Does Your College or University Have Too Many Social Media Accounts?

December 11, 2014

Too-many-social-media-accounts

It’s tempting to jump on the social media bandwagon and create multiple profiles for the various departments and athletics teams within your college or university. Everyone wants to have a voice and post content they think followers will find interesting and engaging. But, there does come a point when you have to ask: “How many social media accounts is too many?” The answer becomes clear when you understand the drawbacks of maintaining multiple profiles.

Too many accounts makes for difficult management.

A social media profile is, in a sense, a creature all its own. It requires constant monitoring and management if you want to be successful. It’s not enough to post a status update or photo once a day. You need to check for comments and respond to them with thoughtful, insightful information. You should also be asking questions, taking polls, and requesting other input from your followers. Having a social media account for every team or department makes doing this a nightmare! The comments on one post alone can take on a new life in a matter of minutes and you need to be part of that conversation to make the most of your social media presence.

Maintaining several social media profiles can lead to confusion.

As you ask yourself, “How many social media accounts is too many for my school?” think about the answer from a different angle. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential applicant, and you’ll soon discover that multiple accounts have a tendency to confuse. They’ll wonder which profile is the “official” school account, which belongs to the communications department, which belongs to the basketball team, and which of these accounts are unofficially managed by individuals not affiliated with your institution. Keep the number of accounts low to avoid misunderstandings.

Hashtags can become a nightmare.

The use of hashtags in your social media posts can be effective for attracting the attention of candidates who are looking for information on trending topics. However, maintaining multiple accounts, especially on Twitter, can increase the likelihood of unfavorable “hijacking.” If your tagline is on the rise, other universities may capture it to try to market their own institution. There’s also the possibility that other businesses will hijack your hashtag and use it for something completely unrelated, which can send your target audience off in the wrong direction.

You risk spreading your message too thin over several accounts.

If there’s one point to be taken away on maintaining multiple social media accounts, it’s this: quality is far more effective than quantity. If you manage a profile for each department or team within your university, you’re only going to attract those interested in specific niches. And, they’re only going to hear messages related to limited topics. This doesn’t give your followers a comprehensive look at what student life is like at your school. If different departments want to give prospective students a closer look at staff, consider creating groups instead of a separate profile. Or, give them the opportunity to post messages to the official social media accounts of the school. 

How many is too many?

There isn't a one size fits all answer to this question - for your school it could be Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts, with Twitter profiles for the admissions department, the school generally, and the athletics department. But, if you find yourself asking, “How many social media accounts is too many for my college or university?” - chances are that you’ve already reached an unmanageable number. The important thing to remember is that depth is as important as breadth. The content you publish is far more crucial than how many places you post it. There are a lot of ways that you can involve multiple departments and teams in your social media presence without each maintaining a separate social media account – like tweeting or sharing status updates about different programs, posting about the success of sports teams, or even giving your account over to a "takeover" for a day. Ultimately, to ensure that you're successfully using social media to attract qualified candidates into your admissions funnel, you need to maintain quality over quantity on your accounts. 

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