Story by Kerry Whitsett '07 & '12
University Marketing Communications, SFA Social Media Specialist
Social media has become an essential communication tool in higher education. What once functioned mainly as a resource to find fellow classmates and connect with far-away family members has now grown into a critical communication source used to network with audiences from all walks of life. Billions of people worldwide are addicted, and that addiction is being fed by the development of more and more platforms.
While seeing baby photos on Facebook or what someone made for dinner on Instagram is commonplace, the necessary social distancing associated with COVID-19 has brought even more people into the social media fold. It has not been uncommon during the past year to share the location of stores that have toilet paper on the shelves or identify friends who are binge-watching "Tiger King."
In their search for information, people use social media to connect with universities, and SFA participates in several platforms to showcase everything Lumberjack. News, upcoming events, course registration, alumni happenings, accolades and many other topics are shared with our friends on social media.
Though it has been in existence for years, the way people use social media is ever-evolving, and SFA's social media team diligently works to ensure it is delivering relevant messages and information to our audiences. While a post "going viral" is great, it cannot be predicted. SFA's social media team concentrates on providing a steady stream of engagement with SFA's audiences, and to accomplish this we tailor the content for each platform, often planning posts days in advance.
While the latest dance craze may go over well on TikTok, our Facebook audience is generally more interested in learning about new developments at SFA or gazing at a photo of our beautiful campus. Lumberjacks on Instagram want to see what students are doing and like to catch up with Twiggy, a "famous" squirrel that lives just outside SFA's Ferguson Building. By crafting messages for each audience and platform, we can maintain the high level of engagement for which SFA's social media is known.
In recent years, SFA's main social media channels have ranked in the top 10% among universities for overall consistent, steadily engaging content, and in 2020, SFA was ranked among the top three Texas universities by Rival IQ, a social media analytics company.
Although an initial post is generated by the university's marketing team to communicate with followers, the communication is not one way. Followers often engage with us, asking questions, commenting on the post, etc. The social media team follows up by answering questions, congratulating new students when they post about their acceptance to SFA or their graduation, sharing pictures of alumni-related events and reassuring parents who may be missing their student.
Whatever your age or affiliation with SFA, whether it be a graduate, current or prospective student, parent or friend of the university, we have at least one social media channel that will appeal to you. And, although SFA has its official university platforms, many colleges, schools, departments, offices, etc. on campus also have their own social media accounts they use to share information particular to that area.
If you're not already following us on social media, I encourage you to do so. In general, we make one post daily on each platform. We love our social media audiences, and we hope you will "like" us, too!