How Colleges are Using Social Media

Universities and Colleges are using social media to engage their current students, prospective students, and alumni.  I was recently speaking at the National College Learning Center Association conference in Niagra Falls and really dove into what is working for colleges.

For the learning centers, Facebook Groups are a good place to engage students but they can also use different avenues to keep in touch with the students and tutors that are working in those learning centers.

In this post you’ll see some examples of the types of posts that are working for colleges and universities on social media, some tips on how to make the most out of the platforms, and some tools that can make your job easier.

Choose a Platform that Works for you

In this example, North Central College posted the same video clip on both Facebook and Instagram.  On Facebook, the post had 40 engagements and on Instagram it had 184.  That’s not to say you should ONLY do one vs the other but it can be a way to focus your efforts into the platform that is working better for you..

Instagram vs Facebook for colleges


Creative Instagram Stories and Highlights

Jacksonville University has a great example of Stories and Highlights on Instagram.  They go through a tour, a day in the life, orientation and more.


Creative Instagram Stories Jacksonville

Instagram Stories Jacksonville


Using Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are key for many schools.  There so many possibilities of Facebook Groups to create.  And if the college or university isn’t creating them, then they may be created by someone else.  So it’s better to have those more under your control.

Here are some ideas for possible Facebook Groups:

  • Students
  • Parents
  • Tutors
  • Alumni
  • Large Student groups and clubs

And now you can connect the Group to the Page so it’s more visible and easier to find.

Facebook Groups CU Boulder


You can even have sub-groups within Groups.


Facebook Subgroups Berkley

To link a Group to your Page, you must be an admin of both the Page and the Group.

Link the Facebook Group to your Page


Department Focused Facebook Pages

Some colleges are using department-focused Facebook Pages to get the word out about the news in that department.  That can work well but you do need to make sure you have enough regular content to keep your audience engaged.

Share content from other Pages, schedule content out, and have images that highlight what is going on in that department.

Facebook Pages for Departments


Creating Engaging and Fun Content

A big question that always comes up is how to find content to share.  Watch posts from students and alumni by monitoring hashtags and then ask if you can share their content on your profiles.

University of Michigan has a photo of the week and CU Boulder did credit the person who posted this image.

People are on social media to have a little fun so you have to mix in humor!  And of course any time you can post about dogs and babies you are probably winning.

Using Humor CU Boulder

Photo of the week Michigan

Inspirational content is also a good thing to share.  Feature alumni and talk about the good things that they are doing.

Inspiring Content Wartburg


Sharing Learning Tips

Learning and study tips are perfect as well but you can make them more personal by interviewing the teachers and students in video or just compile them into a post.


Learning Tips


Using Video and Facebook Live

Facebook Video gets more Reach and Engagement than other Page Posts – especially Facebook Live Video.  Use a tool like (shown here) to interview students and alumni.

Interview students MUA

Dartmouth has a great Twitter account and posted a commencement speech by Fred Rogers and then linked to their site with the full speech.  Great use of video on Twitter.

Video on Twitter Dartmouth


Responding on Social Media

Sometimes schools approach social media as more of a 1-way conversation and don’t respond to comments or posts.  But Smith College has a little fun with their followers.

Have a social media policy in place so that your followers, students, and faculty all know what is appropriate on social media and when content may be removed or followers banned.

Engage with audience Smith College


Using Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads may not be as widely used at the College or University level but they can be a good way to get in front of your audience and re-engage them.

You can now see any ads that any Facebook Page is currently running by looking at the Info and Ads section of their Facebook Page.

Facebook ads can be good for school news, important updates, or recruiting new students.

Facebook Ads Harvard


Track Your Social Media Metrics

With any marketing effort, it’s important to know what you are tracking and set some goals.

Some metrics that might be important to colleges are:

  • Engagement – how much are people interacting with the posts and which posts are most engaging
  • Growth – are you getting more followers
  • Clicks to website – are you driving traffic from social media to the important posts and news on your website

Track social media metrics


Within Facebook Groups you can look at the number of Active members which will tell you the health of your group.

Active Members of Facebook Groups


Use Social Media Tools to Make Your Job Easier

Social media can feel time consuming.  But when you can create a content calendar and schedule your posts, you free up the “daily grind” of wondering what to post on social media.

One of my favorite tools is Agorapulse.  I can easily schedule content out and repeat it at regular intervals if needed and then also have all my mentions and comments on all the platforms go into one central “Inbox”.  Now I can easily reply to everything I need to in just a couple minutes.

Agorapulse scheduling

Another tool I love is Animoto for video.  You can create easy videos from images and edit video clips.



And then of course one of my favorite tools for images is Canva.  I use it all the time to add text to images, create blog post images, and Facebook ad images.



So I hope that inspires you if you are using social media for a College, University, or any type of school.  Create content that is interesting, watch only the metrics that matter to you, and use social media tools to make your job easier.

I also found this post after I was doing my research but found it inspiring:  15 Best Colleges and Universities to Follow on Social Media.

How about you, have you seen a College or University using social media well?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

For more examples and tips, make sure you download my e-book:  50 Facebook Posts Guaranteed to Engage Your Audience!