The Importance of Social Media and Measuring ROI in Career Services Practices

Heather TranenA post by Guest Blogger, Heather Tranen
Associate Director, Global Communications & Strategic Outreach, NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @htranen
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/heathertranen

 

 

Social media continues to grow in scope and power. There are so many platforms out there, and our students are all over them. To this generation, it’s almost as if things don’t actually happen unless they are filming, photographing, tweeting or status updating it.Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 7.40.15 PM.png

Gen Y overshares and hyperconsumes content in the online space. They feel like things aren’t actually happening unless it’s happening on social media.

“They take technology for granted. They live through social media. They want the world their way, and they want it now.” – Forbs on Gen Y

As career services professionals, we need to navigate our communication strategies to both speak their language, and teach them to become fluent in the language of the professional world. Through social media, we can engage students in the space they are comfortable with, and then lure them into our office to connect to the tangible resources they need to be successful after college – a bait and switch of sorts.

These days, most understand that social media is here to stay. However, whether or not there is value in it remains questionable by many. Therefore, measuring ROI is crucial. Knowing the difference between vanity and actionable metrics is extremely important!

Vanity Metrics: It’s always nice to have a large following and fans to make us feel super important and liked. These vanity metrics are often how supervisors judge whether we are doing a good job. Yes, these are important. However, who are these individuals following or liking us? Are they strangers, or actually connections who are engaging and utilizing our resources?

Actionable Metrics: What really matters is whether our campaign translated into “performance” outcomes. Who retweeted us, who became more aware of our resources and came to the office to utilize them? These are the questions we should all ask when engaging with students in the social media space.

Metrics and ROI are becoming increasingly important in higher education.  I recommend looking at platforms like Hootsuite, Twitonomy, Klout, and Facebook admin pages to help you gather a valuable measurement of your engagement in the online space. Correlating the timing of your social media messaging with spikes in attendance or counseling requests also serves as a more abstract way of showing the impact of your social media practices, and proving you are social media all-stars!