Karine Joly No Comments

rachel_reubenRachel Reuben, Principal at RRC, is one of the 12 presenters of the 3rd Higher Ed Social Media Conference.

In this 3-question interview, Rachel tells us how she manages social media, shares a surprising social media outcome and tackles the tough ROI question.

1) How do you manage your activity on social media?

I tend to check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram each morning, and then maybe a couple of times during the day, and again in the evening. This is a drastic shift from a few years ago, when I was far more active, especially on Twitter. I’ve long since let go the days of feeling the need to go back and read every single Facebook entry and tweet since the last time I was on the networks.

I use TweetDeck and have several private lists set up to categorize those I follow into core areas of interest for me, and which lists I visit and read will depend on the time of day and what is going on in the news. I also have several searches set up in other columns to track other key conversations and hashtags.

2) What’s the most surprising social media outcome you’ve experienced this year? What did you learn?

Just slightly over a year ago, I had never heard of YikYak before. Then exactly one year ago, it suddenly became our main source of information for a week-long sit-in/demonstration in our admission lobby. YikYak seemed to come out of nowhere and gained immediate popularity – so much so on the campus that I previously worked, that there wasn’t much, if any, usage of Twitter to monitor. YikYak completely took over, and it was ugly. I don’t know how they got “out there” so fast and why this caught on so quickly with college students, but apparently the appeal of being anonymous won them over. It has certainly revealed a whole segment of students who did not feel comfortable sharing certain topics, such as racism, in other social media or campus-provided counseling venues.

At first we only used it as a “heads up” listening outlet. In the months following, we realized there are benefits to posting by members of the student affairs staff, such as the dean of students, with his/her initials, letting students know they have support, that they have resources. Most recently there were two student deaths, and the university was to connect with the parents and discuss with them before releasing news. Meanwhile, the news started spreading on YikYak, so an administrator posted (with their initials) that they promise a message is coming, that they’re working with the parents. So, it has end up becoming a way – during very special cases, where it can be a two-way dialogue.

3) How do you approach the question of return on investment (ROI) when it comes to social media?

There are many quantitative and qualitative ways to measure ROI of social media efforts. Nearly all of the tools have some kind of insights or statistics to quantitatively should how many likes, favorites, comments, RT’s, views, etc. each post has had. Advertising on the various social media platforms also provides a great many metrics to track effectiveness of ads. In addition, Google Analytics for your website provides a wealth of data, and it’s important to track how much traffic you’re pushing to your .edu website via social media, and which platforms are pushing the most quality traffic.

Qualitatively, it’s important to also track sentiments — which right now primarily has to be done manually by an actual human being. Using anecdotal comments provides a richness to feedback (free market research!). However, it’s important to realize these limited comments don’t necessarily represent the full population, but they will gives you some insights, and is a great listening platform, which is another way to track ROI.

Higher Ed Social Media Conference

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