Presentation on theme: "Lindsey Pfleger Northwestern University May 28, 2014"— Presentation transcript:
1 Lindsey Pfleger Northwestern University May 28, 2014 Social Media and Student Affairs: Like Us, Follow Us, Tweet Us, Talk To UsLindsey PflegerNorthwestern UniversityMay 28, 2014
2 Research QuestionWhat can Research 1 University's Student Affairs Division learn from their social media practices?
3 Introduction/Background Many if not all accepted student engagement and involvement theories pre-date social media, and it has been questioned whether or not it will support such student engagement and involvement (Davis, 2013; Junco, 2011).“Can social media technology offer what lies at the core of such theoretical frameworks, which is the linking of individuals with common interests in a community of shared experience to achieve desired student academic and career outcomes” (Davis, 2013, p.20)?Social media and higher education is currently an under researched field
4 Introduction/Background Growing in popularity due to the vast amount of data that can be gathered and shared at such a low costIt can “open a number of opportunities for practice, policy, and research to gain new insights with fewer barriers to accessing large quantities of potentially meaningful data“ (Davis, 2013, p.20)“The rapid development of information and communication technologies has sparked the creative incorporation of social media into current pedagogical applications and processes” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1).Social media has many web-based tools and services that are meant to promote community development and collaboration by sharing information. (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Arnold & Paulus, 2010; Junco, Helbergert, & Loken, 2011).
5 Introduction/Background “Universities began using social media about 7 years ago (Barnes & Nescault, 2011). Now, 100% of 4 year accredited institutions have a Facebook page (Barnes & Nescault, 2011).Research has shown that social media has been linked to increased student engagement. (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Annetta, Minogue, Holmes, & Cheng, 2009; Chen, Lambert, & Guidry, 2010; Junco, 2012a; Junco et al., 2011; Patera, Draper, & Naef, 2008).It has also been shown to increase learning and develop peer connections. (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Fewkes & McCabe, 2012; Heafner & Friedman, 2008; Jackson, 2011; Liu, Liu, Chen, Lin & Chen, 2011; Nelson Laird & Kuh, 2005; Yu, Tian, Vogel, & Kwok, 2010).
6 Introduction/Background Wankle and Wankle’s “Higher Education Administration with Social Media, Including Applications in Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, Alumni Relations and Career Center.” explains how student affairs professionals vary on their position regarding the use of social media in their current practices, some believe it could contribute to student success and student integration, while others fear it may have more negative consequences (Wankel &Wankel, 2011).To do social media right, student affairs needs to invest time and resources into developing a social media strategy (Wankle &Wankle, p.215). It is critical that the student affairs social media plan aligns with the divisions’ strategy plan.One of the most highly regarded researchers from the field of higher education and social media, Rey Junco, just put out a call to Student Affairs to provide examples of their social media for his new research project (Junco, 2013).
7 Literature Review Domains Social Media and Higher EducationSocial Media’s Role in College Student EngagementSocial Media and Student AffairsSocial Media Best practices in Higher Education
8 Social Media and Higher Education Social media itself refers to “web-based and mobile applications that allow individuals and organizations to create, engage, and share new user-generated or existing content, in digital environments through multi-way communication”Examples of the social media platforms that universities use are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Google +, Instagram, and blogs (Tumblr).“Social media use has increased in recent years across all age levels. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that although 73% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 use social media, the rates of social media use are even higher (83%) for young adults between the ages of 18 and 29” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1).
10 Social Media and Higher Education: Collaborative Learning Social media can potentially support collaborative learning.“Collaborative learning is characterized by student interactions and connections with course content” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, p.1).Social media allows a different way for students to receive information and interact with staff and each other regarding various areas of campus life.Social media expands learning and connectedness out of the class environment and campus environment. (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Chen & Bryer, 2012; Friesen & Lowe, 2012; Wodzicki, Schwämmlein, & Moskaliuk, 2012).“Students can also use social media to research content material in order to develop new knowledge” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1). In student affairs, it can be used as a search tool for students researching information about campus life and various areas of student affairs.
11 Social Media and Higher Education: Collaborative Learning Students who actively engage online can feel more connected to the content and staff.“Active engagement and establishment of virtual relationships through social media offers opportunities…encouraging students to build on established connections with other sources beyond the classroom” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1).“Students who use social media feel connected to peer groups, because they have someone to ask for help or to share their problems with.”Social media can also provide a space for students, who are intimidated in a large group setting, to participate (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Arnold & Paulus, 2010; Junco et al., 2011; Rambe, 2008).
12 Social Media and Higher Education: Collaborative Learning “By collaborating with peers on a given topic, social media offers opportunities to develop a stronger sense of community among students,” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1).The ability to personalize social media with pictures and profiles can also increase the sense of community (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Arnold & Paulus, 2010; Stevens, 2009).“This personalization, coupled with the critical examination of course topics, supports an authentic relationship between students by encouraging openness and sharing of information, which also increases students’ perceived learning” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1).
13 Social Media and Higher Education: Challenges Staff and faculty often fail to realize this and provide correct supports necessary to facilitate student learning and understanding of these web-based tools (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Cole, 2009; Väljataga & Fiedler, 2009).Although it seems beneficial for creating and disseminating knowledge, social media can also become a privacy concern (i.e. cyber-plagiarism) as well as an outlet for abuse and cyber-bullying” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1). There should be guidelines, policies and standards of behavior similar to that is enforced in off-line campus life.Educators think positively of using social media in the classroom, but admit they do not know how to effectively use it. (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013: An & Reigeluth, 2012; Fewkes & McCabe, 2012; Heafner & Friedman, 2008). The same thing is likely to be found in regard to student affairs professionals. Many do not understand the time constraints that can be involved in utilizing social media in some practices and not in others (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Hur & Oh, 2012).
14 Social Media and Higher Education: Challenges “Educational institutions must also consider the financial and policy commitments involved with adopting social media” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1).Administrators need to include social media in their assessments and evaluations of programs and learning outcomes (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Annetta et al., 2009; Heafner & Friedman, 2008; Hur & Oh, 2012).Administrators also need to take current policies into consideration and make any changes or additions necessary to accommodate social media practices (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; Chen & Bryer, 2012; Frye et al., 2010; Jackson, 2011; Smailes & Gannon- Leary, 2011).Administrators should address the financial responsibilities of implementing social media practices by ensuring proper equipment, access, and training are available to staff and educators as well (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013; An & Reigeluth, 2012; Fewkes & McCabe, 2012; Heafner & Friedman, 2008; Hur & Oh, 2012; Patera et al., 2008; Stevens, 2009)
15 Social Media and Higher Education: Benefits Social media should be used by student affairs professionals to:Increase student engagementBetter student outcomesBuild trust and openness with studentsCreate a collaborative learning environment in which students and staff are equal participants in sharing knowledge and building community.
16 Social Media and Student Engagement In Higher Education “Over the past decade, there has been a growing public fascination with the phenomenon of connectedness” (Davis et al., 2012, p.1). Society is able to achieve this connectedness through social media and social networking sites.Social media is redefining how individuals create ties with other individuals as well as how individuals establish relationships with the organizations that serve them“ (Davis et al., 2012, p.1).It is reshaping the way college students communicate within their community.Other than being just a way to connect to with one another, “college students are using social media to connect, to create and consume content, to use and generate applications, and thus to experience college in both real and virtual or online communities” (Davis et al., 2012, p.1).
17 Social Media and Student Engagement In Higher Education “The construct of student engagement is defined as the time and effort students invest in educational activities that are empirically linked to desired college outcomes and encompasses various factors, including investment in the academic experience of college, interactions with faculty, involvement in co-curricular activities and interaction with peers” (Junco, 2011).Two important features of student engagement are “the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities”, and “how the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities that decades of research studies show are linked to student learning” (Junco, 2011).Kuh (2007) tells us “student engagement data often point to aspects of student and institutional performance that a college or university can address almost immediately to improve the quality of the student experience” (p.12).Colleges and student affairs can employ the data gathered from social media to improve the student experience and increase student engagement.
18 Social Media and Student Engagement In Higher Education . “The obvious fascination college students have with social media has caused some colleges to engage enthusiastically with social media as a strategy to gain more exposure for their institution, promote their campuses…and help current students become more engaged with their classes and extracurricular activities” (Davis et al., 2012, p.12).Many if not all accepted student engagement and involvement theories pre-date social media, such as: Student persistence (Astin, 1984; Tinto, 1975, 1987, 1993; Pascarella, 1986; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991, 2005), engagement and involvement (Astin, 1984; Kuh, 2001, 2003; Kuh et al., 2008), and social and academic integration (Tinto, 1975, 1987, 1993) that were developed on the premise that increased engagement, involvement, and connection and belonging with the academic and social realms of the campus community will lead to higher achievement, retention, and eventual degree attainment (Davis, 2013, p.20).
19 Social Media and Student Affairs Social media can be “useful for students forming new weak tie relationships and students identify groups and individuals with whom they might wish to associate… Student affairs professionals might be able to use some features to help students identify relevant groups, activities, and shared interests” (Wankel &Wankel, 2011, p.16).Connections formed in these social media groups can allow students create meaningful networks, which can lead to a stronger commitment with the university as a whole (Wankel &Wankel, 2011).“However, student affairs professionals should also make certain that freshman have opportunities to engage socially offline as well, as offline engagement seems to be vital for the development of communication skills” (Wankel & Wankel, 2011). It is important to provide offline as well online engagement, so students do not rely solely on online engagement
20 Social Media and Student Affairs Student affairs must keep in mind to use caution when connecting and engaging with students through social media and remember that most of the research conducted about social media and higher education has been for traditional students (Wankel &Wankel, 2011). They must keep in mind the non-traditional students as wellMost importantly, “Student affairs professionals should become aware of the ways that students engage with social networking sites in order to leverage opportunities for furthering student integration while remaining aware of the limitations for community building that social networking sites present” (Wankel &Wankel, 2011, p.2).To do social media right, student affairs needs to invest time and resources into developing a social media strategy (Wankle &Wankle, p.215). It is critical that the student affairs social media plan aligns with the divisions’ strategy plan. Student affairs should also follow best practices in higher education when creating their strategic social media plan.
21 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education The leading company in social media management and consulting, Salesforce.com, released a report detailing the best practices in social media for higher education.Data for the report was collected from various schools: DePaul University, Florida International University, George Mason University, Kansas State University, Northwestern University – Feinberg School of Medicine, Seattle University, University of Texas – Austin, Washington University in St. Louis (SF, 2013).These best practices cover what student affairs professionals and universities will need to sustain a social media strategy, how to identify the audience, how to define objectives, social media listening, engagement tactics, content creation, and how to assess social media efforts (SF, 2013; OSU, 2014; Wiens, 2012; Klamm, 2011).
22 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education First important piece of the social media strategy is to build a social media teamSocial media manager: responsible for achieving the social media goals set by leadershipCommunity managers: ones delivering the content and will be the face and voice of the brand (SF, 2013). They will be the ones who communicate with the community as well by “reaching out to influencers, answering questions, and dealing with complaints. They’ll also be the first responders in a crisis” (SF, 2013, p.4).Social strategist/strategists: working to collect and analyze data, assess achievement of objectives, and suggest additional effective ways to engage (SF, 2013).Content Creators: write blog posts, ad copy, Facebook status updates and ebooks. Others can shoot video, snap photos, or record your podcast (SF, 2013, p.5).Other people who can contribute to creating content include, but are not limited to students, alumni, faculty and community, those who are passionate content contributors will help to tell the department’s or university’s story (SF, 2013, p.5).Content Producers: handle the design and technical side of producing content. They edit photos, video and other digital assets to ensure highest quality, and they can package it all according to individual channel specifications, like file size, dimensions or orientation (SF, 2013, p.5).
23 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education In the case of smaller offices and departments, people can take on one or more of the roles listed above, for many of these SA offices it would be expected that people would take on multiple roles.It is also a good idea to create a social media council (formal or informal), which would be overseen by the SA Marketing office. The social media manager from each individual office could be a member of the social media council.Social Media Council Responsibilities1. Creating and updating social media policies and guidelines for employees2. Providing clear direction on how employees should integrate their personal social media activities into their professional life3. Approving the creation of new social media channels (and preventing duplication of effort and unnecessary proliferation of pages and accounts)4. Ensuring consistent branding and messaging across all channels5. Identifying, testing and approving third-party tools, such as social media monitoring platforms and social media management tools6. Coordinating the adoption of social media tools with other systems,7. Including customer relationship management and marketing automation (often in conjunction with IT)8. Sharing social media best practices and success stories internally, working with Legal, HR and IT to integrate social media policies with existing company policies9. Creating core materials for social media presences and campaigns that can be modified and localized for reuse by other parts of the organization
24 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education It is of upmost importance to create social media policy, if there is not one in place it could lead to potential disaster (SF, 2013; Dean 2013).“Rules and guidelines so staff can be confident about engaging without doing lasting damage to your brand” (SF, 2013, p.6).Policy Guidelines1. A statement that the organization’s broader ethical guidelines also apply to social media2. Reminders of individual responsibility and liability, reminder that staff must post disclaimers that they do not speak for the organization3. Disclosure of affiliation with the organization when posting, respect for copyright and fair use laws4. Honoring the confidentiality of proprietary or internal information, prohibitions on hate speech, ethnic slurs, and privacy and discretion reminders
25 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education Determining the audience is key to having a successful social media strategy (SF, 2013; OSU, 2014; Wiens, 2012; Klamm, 2011).“The first step to identifying your target audience is uncovering the various demographics, lifestyles, interests, geographic locations and values of your audience segments. The next step? Understanding them” (SF, 2013). Social media efforts will be “unfocused and ineffective” without this information (SF, 2013).Audience Information1. How do they seek information?2. How do they use social media?3. Which social networks do they use? What life decisions are they struggling to make?4. What challenges or problems are they trying to solve?5. What are their “dealbreakers” – the factors big enough to repel them from your social media site?6. What are they reading? Watching? Listening to?
26 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education “Tie your social media goals to your organization’s goals” (SF, 2013, p.11).It should not just be measured based on reach.Example objectives include raising awareness, reducing marketing costs, increase attendance, foster community and culture, attract talent, and gather feedback for improvement (SF, 2013; OSU, 2014; Wiens, 2012; Klamm, 2011).These goals and objectives should be SMART: sspecificmeasurableattainablerealistictime-bound
27 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education “Effective social media listening involves filtering all those conversations using relevant keywords and key phrases to find the posts and conversations that matter to your school” (SF, 2013, p.13). What are people saying about your brand?Do people love you? Are they frustrated by you? Is your new program a hit? And does the feedback line up with how you’re positioning and presenting your office to the public?Do not to shy away from criticism and negative comments could be some of the most important data gathered. It allows you to respond and learn from your mistakes“Being a good social media listener will help you immensely in a crisis, allowing you to respond quickly to the right people with the right information in the right way. A good social media listening program can preserve — and even improve — your school’s reputation in a crisis” (SF, 2013, p.14)Listening During a Crisis1.What kind of volume and sentiment are you dealing with?2. Which people and which sites are critical of your brand? (Knowing about the 5,000 angry posts on your Facebook Page will help you respond quickly and sensitively)3. Monitoring social media will help you see the crisis from your community’s perspective, shaping your language and adjusting your priorities4. Be aware of unresolved issues and lingering frustrations that need to be fixed. Don’t just passively listen: ask5. Monitor social media for sentiment around your school, comparing levels before, during and after the crisis. Is positive sentiment on the rise again? If not, why not?
28 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education There are two ways to facilitate student engagement. “Initiate conversations by offering interactive experiences, useful content, and stimulating questions. Respond to conversations by jumping in, being helpful, and routing conversations to the right people”Ways to Engage StudentsGive a Glimpse of Campus Life:What’s the classroom experience? What’s special about the student union? What are some of the other students like? What makes you different from all the other schools mailing your potential student a pamphlet? Use video to emulate the campus tour to give prospective students an idea of what to expect after enrollment or create excitement about the football team’s Friday night gameSpread the Good News:As long as you tie news back to a value statement for your community, social media can be a great conduit for sharing university accolades, stories about award-winning faculty, and university research accomplishmentsAsk and Answer Questions:Provide a medium for students, faculty, parents and alumni to provide feedback, and let them know they’ve been heard . The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania invites their community to shape their Lifelong Learning Program by submitting and up voting suggestions about pressing business topics and societal challenges they’d like
29 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education Ways to Engage Students ContinuedTell Stories about Student Success:When dealing with the stress of comparing colleges or pulling an all-nighter studying for finals, a compelling and true success story about an alum landing a dream job can inspire and rejuvenate studentsReward Advocacy:You have students and alumni who are die-hard fans. They shouldn’t be more proud of their school, and they make a point to show it on Facebook and Twitter. Often this rubs off on their peers, and may ultimately influence others’ perceptions. Give these advocates a virtual pat on the back by featuring them on the blog or Facebook PageFoster Student-to-Student or Faculty-to-Faculty Discussion:Every person’s experience at your college or university is unique, but everyone could benefit from easier ways to find and connect with classmates, peers, extracurricular organizations, or study and interest groups. Consider creating a custom on-site message board, social network or Facebook application to help students and faculty to branch out or share ideasHelp Students Make Connections:DeVry University is using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to facilitate conversations between students and experts in their field of study. They also started using LinkedIn groups to help alumni connect with professionals in their field and hosted networking events to help bring these engagements full circle
30 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education To create authentic conversations and community universities and student affairs must have a content plan. Setting up a Facebook Page or Twitter account is easy. “Whether a video, blog post or status update, content is the engine of the social web: it’s what gives brands something to talk about with their communities” (SF, 2013, p.19).How To Create ContentChoose Themes and Topics:Nine ways to find what topics your community is hungry for: Ask students directly, Ask your recruitment and admissions teams, Ask your faculty, Follow and listen to prospective students on Twitter, Join higher education LinkedIn groups, Follow and listen to higher education news sources, Discover keywords in web analytics, Monitor higher education conversations and Monitor competing schools Use a Content Calendar:We recommend planning what content will be created when and by whom at least six months in advance so your team has plenty of time to make it happen. Without it, it’s too easy to become digital dust. This doesn’t mean that you must follow the calendar and never relate to current activities on campus and in the news, but the calendar is meant to guide your efforts in a coordinated fashion . Create an editorial calendar to keep your team on trackDistribute Your ContentUse your blog as the content hub where you publish (or link to) all of your content. Then distribute on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube — whichever channels where your targeted audience hangs out
31 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education Assess Efforts“Focus on the metrics that relate to your objectives, Awareness, Attention and Reach” (SF, 2013, p.22).Potential reach includes all the people who are sharing your content and everyone in their networks. The conversation measures the percentage of social media posts by topic mentioned (SF, 2013).Another good measure is to look at correlation and see if the social media effects the organization in a broader way.Conversion rates look at the aggregate of all the social media initiatives and anything that qualifies as successful interaction in accordance with the goals set (SF, 2013).Measuring and Optimizing Conversions (Total statistics collected)1. How many conversions do you generate each month that are from social media?2. How do your conversions translate into student applications, donations or other critical metrics?3. Can you create a program that nurtures social media contacts through a series of touch points that leads to student applications, donations or other critical metrics?
32 Data Collection Data Triangulation Qualitative Artifact Analysis The purpose of this research study was to analyze fifteen different Student Affairs’ offices’ social media practices at Research 1 University in order to see what we can potentially learn about the interactions and engagement of Research 1 University’s students, staff, faculty, and community through these networking platforms.This study employed three different research methodologies:Quantitative artifact analysis of the office’s social media sitesQualitative artifact analysis of the office’s websitesInterviews with staff members who manage social media sites for their officeData TriangulationQualitative Artifact AnalysisQuantitative Artifact AnalysisInterviews
33 Data CollectionThe quantitative artifact analysis analyzed related statistics to the office’s social media accounts and measured the quantity of posts by content type: promotional, engagement, informational/learning, or collaborative.It also looked at which type of posts spurred the most interaction. The quantitative artifact analysis’s data was gathered from two different social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter.The social networking sites were chosen because of the prevalent use among the majority of offices.The qualitative artifact analysis analyzed each office’s websites for readily available content in regards to social media, promotions, and the opportunities provided by the website to engage, learn, and collaborate.Interviews were conducted with staff member who managed the social media accounts for their Student Affairs office. The interview content and data was gathered from the information shared in the interview process.
34 Data CollectionThe content for both the social media sites and the office websites will be analyzed by themes derived from the literature review including: promotional content, engagement content, informational/learning content, and collaborative content.Promotional content was defined as content relating to the publicizing of the office so as to increase brand awareness and gain more exposure. Promotional content on the social media sites were generally textual and graphic advertisements intended to promote office services, events, and programs.Engagement content was interactive content that encouraged participation such as photos of staff and students, contests, or requesting sign-up or reservations for an event.Informational/learning content was content that provided educational or pertinent information from the office and links to learning resources. “Students can also use social media to research content material in order to develop new knowledge” (Tarantino, McDonough, & Hua, 2013, p.1).Collaborative content was defined as sharing advertisements, information, and resources from other areas at Research 1 University.Two additional themes were created in order to categorize general content, these included:General Research 1 information, content pertaining to the entire campus or Research 1 newsGeneral current events, content pertaining to local, national, or world news.
36 Data Summary Results: Quantitative Analysis Figure Student Affairs Facebook Sites Start Date and Current Number of Followers
37 Data Results Summary: Quantitative Analysis Figure 2. Student Affairs Facebook Accounts Total Posts April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014 and current number of Followers
38 Data Summary Results: Quantitative Analysis Figure 3. Student Affairs Facebook Posts by Content Type
39 Data Summary Results: Quantitative Analysis Figure Student Affairs Twitter Accounts Start Date and Current Number of Followers
40 Data Summary Results: Quantitative Analysis Figure 5. SA Twitter Accounts number of current followers and current number of twitter accounts being followed
41 Data Summary Results: Quantitative Analysis Figure 6. Student Affairs Tweets by Content Type
42 Data Summary Results: Quantitative Analysis Figure 7. Student Affairs Offices Total Tweets April 1, 2013-March 31, and
43 Data Results Summary: Qualitative Analysis SA Office Websites v. SA Office Social Media SitesThe promotional content on SA office websites was not nearly as updated as the promotional content on SA’s office’s social media sites.This is mostly likely due to the ease of updating social media versus a website, and the fact that more people have access to share promotional items on social media versus a website.Multiple promotions on a website could also appear overwhelming to a viewer. Social media is also a better medium for promotional content because many people view it on a daily basis.Having a social media feed on the homepage of the website is a good way to keep website promotional content up to date.Both SA office websites and social media sites had engaging content. While social media provides a better platform for interaction with the office,the websites offered many ways to connect with the office including photos of staff and students, as well as sign-ups for events.SA office websites provided more learning resources and information than the social media sites in most casesCollaborative content could be found on both sites as well, because of the ease of sharing content, SA office social media sites had a lot more collaborative content than SA office websites.There are many benefits of social media sites and websites, and it is the best when the two work in tandem.
45 Data Summary Results: Interviews Figure 14. Time SA office staff dedicated to Social Media per week
46 Data Summary Results: Interviews Figure 15. Social Media Platforms SA Offices Use
47 Data Summary Results: Interviews Figure 16. Social Media Activities of SA Offices
48 Data Summary Results: Interviews Example response from an office about improving learning outcomes:“I think when we look at learning outcomes, yes, absolutely, especially as they tie into understanding the institution. We try to improve that overall student outcomes, I guess, in terms of we do want to improve communication from our office to students, transparency a little bit, as well, an outcome of really getting students attached to hopefully not just our office but the university, so providing that face or personality to this place of buildings, that can be seen as very overwhelming. I guess that's an outcome in and of itself so hopefully we achieve that.”
49 Data Summary Results: Interviews If your office is not currently using Social Media for any of the following activities, do they plan to use it in the future?Thirteen offices said they did plan to increase or improve upon their current social media activities.“I think my biggest goal is just to help the perception of the dining program. I think that a lot of people think, when they think of a university dining program, they think of cafeteria food and that couldn't be further from the truth of what we're doing here on campus. Rather than using social media like a medium to push sales on people - I don't really like doing that - I like to use it more so as kind of a brand enhancer and really just kind of show off and brag about the good food,”“I would say so, yes. I think our biggest hurdle right now is that we're having trouble establishing the difference between our office specific social media, pages and accounts. The accounts that our individual councils manage. By the time they announce everything that's happening at their level, there's not very much left for us to do. I've been trying to work with our students to establish a better idea of what our platforms are they care about. Some of them, the reaction is, 'you don't need it' and some of them have some pretty good ideas. It's also just tough to be the lowest on the food chain in the office and know that, I don't necessarily have access to resources, to build it, bulk it up. So I'm hoping that with the addition of another permanent Assistant Director, some of that can be either taken away or done jointly, because I am not necessarily, I have my own personal social media accounts, but I don't feel that I am the best equipped to do it in professional setting. I just have never had to do it before.”
50 Data Summary Results: Interviews The offices were asked if they currently had an overarching social media strategy or goals, social media guidelines, and social media budget.Nine offices felt they did employ a social media strategy, one office said they somewhat had a strategy, and five offices currently do not have social media strategy.“We know that that's where the students are actually getting their information most of the time, so it's to try to meet them where they are because campus signs only are going to be noticed so much. They're constantly on their Twitter, so that's what our goal is; to try and get that information where they are, so that way it spreads to the right people”
51 Data Summary Results: Interviews Only five offices had actual guidelines for their social media practices, two offices somewhat had policies in place for social media practices, and eight offices did not have any social media guidelines or policies for their office.“Not that are written in stone. The only thing that we really don't post, we have an understanding so only myself, the graduate assistants, and one student who sort of tasked with doing the social media have access to the page. And so, there is an understanding there that we will not post things that are somewhat maybe deemed harmful for the community. If a person commits suicide and it makes national news, we will not post that on our page. But if there's something like marriage equality in Illinois, of course we'll post that. We try to post things that are progressive. Not necessarily giving just one side of the story, but we don't want to paint the glummest picture just because suicidal ideation is high and you don't want to put those messages out there that this is what happened to LGBTQ individual. So trying to paint a positive but also a real realistic view of what it means. So we do post news stories or will repost news stories with the social media sites that we use now as long as they are moving us forward either in policy of progress or just in terms of dialogue.”“We do have guidelines for general practices, those are really just to engage with the community more and get our events, information and services promoted better.”
52 Data Summary Results: Interviews No offices had a budget for social media. While social media is low cost, many of the offices have giveaways and contests and should be tracking their expenditures and work time invested in social media.“Yes, we don't really have a set aside amount for it but if something comes up like the contest that was about $500. So, there's nothing that I set aside but if we see something that would be beneficial from that we're open to that.”SA offices were also asked about how they assess and measure their social media interactions and outcomes.Six offices regularly use analytics to track their social media activity. Three offices stated they have sometimes track social media activity for specific events or announcements, and six offices do not measure their social media activity and outcomes whatsoever.
53 Data Summary Results: Interviews To determine the value of social media in Student Affairs at Research 1 the interviewees were asked two follow up questions after the interview in“Can you give an example when the office thought social media had a positive impact on the success of an event or program?”“Can you give an example when the office thought social media would have had more of an impact than it did on the success of an event or program?”
54 Data Summary Results: Interviews “Can you give an example when the office thought social media had a positive impact on the success of an event or program?”This question demonstrated why committing time and effort to social media is important and can potentially yield significant improvements for SA offices.“As an example form our fall fair, we saw an 80% increase from the previous month (Sept) to our fair month (Oct) from 62,428 to 112,972 impressions of our posts, and a 136% increase from Sept to Oct for the number of engaged users on our page (from 490 to 1,155),”“When we had our movie premier for “Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, when we sent our reminder via our OCL listserv, the last 79 seats were claimed within the next 86 minutes.”“I tweeted and posted on Facebook that our 2014 Spring quarter Red Watch Band training dates were open. We had about 80 students go and register within the next three days without any other advertising on campus. (I tweeted "at" the Wildcat Welcome account, and I think that was a motivator behind the response.)”“We did an HIV testing for World AIDS Day. Normally we would post and get maybe 6 people to get tested. This time, we posted and shared it with student organization pages. They began to share it. We had around 29 people get tested that day. Social media played a great role in getting the word out.”
55 Data Summary Results: Interviews They also explained how it raised brand awareness for their SA office and it was an easy mode to deliver information.“I thought social media was very successful in simply raising brand awareness when we did the #WhyNorris Instagram contest. I think that even people who did not enter the contest or frankly did not know about it still somehow came across a photo that had the WhyNorris hashtag and in that it just got our name out there more as well as our mission to serve students.”Offices said social media helped facilitate interactions with students and created a sense of community with the students, both leading to greater student engagement.“We hosted our Greek Leadership Retreat in Burlington, WI April this year and made a conscious effort to engage our students via Facebook and Twitter throughout the weekend. We used the hashtag #GLR2014 to follow what they were saying throughout the weekend. I think it fostered a greater sense of community during the weekend, and allowed more of our students to engage with our accounts.”
56 Data Summary Results: Interviews “Can you give an example when the office thought social media would have had more of an impact than it did on the success of an event or program?”This question was important because it identified some of the challenges with using social media like which platforms are the most successful, is social media the right vehicle for this campaign, is our social media strategy effective, and how can we better use social media to increase brand awareness, event attendance, and student engagement.“Recently, we ran a photo contest as part of our Northwestern Externship Program (NEXT), a program we coordinated with the Northwestern Alumni Association. We asked participants to submit a photo via Twitter or to enter, and while a number of students submitted photos via , only one student submitted a photo via Twitter. We had hoped that we’d see a number of entries through Twitter, but it seems that still works best when we provide that option), is our social media strategy effective.”
57 Data Summary Results: Interviews “In general, we often wonder about what are helpful and strategic ways to use social media to promote events or keep people up to date with our office or not a good way to use our limited resources.”“How can we better use social media to increase brand awareness It is a bit deflating when we put on an event and you overhear students say, "What is this?" Clearly, they had no clue we were putting on this event, thus, trying to inform them via social media did not work as well as we wanted it to, event attendance.”“When we had our Scavenger Hunt with the Downtown Evanston businesses the Friday prior to classes starting, less than 10 people attended.” Offices also expressed disappointment with the number of students engaging from social media.“When we first started our social media outreach, we thought it would bring new students to engage with the office. We saw it as a way of connecting with white students, and others who wouldn’t necessarily see themselves represented by the office. We quickly discovered social media is best used to enhance and expand connections you already have, not to necessarily make new ones.”
58 Data Interpretation Importance of Social Media in Student Affairs Social media should be used by student affairs professionals to increase student engagement, better student outcomes, build trust and openness with students, and create a collaborative learning environment, in which students and staff are equal participants in sharing knowledge and building community.Social media expands learning and connectedness out of the class environment and campus environment. Student affairs’ offices’ can use it to create community surrounding important issues like leadership and social justice to promote collaboration and knowledge amongst students.Social media also allows a different way for students to receive information and interact with staff and each other regarding various areas of campus life. Students who use social media feel connected to peer groups, because they have someone to ask for help or to share their problems with.Social media can also provide a space for students, who are intimidated in a large group setting, to participate. It is important for students to feel open and trusting in order to share information with student affairs professionals, and social media can help facilitate this.Other important benefits of using social media in higher education as a whole include: (1) being where your “target” is, (2) increasing cost-effectiveness and time-efficiency, and (3) building relationships.
59 Data Interpretation Artifact Analysis Key Findings SA offices want to have a large number of social media followers because they want to reach as many people as possible with their content.Facebook and Twitter social media sites that were started earlier generally have more followers. If a new office or area is created at the university, the office needs to start social media as soon as possible to reap long-term benefits of social media.Also noteworthy, Facebook sites with more posts had more followers. To engage and maintain followers, Facebook needs to be updated at least five times a week.There was not a correlation on Twitter with the amount of tweets and followers.Therefore, offices need to be more particular with what they are tweeting and make sure it is relevant to their office and their audience. Offices need to track social media analytics, and monitor when, how, and why students are engaging with particular posts in order to understand how to create the most effective content mix and achieve their social media goals and objectives.Adding a social media feed on the home page of SA websites would help offices be able to display with ease, up to date, promotional content, engagement content, and collaborative content.Office should have working social media links on the home page to make it accessible. By having a social media feed on the homepage,it would allow more students and staff to have access to adding important information to the website.It would also serve as a motivator to keep social media up to date.
60 Data Interpretation Interview Analysis While a number of social media platforms are being used, it makes sense for offices to figure out which social media sites are most popular among the office’s audience and which social media sites the office’s audience wants their presence. SA offices need to stay up to date with social media trends, as well as be respectful of the audience’s preference on their social media presence.SA offices also need to analyze their social media activities and decide which ones are most important to achieving their social media goals and objectives. SA offices need to identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to achieve their stated goals of improving student outcomes and engaging students.Dedicating over five hours a week to social media can help build a large following.The office needs to designate a staff member who will be trained in social media best practices and can be held accountable for achieving social media objectives and goals.It is helpful to have one or two students creating content for the social media sites. These students should be given policies and guidelines in regards to sharing content.SA offices felt social media can be used to improve the perception of the office and enhance their brand. But, to do this successfully offices said they would need more resources and social media training.
61 Data InterpretationThe majority of offices do not have a formalized social media strategy plan. As explained in the literature, social media strategy is necessary to improve outcomes.SA Offices also need to implement formal guidelines and policies that are appropriate and tailored to that offices needs.The Division of Student Affairs needs to provide general guidelines and policies to ensure they are legally protected and prepared in the event there is a campus crisis.Guidelines and policies should also be linked to desired social media outcomes.No SA Offices currently have a social media budget.SA offices need to assess the cost of time spent on social media, and they need to track promotional marketing expenses in order to have a better understanding of their return on the time and money invested in social media.It is also a good financial practice to report these budget items.While it can be time consuming, offices should use analytics to assess their social media efforts. It is necessary to achieve their goals and modify their social media strategy if need be.Interview responses about positive impacts of social media demonstrated how committing time and effort to social media can potentially yield significant improvements for SA offices.Many of the offices gave specific examples of increased attendance and successful promotional campaigns.They also explained how it raised brand awareness for their SA office and it was an easy mode to deliver information. Offices said social media helped facilitate interactions with students and created a sense of community with the students, both leading to greater student engagement.Challenges were also identified with using social media, like which platforms are the most successful, is social media the right vehicle for this campaign, is our social media strategy effective, and how can we better use social media to increase brand awareness, event attendance, and student engagement.
62 Data Interpretation Social Media Best Practices Social Media Team and CouncilSocial Media Policies and GuidelinesSocial Media AudienceSocial Media Goals and ObjectivesSocial Media EngagementSocial Media ContentSocial Media Measurements: Assess efforts and outcomes
63 Data Interpretation Social Media Team and Social Media Council Community managers: ones delivering the content and will be the face and voice of the brand (SF, 2013). They will be the ones who communicate with the community as well by “reaching out to influencers, answering questions, and dealing with complaints. They’ll also be the first responders in a crisis” (SF, 2013, p.4).Social strategist/strategists: working to collect and analyze data, assess achievement of objectives, and suggest additional effective ways to engage (SF, 2013).Content Creators: write blog posts, ad copy, Facebook status updates and ebooks. Others can shoot video, snap photos, or record your podcast (SF, 2013, p.5).Other people who can contribute to creating content include, but are not limited to students, alumni, faculty and community, those who are passionate content contributors will help to tell the department’s or university’s story (SF, 2013, p.5).Content Producers: handle the design and technical side of producing content. They edit photos, video and other digital assets to ensure highest quality, and they can package it all according to individual channel specifications, like file size, dimensions or orientation (SF, 2013, p.5).
64 Data InterpretationIn the case of smaller offices and departments, people can take on one or more of the roles listed, for many of these SA offices it would be expected that people would take on multiple roles.It is also a good idea to create a social media council (formal or informal), which would be overseen by the SA Marketing office. The social media manager from each individual office could be a member of the social media council.Social Media Council Responsibilities1. Creating and updating social media policies and guidelines for employees2. Providing clear direction on how employees should integrate their personal social media activities into their professional life3. Approving the creation of new social media channels (and preventing duplication of effort and unnecessary proliferation of pages and accounts)4. Ensuring consistent branding and messaging across all channels5. Identifying, testing and approving third-party tools, such as social media monitoring platforms and social media management tools6. Coordinating the adoption of social media tools with other systems,7. Including customer relationship management and marketing automation (often in conjunction with IT)8. Sharing social media best practices and success stories internally, working with Legal, HR and IT to integrate social media policies with existing company policies9. Creating core materials for social media presences and campaigns that can be modified and localized for reuse by other parts of the organization
65 Data Interpretation Social Media Policy and Guidelines There should be guidelines, policies and standards of behavior similar to that is enforced in off-line campus life.Educators and administrators alike need professional training on how to incorporate social media effectively into their current practices. It is of upmost importance to create social media policy, if there is not one in place it could lead to potential disaster (SF, 2013; Dean 2013)It helps to ensure your team is on the same page and prevent any future mishaps (Dean, 2013).Policy and guidelines should includeStatement that the organization’s broader ethical guidelines also apply to social mediaReminders of individual responsibility and liability,Reminder that staff must post disclaimers that they do not speak for the organization,Disclosure of affiliation with the organization when posting,Respect for copyright and fair use laws,Honoring the confidentiality of proprietary or internal information,Prohibitions on hate speech, ethnic slursPrivacy and discretion reminders.
66 Data Interpretation Social Media Audience In the data, it was evident that thousands of students, ages 18-24, follow these various SA office’s social media accounts as well as faculty, staff, campus partners and the Research 1 community.Determining the audience is key to having a successful social media strategy.SA offices need to answer the following questions to better define their audience:How do they seek informationHow do they use social media, which social networks do they use, what life decisions are they struggling to make,What challenges or problems are they trying to solve, what are their “dealbreakers” – the factors big enough to repel them from the office’s social media siteWhat are they reading, watching, listening to on social media. (SF, 2013, p.9-10)
67 Data Interpretation Social Media Content and Content Themes SA offices need to create a content plan in order to have authentic conversations and build a community.It is important for student affairs professional to consider the content they use on social media and how it could potentially be misinterpreted or not reach certain students.Students and professionals are collaborating and working together to create content, which allows each to be equal participants in understanding and sharing knowledge.In order to create a content plan the office need to choose themes and topics by asking students directly, asking office teams, asking peers, following and listening to students on Twitter, joining higher education LinkedIn groups, following and listening to higher education news sources, discovering keywords in web analytics, and monitoring higher peer institution offices.The office should also create a content calendar to plan what content will be created when and by whom at least six months in advance so the social media team has plenty of time to make it happen, and it will keep the office team on track.
68 Data Interpretation Social Media Goals and Objectives “Tie your social media goals to your organization’s goals” (SF, 2013, p.11).It should not just be measured based on reach.Example objectives include raising awareness, reducing marketing costs, increase attendance, foster community and culture, attract talent, and gather feedback for improvement (SF, 2013; OSU, 2014; Wiens, 2012; Klamm, 2011).These goals and objectives should be SMART: sspecificmeasurableattainablerealistictime-bound
69 Data Interpretation Assess and Measure Social Media Efforts Administrators need to include social media in their assessments and evaluations of programs and learning outcomes.Administrators should address the financial responsibilities of implementing social media practices by ensuring proper equipment, access, and training are available to staff and educators as well.It is important make sure what is being measured lines up with the goals that were set. “Focus on the metrics that relate to your objectives, Awareness, Attention and Reach” (SF, 2013, p.22).Potential reach includes all the people who are sharing your content and everyone in their networks.The conversation measures the percentage of social media posts by topic mentioned (SF, 2013).Another good measure is to look at correlation and see if the social media effects the organization in a broader way.Conversion rates look at the aggregate of all the social media initiatives and anything that qualifies as successful interaction in accordance with the goals set (SF, 2013).Example metrics include, how many conversions does the office generate each month that are from social media, how do the conversions translate into students attending events, and can the office create a program that nurtures social media contacts through a series of touch points that leads to more student engagement. It is important to start small and focus on objectives. “With so many benefits and possibilities of social media listening and engagement, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or lose focus” (SF, 2013, p.23).Only take on what the social media team can manage, and allow for expansions as the team and social media strategy become more efficient (SF, 2013)
70 Data InterpretationStrategic theme 1 is to build organizational health.“We will create a healthy, functional and sustainable Student Affairs organization committed to excellence by continuously improving internal and external communications, technologies, professional development, policies, and procedures.”Social media can help improve communication in the division. It is important to include technological advances in the social media plan, as well as social media training (professional development) and ensure strict policies and guidelines as discussed in the previous slide.Strategic theme 2 is to enrich the Research 1 experience.“We will provide services, programs, shared experiences, and a unifying identity that contributes to a vibrant Northwestern community.”The social media plan should include promotion of service, programs and campus experiences to engage students with the university and SA offices.Strategic theme 3 is further student learning.“We will create holistic learning experiences for students outside the classroom, remove barriers to student learning, and provide opportunities for the integration of their learning. We will utilize an attainable and measurable framework for student learning outside the classroom.”As discussed earlier in an earlier slide, social media can facilitate collaborative learning and create a knowledge sharing community. Learning outcomes should be included in the social media strategy plan.
71 Data Interpretation Strategic theme 4 is to advance social justice “We will work authentically and ethically to create an inclusive and socially just learning environment for all members of the Northwestern University community.”SA offices, especially inclusion and community, multicultural, and LGBT, can thoughtfully share content related to social justice through social media and help to educate the Research 1 community.Strategic theme 5 is foster purposeful partnerships“We will collaborate with our Student Affairs colleagues, students, faculty colleagues, alumni, departments, and divisions outside of Student Affairs.”As discussed earlier in the paper, social media makes collaboration among the university community much easier. Collaborative metrics should be included in the social media plan as well.Strategic theme 6 is to optimize resources.“We will continually look for opportunities to attract, align, and maximize resources, and to use them wisely and effectively to improve programs, services, and facilities for students and to strengthen our infrastructure and technology.”Social media can provide cost efficiencies. It is essential offices track social media budgets. It should be included in the policies in the social media strategic plans. Assessments of social media can help improve programs and services and strengthen the division’s use of technologies.
72 Data Interpretation Social Media Engagement Facebook Examples Give a Glimpse of Campus Life:Stop by the Norris East Lawn between 11 AM and 3 PM today and tomorrow to experience the Coke Zero Combine as you gear up for College GameDay! There are prizes, free drinks, and much more!Spread the Good News:Are you excited to see President Schapiro at the LGBT Resource Center's 10 Year Anniversary?! We are! Come up to the 3rd Floor of Norris at 4PM! Ask and Answer Questions:Why should you apply to SIGP? Hear from former SIGP fellows about what the experience has meant for them.Apply to SIGPLearn more about the Summer Internship Grant Program at Northwestern University. This…
73 Data Interpretation Tell Stories about Student Success: Congratulations to MGC's April Leader of the Month!Name: Stephanie WangMajors: Economics and Computer ScienceOrganization: Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.... See MoreReward Advocacy:#Northwestern fans did an amazing job showcasing our great University on GameDay today! Now head over to Norris Center for your favorite 5 Dollar Foot Long at the brand new Subway! Foster Student-to-Student DiscussionHelp Students Make ConnectionsTomorrow: Meet Ambassador (and Northwestern University alum!) Ian Kelly & learn about life and careers in the U.S. Department of State OR 12-1 p.m. Session now being held in Norris Center, Wildcat Room.
74 Conclusion: Literature Existing research is very limited for social media use in higher education, especially in student affairs. Previous research has not examined the content and meaning of students’ interactions and exchanges on these social media platforms.Findings in the literature about student learning and social media can be applied to student affairs and social media.Social media should be used by student affairs professionals to increase student engagement, better student outcomes, build trust and openness with students, and create a collaborative learning environment, in which students and staff are equal participants in sharing knowledge and building community.Social media can both hinder student engagement or improve student engagement based on the context. And remind the reader that it is essential to look closely at the relationships and contexts of students engaging with social media, especially in regard to co-curricular activities, which can greatly impact student affairs.“Social media is reshaping the way college students communicate within their community. Other than being just a way to connect to with one another, “college students are using social media to connect, to create and consume content, to use and generate applications, and thus to experience college in both real and virtual or online communities” (Davis et al., 2012, p.1).
75 Conclusions: Literature There is a small amount of research regarding social media and student affairs, but highlighted that to do social media right, student affairs needs to invest time and resources into developing a social media strategy (Wankle &Wankle, p.215). It also stated how critical it is that the student affairs social media plan aligns with the divisions’ strategy plan.Best practices need to be implemented by student affairs professionals to sustain a social media strategy that includes how to identify the audience, how to define objectives, social media policies, engagement tactics, content creation, and how to assess social media efforts (SF, 2013; OSU, 2014; Wiens, 2012; Klamm, 2011).Social Media is more than just a passing trend, “almost every college leader now knows that the social and digital media revolution is here to stay as part of the fabric of how we communicate and relate to one another” (Davis et al., 2012).College students have embraced social media technology and higher education and student affairs will need to do the same. It will be essential that student affairs in higher education has a very clearly defined role in the university’s social media strategy, as well as a social media strategy plan of their own.
76 Conclusion: Major Findings The major findings of this study are the current social media practices of Research 1 Division of Student Affairs offices are:InconsistentNot formalizedDo not follow general guidelines, policies, and best practices,Are seen as valuableAlign with the Division of Student Affairs strategic themes and objectives.In order to improve the Division of Student Affairs social media practices and reap the benefits, offices will need to:Create a formalized social media strategy planDedicate more than five hours a workweek to social mediaUpdate social media at least five times a weekCreate a formalized social media team or social media manager positionTrain staff and students who work on content for the social media sitesImplement best practices, policies, and guidelines for each office and general policies and guidelines for the division as a whole.Administrators also need to include social media in their assessments and evaluations of programs and learning outcomes.Administrators should address the financial responsibilities of implementing social media practices by ensuring proper equipment, access, and training are available to staff and students.
77 Conclusion: Major Findings Social media feeds and links should be readily found on the homepage of office websites to ensure up to date promotional content, engagement content, and collaborative content.Websites and social media sites need to work in tandem to better communication with students, within the division, and with the university community.Finally SA offices need to ensure their social media strategy plans align with the goals and objectives of the Division of Student Affairs and Research 1 University.
78 Conclusions: Limitations The major limitations of this study were the short time frame, narrow data set, lack of narrow definitions and parameters, and limited financial resources to use analytical tools or services.Given the vast amount of data available through social media sites, the researcher had to narrow the data set due to the time frame.A national data set would likely to gain attention from peer institutions, collecting the data this way was beyond the time and resource constraints of the present undertaking.Therefore, gathering and assessing data from sites at one particular institution was the most effective and practical methods for generating the necessary data under the circumstances.Another limitation was the lack of narrow definitions and parameters for the content themes made it impossible to calculate exactly the amount of posts due to the subjective nature of the themes, some may judge the data to fall short of the standards of statistical rigor.Although, data was collected so that it could be benchmarked against other Research 1 social media sites as well as peer institutions. In addition, data were collected using multiple sources and methods in order to enable rigorous internal comparison.Lastly, many third party companies provide analytical tools and services to assess social media performance and outcomes. Unfortunately many of these tools and services are costly, and were not able to be utilized because of financial constraints.
79 Conclusions: Future Research After addressing the research gap in literature in regards to student affairs and social media and analyzing the current social media practices of Research 1 University’s Division of Student Affairs, there are several ways to expand upon this study and address some of its limitations.First, to address the limitations of a short time frame, narrow data set, and the lack of narrow definitions and parameters, this research question could examine a longer time frame of social media practices in student affairs, it could benchmark the data nationally against peer institutions such as the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE), and it could use more widely agreed upon and narrower definitions and parameters to categorize the data.Second, while this study primarily focused on social media in student affairs from an administrative perspective, a future study that could provide greater insights could conduct interviews with students and gain insight into their perception of office’s social media practices.Third, more research could be conducted on the various analytical tools and services available to determine whether they may or may not be worth the financial investment, and which would be most appropriate for the social media practices and assessments at Research 1 University.Lastly, since it is such an under researched field that is constantly changing, future research about various student populations, social media technology trends, and implications for social media and student affairs should be continuously updated and reassessed on at least an annual basis.