New Findings Presented on Social Media Use in Higher Education

September 17, 2012

At the CASE Summit for Advancement Leaders in Washington D.C. this summer, Cheryl Slover-Linett co-presented findings from our third annual study of how colleges and universities use social media tools to foster productive relationships with prospective students, alumni, and other key constituents. The report is now available online.

Building on earlier studies from 2010 and 2011, we partnered again with communications strategy firm mStoner and CASE (the Council for Advancement and Support of Education) to ask higher ed professionals about their social media initiatives in areas such as admissions, alumni relations, communications, and fundraising. This year, the study set out to put a sharper focus on how respondents define and measure success, asking about specific social media tools, practices and tactics that help institutions achieve their desired outcomes.

A record 1,100 respondents provided feedback during January and February of 2012. The results indicate that most higher education advancement, admissions and marketing professionals have fully embraced social media as a key communication tool and are eager to stay ahead of the curve as technologies continue to evolve. The rise of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will undoubtedly be followed by new waves of tools and channels that haven’t been invented yet, and respondents want to be ready to embrace them as soon as they become significant.

The firm's president, Cheryl Slover-Linett, notes that social media is an area that few higher education professionals feel they know well, in part because the landscape is changing so fast. “Our study, though it’s just a drop in the bucket of information about social media usage by institutions and audiences, really helps university leaders see where the field is going and how they fit in with current trends. Many of them tell us the most valuable aspect of the study is the opportunity to benchmark their institution against their peers.”

The white paper, "Social Media Advancement: Insights from Three Years of Data," summarizes this year's findings and has just been released. The topline summary of the 2012 findings is available here as is the presentation, "Succeeding with Social Media 2012."

For more information about our CASE social media survey or our other research work in higher ed, please contact Cheryl Slover-Linett by email.

Category: Higher education

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