Social Media Doesn’t Take the Summer Off
Social Media Doesn’t Take the Summer Off
EACE Blog contribution by Rachel Wobrak, Program Director, University of Maryland’s University Career Center & The President’s Promise
By now, most college and university campuses are pretty quiet. Yes, some students take summer courses and orientation programs might be in full swing, but nowhere near the hustle and bustle of the fall semester. So what does this mean for our social media accounts? How do we engage students when they aren’t on our campuses? What should we be doing to prepare for the fall?
Engaging Students over the Summer:
While we don’t have as many students coming into our offices for appointments and we don’t hold as many workshops, events or fairs, we can still engage our students in thinking and talking about their career development/decisions. With social media we don’t need them to be in our office or even on our campus. We can reach them where they are with a Facebook post, Tweet, Instagram, Pinterest pin, blog post, etc.
Giving students a break from career-related posts for a few weeks is a good idea because you don’t want to bombard them with too much when they’re first enjoying their summer break. You’ve given them a chance to get settled in their summer plans. Now is a good time to find your way back onto their radar. Ask them where they are interning or working this summer. How is it going? What is/was their favorite summer job? Who is doing research? What projects are they working on? Where are they studying abroad? What do they like most about any of these given experiences? What challenges are they facing? This challenges question can be a good time to offer advice for how they can move past the challenge. You could send one time tweets asking these questions or even set up a lunch time tweet chat to talk about how internships and/or summer jobs are going. You can ask them to post selfies from their internship that you may shout out later. You could send out tips for being in the workplace or making the most out of an internship; Ideas on how to find a mentor, questions to ask, and important on the job etiquette. Now is also a great time to remind them to update their LinkedIn profile with whatever their summer plans entail and cultivate some of their connections. As the summer progresses, get them thinking and talking about what type of skills they are gaining from their summer experience and encourage them to seek out opportunities to gain skills they haven’t had a chance to work on. This can also be a time to remind students that your office is open should they need to come in for assistance or share the occasional inspiration quote. You might decide to advertise the social media platforms your offices use at Orientation sessions so new students can get involved early. This doesn’t have to be a particularly busy time for your social media accounts, but I would encourage you not to completely ignore them either. Maintain some of the momentum you gained over the school year, but remember to tone down the “advertising feel” so that you don’t come across as spam. This can be a time to encourage and remind students of your resources and that you’re there should they need assistance even if they’re away from campus.
Fall will be here soon enough:
September still seems awhile away, but as we all know it will be here soon enough. Just like we use some of the quiet time in the summer to plan and prepare for all the events the academic year will bring, you can use this time to prepare your social media accounts. You can plan your social media calendar now so that you’re not struggling to find the time to post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram during the busiest week of the semester. One quick Google search returns a number of different social media management sites. Hootsuite is arguably the most popular (see Malla Haridat’s blog post about Hootsuite from May), but others like SproutSocial, Crowdbooster and TweetDeck are out there too. We all have events we know are coming up each year, so start planning social media posts now. Schedule posts for upcoming fairs and events. Think about what tips, services or resources your students might be looking for around that time. For example: a week or so before a career fair you might choose to schedule posts/tweets about resume tips or availability of resume walk-in hours, etc. A week or so after a career fair you might want to start sharing interview tips. You can also plan general tips, advice and quotes to share throughout the semester. Share PDFs of posters for upcoming workshops, fairs or events. You can use this planning time to develop a fall marketing campaign that is less trouble to implement later when time inevitably seems to get away from us. The summer can also be a time to check existing content. Double check links on Pinterest are still current. If you’re struggling for ideas, do an informal focus group with your student staff or students you see over the summer. What type of content would they like to see in the fall? You can also use your students to help develop content their peers will enjoy. Maybe it’s a silly video about what not to do at a career fair that will catch their attention or a blog post about what they learned from their summer job/internship. The summer passes all too quickly, but if used wisely can be a chance to get ahead of the fall semester in all its craziness.
No matter what you choose to do with your social media accounts this summer, don’t neglect them!
Rachel Wobrak has been a Program Director at the University Career Center & The President’s Promise since 2010. She works with the College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences. She assists with the office’s social media presence by managing the Center’s Pinterest account. She’s a member of the EACE Technology Committee. Rachel has her MEd from the University of Florida in Student Personnel in Higher Education and her BA from the University of Maryland in Classics (proof you can find a great career with any major). Please feel free to connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.