Social Media: An Overview
We all hear the term social
media used daily, but how it’s defined can change based on who you’re talking to. For
purposes of this web page and the resources below, we’re referring to
communication tools and strategies that utilize social networking and social
sharing platforms. The social media resources below can be utilized to create,
share and exchange information about your college access program and about the
realities of college attainment in our country.
The following summary is used with permission from the Michigan
College Access Network’s Communication Planning Toolkit (page 17).
Utilizing social media tools and
services is a college access program’s way to engage with your audiences in a
more personal connection. A college access program can use social media tools
to enhance traditional communication efforts, spur community conversation, and
promote upcoming events, tips and resources related to college access. Just
like traditional engagement tools, you must consider your audience before
selecting a social media tool.
Social media tools are constantly
changing. Whether it is a new social media tool that has gained popularity or
old, it is important you be familiar with social media tools available and
which are utilized by the audience(s) you intend to reach. If your college
access program chooses to adopt social media tools, it is important you
understand and build in the appropriate time to effectively manage your social
media presence. It is more important the organization implements one or two
social media tools well rather than dabbling in every tool that is popular.
95% of teens (12-17) use the
Internet and 81% of them use social media sites. Currently, Facebook, Twitter,
and Instagram are the most heavily adopted with 94% reporting they have a
Facebook profile, 26% using Twitter, and 11% utilizing Instagram (Source: Pew
Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 2013). Engage students
about where they want to go to school, what they are doing to get there and questions
or concerns they have.
The Department of Education
launched a new FAFSA completion initiative to give more Americans the
opportunity to afford, attend, and graduate from college. Social media was
utilized to support the initiative.
Social Media Editorial Calendar – The following resource is an example editorial calendar to plan
ahead the content you wish to share on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
FAFSA Completion Editorial Calendar – NCAN Member, Michigan College Access Network, developed this
calendar to ensure FAFSA completion was promoted on a weekly basis via Facebook and Twitter.
Thankful 4 Pell
NCAN encouraged member
organization to join the #Thankful4Pell campaign November 17 – 20, 2014.
Members were encouraged to share with the world – as well as Congress – the
importance of the Pell Grant to their community. Participants utilized
#Thankful4Pell and used a common profile photo within social networking
platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
One-Pager Example Posts - This
resource is an example one-pager with sample social media posts (all Twitter
The Reach Higher initiative is the First Lady’s effort to inspire every student
in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past
high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college,
or a four-year college or university. Social media is regularly utilized to
support the initiative.
#ReachHigher – The Reach Higher
initiative encourages individuals to take a photo in their college T-shirt and
Instagram it, Facebook it or Tweet it with the hashtag #ReachHigher during
National College Signing Day on May 1.
Follow @ReachHigher on Twitter
Follow @ReachHigher2020 on Instagram
American College Application Campaign
The American College Application
Campaign (ACAC) is a national effort to increase the number of first-generation
students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or
other higher education credentials. All 50 states and the District of Columbia
have embraced the national campaign to increase the number of college
applications completed by seniors. Social media is utilized to support the
campaign and encourage students to announce where they have applied.
#IApplied – Participating states
were encouraged to utilize the common hashtag #IApplied during their college
application campaigns. View this example from Michigan College Application