This great post by Ron Bronson wanted me to talk a little more about a slide I use in several presentations, dealing with your .edu website vs. social media. One line in particular that stood out to me in Ron’s post is:
But using social networks can’t be viewed as a panacea, instead, we need to establish why we’re using them and adhere to that purpose.
Before you establish why you’re using social networks, I’d encourage you to first take a look at your foundation.
As a homeowner, you want to make sure your house has a solid foundation. If you build on a bad one, you might be alright in the short run but you’re as good as done over time. No one wants to build on a bad foundation, and your social media efforts should be no different.
I always use this slide in presentations before diving into the ‘fun stuff’. Why? Because without a solid website, you’re like the homeowner who’s building on sand. Schools are using social media to essentially have new avenues to reach out to people, connect with them, be a part of the conversation, and build that relationship. But are they applying to your school there? Are they asking for more information? Are they giving a donation? For most schools, no (and I would say… not yet, but soon). For most colleges and universities, you are using these tools, but the end goal is to get them to take action on your website.
Here’s the point: You can do the coolest stuff on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube, but if the student gets to your site and can’t figure out how to apply or get more information, you have failed. Make sure your .edu website is solid. In most cases, it is… but a little usability testing can go a long way. (PS – you can do it with $10 and 10 minutes.) Do the little things now and you’ll succeed in the long run.
How’s your foundation?