be identified, you’ll get credit in the chapter where the example appears and I’ll also list you in the acknowledgements.

Thanks!

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  • Josh Kohnert

    The last two spring breaks, myself and a few other colleagues took a group of students on an industry road trip around Michigan. Students were introduced to engineering companies, being in large cities as a young professional (where to live, what to do, etc.)

    Students were required to fill out a post assessment that was very reflective of the busy week. To help keep track of what they did, as well as introduce them to networking online, we had the students create Twitter accounts and used the hashtag #MIRoadTrip(Year) to capture their thoughts, take pictures, thank the companies we visited. We saw growth in engagement between the first and second year, which is always a great thing.

    The biggest challenge is accessibility to internet and to Twitter. At company visits, they can’t be on their phones because of the secret things we were seeing and the bus lacked wi-fi. I am interested to see engagement in future years as wi-fi becomes accessible to students when they have the time to use the technology.

    Biggest advice from this is when using any tool, teach it. It eliminates the assumption that students know how to use what you are asking them to use as well as sets the expectations you have.

    Students now use their Twitter to talk to me because they know it is the best way to communicate with me. They also continue to use it to connect with resources in their respective fields of study. We concluded the experience with a post trip meeting where LinkedIn was taught as well.

  • http://blog.reyjunco.com/ Rey Junco

    Hey Josh – thanks for sending this along. Can you tell me a little more about how students interacted? What were some of the benefits of using Twitter and the hashtag? In other words, what made you do it a second year?

  • Eric Heilmeier

    We use social technology for various purposes. From our various Unions to campus involvement. One place in which we have seen a significant growth in our social footprint is in Campus Information. We use our Twitter handle – in particular – to share information, follow other important groups and connect students with different departments.

    We also use Twitter to promote our blog series (Blue Prints Blog), which is written by our students and is either about a student org, university department, major events around campus or life in Ann Arbor. On average our blogs get over 630 views per post.

    This year, we started promoted the hashtag #askumich as a way for incoming orientation students to get information before or while on campus. It has also been a unique partnership with our “central” communications/social media team as they have been helping us monitor and manage the tag. e have also included other forms of of social technology including Tumblr, Instagram (photo & video), Facebook and online chat.

    One of the biggest takeaways was training. While most of our students were familiar with Twitter or Facebook, they didn’t know how to manage a professional account, or monitor a hashtag for response or write a blog, etc. This has been a fun task of teaching our students how to use some of these technologies, but also sitting back and letting them show us what they use most and what most students would connect with.

    I would love to talk more about this. Feel free to connect with me @e_heilmeier.

    Eric

  • http://blog.reyjunco.com/ Rey Junco

    Hi @ericheilmeier:disqus! Thanks for posting this. I would love to hear more about your #askumich hashtag and how that has worked with students, but also of how the partnership with central communications has worked. I’d also love to learn more about how you are teaching students how to use social technologies. Going to @reply you on Twitter now :)

  • http://blog.reyjunco.com/ Rey Junco

    Thanks for your post, @disqus_1krk7z6DCt:disqus! I’m particularly interested in learning the details of how you are using Twitter in Campus Rec – so far, you’d be my only example in that functional area and it would be interesting to see if your interactions with students translate into healthier behaviors (although I’m guessing those who interact with you might already be the ones you are trying to reach). Going to go @reply you on Twitter to see if we can chat more about this.

  • Sarah Honeychurch

    We use Facebook groups in order to support our students – I’ve sent you an email about it :-)

  • Jenna Condie

    Hi Rey, we are using a ‘rotation curation’ approach to our Twitter account @salfordpsych, every week a different person from the psychology department curates the account, including staff and students. There’s more about it on our blog here: http://hub.salford.ac.uk/salfordpsych/community/we-are-all-salfordpsych/ As far as I am aware, we are the only department to manage our twitter account in this way and hand the reins over to students. I hope it catches on!

  • Josh Sarver

    Hello Rey Junco,

    I am currently performing undergraduate research with the Purdue Department of Computer and Information Technology. Our main focus is to determine the benefits of using social media as a recruitment/retention tool for undergraduate students.

    We’ve developed a presence on Facebook (page), Twitter (@PurdueCIT), and Google+ to engage with students and promote the departments interesting research, faculty honors, alumni endeavors, and related news from the computer and information technology industry. We manage our social media through Hootsuite, a social media aggregate tool.

    It is our hope that these social media will help us reach students on the Web in a way that they are already accustomed to. Our social media pages are a place where students can connect with peers, faculty, and alumni, ask questions, and participate in creating a culture of engagement within the department. Additionally, we feel this could be an opportunity to reach out to high schools to find prospective students and increase the department’s recruitment capability.

    Specifically in terms of recruitment, we are measuring the department’s total freshman applications, admissions, and yield after the implementation of the social media and comparing it with years before the implementation. We also hope to survey students to determine their level of exposure to certain recruitment strategies and the influence those strategies had on their decision to enroll.

    So far in my independent research, I’ve found it difficult to determine the success of motivating the students to engage with the social media. This is primarily because of the method of identification through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Aside from explicitly asking, it is hard to discern whether the person we are engaging with is a current or prospective student, what year they are, etc.

    Overall, the major takeaway for me has been that the free (or relatively inexpensive) nature of social media and the enormous potential audience makes a compelling argument for it’s utility. Strategically, every moment a university or department does not have a presence on the major social media outlets is another opportunity lost.

  • http://blog.reyjunco.com/ Rey Junco

    Thanks Josh. We should meet up on campus sometime.

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