The Digital Marketing Series is backed by HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company located in Cambridge, Mass., which makes a full system of marketing software, including social press management tools. For colleges, deciding to use public mass media is a no-brainer. The 18- to 24-year-old college student demographic is all over the social web, and its own more youthful counterpart (the senior high school masses) is equally immersed. Alumni, far-removed and recent, use social networks to engage and stay linked with the global world. Community members, parents of students, potential donors, faculty and staff and other constituents are just a tweet or “like” away.

With so many key populations embracing cultural media, colleges almost haven’t any choice but to integrate these platforms to their marketing and communications plans. Already, many schools have leveraged social media in a huge way. In fact, a recent research showed an incredible 100% of universities have a cultural media presence.

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While many academic institutions experience great success with social media, others get their attempts off the ground never. Strategies flop and accounts fail to gain the viral following that was hoped for, resulting in dormant pages or less-than-thriving online communities. Here are six guidelines for universities seeking to build effective social mass media engagement.

Before diving head-first into sociable media, take the right time to determine a strategy. What type of content do you want to deliver? How often do you want to post content, and where will it come from? What populations shall you aim to engage? Consider resources, too, such as staffing and budget. Who will be accountable for posting content and engaging the grouped community?

Define your goals, as well. What do you desire to accomplish with your cultural media activity? Because there are hundreds of social media systems out there doesn’t indicate your school needs a presence on all of them. Go for quality over volume. Why is sense with your strategy? If you are planning to develop a close-knit community for a subset of engaged alumni, maybe look at Ning – a system with the efficiency to accomplish these goals.

If you are going to post lots of campus videos, a YouTube or Vimeo channel would be worthwhile maybe. Choose a mixture of platforms which complement one another and help you accomplish your goals. Be sure not to overlook niche sites, which are lesser known but might offer precisely what you need.