Nora Ganim Barnes and her colleagues at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research have published an on going series of studies of social media in both business and higher education. Nora and Ava Lescault recently published an interesting report, College Presidents Out-Blog and Out-Tweet Corporate CEO’s as Higher Ed Delves Deeper into Social Media to Recruit Students. This latest study (2012-2013) analyzes the most recent trending of social media adoption among four-year accredited institutions in the United States. A proportional sample of schools in all 50 states was utilized resulting in 26% public schools, 71% private and 2% describing themselves as “for profit institutions.” They range in size from 40 to over 37,000 undergraduates.
The highlights included the finding that over half of college presidents studied are posting on Facebook (58%) and tweeting (55%), while 35% host their own blog. In comparison, 40% of Inc. 500 CEO’s are on Facebook along with only 8% of Fortune 500 CEO’s. Twenty-nine percent of Inc. 500 CEO’s tweet and only 4% of the Fortune 500 CEO’s tweet. Seven Inc. 500 CEO’s host a blog and only 1 Fortune 500 CEO has a blog.
Schools also show an interest in new tools including Pinterest (31% adoption), Google+ (25% adoption) and Instagram (16% adoption). Over two-thirds of US colleges and universities have some official school blogging activity on their campus. Forty-one percent of school officials believe they can directly attribute an increase in enrollments to their social media efforts.
Some schools (30%) report spending less on printing, newspaper ads (23%), television (17%) and radio (16%) as a result of increased online presence. Thirteen percent of schools report researching students through their social networking sites as part of the admissions process. Last year 19% made this claim. Thirty-eight percent of school officials reported they monitored the internet for buzz, posts, conversations and news about their institution, the fifth straight decline since 2009 when 73% reported monitoring their school’s name online.
Even though there is enormous activity, much of it by students, half of the schools surveyed report that they do not have written guidelines for acceptable online behavior. This needs to change. It is great to see this ongoing research in social media. I look forward to more.