6 months ago today, LinkedIn announced the launch of LinkedIn University pages.
The concept was brilliant and uniquely suited for LinkedIn: allow colleges and Universities to create “company-like” pages that would unite alumni, current students and prospective students in one beautifully-branded interactive community — all within the trusted confines of the web’s #1 professional social network.
LinkedIn already had access to education big data and career big data from its hundreds of millions of worldwide users. All that remained was to merge these two massive data sets into a unique experience and to build the product.
6 months later, we investigated the effective use of LinkedIn University pages from a sample of colleges and universities across the US and Canada. The results shocked us.
A large number of colleges and universities are clearly asleep at the social media wheel — at least on LinkedIn. This is obvious at a first glance of their pages, both from the existence of a default stock image and the lack of a unique description for the school.
What’s also striking is that even some Ivy League schools’ pages allow (or are unaware of) alumni hijacking their update feed for personal and commercial interests, while other notable schools with tens of thousands of followers never post a thing!
Although our research was by no means exhaustive, we sense a massive missed opportunity within higher education for leveraging this powerful new marketing channel. And not just missed marketing opportunities. Missed opportunities to generate recruiting leads, to help current students discover career paths and get jobs, and to raise social engagement (and donations) from alumni.
Are school marketers simply not aware? Has LinkedIn promoted it heavily enough? Are the pages too difficult and complex to manage? Do many universities lack qualified staff or designate clear responsibility for their social media presence?
After all, most schools already have the needed marketing collateral: high quality images, professional video, active blogs and user-friendly websites. All that’s needed is to simply bring those assets over to LinkedIn, and LinkedIn will do the hard part of making sure that it’s visible to prospective students, current students and alumni — many of whom now use LinkedIn every day.
These questions prompted us to dig deeper, and ultimately to publish this free LinkedIn Guide for Universities to create better awareness of what we know is an awesome resource, and to provide practical advice for marketers and community managers in Higher Education.
We dug through the rather buried FAQs for University pages, curated best practices from some of the top shining examples of University Pages (hat tip to Rice University), and brought to bear our social media knowledge and expertise within the education industry to produce a set of practical and actionable tips for taking advantage of LinkedIn for University pages.
We wrote this guide for all professionals who are involved in the recruiting and admissions processes for colleges and universities. If this sounds like you, and you face challenges in recruiting more or higher-caliber applicants, or are struggling to reach your enrollment targets, your LinkedIn University page could be the answer.
Once again, you can grab that free guide here.
Have you had any particular success using a LinkedIn University page? Please let us know about it in the comments below.