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Top 5 Higher Education Social Media Trends in 2012

At Eduvantis we are constantly monitoring social media trends in order to provide our clients with a clear understanding of how to leverage social networks and use them to gain a competitive advantage. Social media and online communications are evolving rapidly and are increasingly complex, so we focus on providing clarity for the decision making process. Through a rigorous analysis of social media strategies from both inside and outside of higher education, we are able to sort through the clutter and give our clients the information that can help them be more competitive.

Based on our research and monitoring we have compiled our top 5 higher education social media trends for 2012. Institutions should focus on integrating these ideas into their social media discussions and strategies next year. Embrace these and your institution will be one step ahead of the competition.

1. Social Media Metrics and ROI – In 2012, as the stakes get higher and competition more intense, institutions will need to focus on strategic social media management and using hard metrics to measure social media ROI. Over the past few years, institutions have been experimenting with different tactics and measuring value in followers and “likes”, but as more institutions develop strategic social media plans that connect directly to their core business goals, creativity will no longer be enough.

2. The Social Campus – All of the social interactions surrounding your institution are part of your “social campus”.  The content sharing, tweeting, re-tweeting, “likes”, and posts are connecting your institution’s stakeholders. In order to grow and foster engagement within these communities the “social campus” needs to be managed strategically. This task goes beyond social media management that is often tactically based, because the conversations extend across channels, platforms, and even offline. Think of all the online connections at your institution as the foundation of your “social campus” and find strategic ways to support and utilize those connections.

3. Social Media Community Leaders – As more stakeholders engage in online conversations, it will be critical for institutions to empower students and key stakeholders to manage and support online communities. Leveraging the power of these key stakeholders (alumni, current students, and faculty) will help manage volume as well as quality – allowing key stakeholder groups to connect with others in similar positions.

4. Location, Location, Location – In 2012 there will be more connections between online and the physical campus. The role of location based platforms have just started to make an impact in higher education, but institutions are still struggling with how to utilize location based social media applications like Foursquare. Location based applications let students interact directly with your physical campus through their mobile devices. Geo-location will continue to become more of a driver on campuses as physical campuses are connected to the “social campus”. Gowalla, another location based application was recently acquired by Facebook, so expect Facebook to further develop their location based services. Check out foursquare for universities by clicking here.

5. Learning Management and Social Media – In 2012, learning management systems like Blackboard and OpenClass will continue to develop social media and social integration capabilities. Content sharing, collaboration, and online learning initiatives will be driven through these platforms and will integrate with an institution’s “social campus”.  Finding ways to strategically leverage these connections will strengthen not only an institution’s online communities, but also its core learning platforms.