The need for a strong social media presence for universities and colleges continues to grow with each passing semester. Unfortunately, budget sheets don’t always recognize the resources necessary to maintain several social media accounts 24/7. Here, we talk to UBTech 2014 conference speaker Jennifer Dombrowski, manager of learning management system communications at Grand Canyon University, about “How to implement a social media marketing plan with limited resources.”
Dombrowski joined Grand Canyon University in Phoenix about five years ago, and she immediately went to work constructing a social media identity for the school. “Everyone entering college now is accustomed to being on social media, especially those who are 18-years-old and under,” says Dombrowski. “They grew up with social media; it’s their trusted news source.”
Dombrowski explains that a selective strategy is imperative when forging a brand in the social media space. “Just because a channel exists doesn’t mean we all need to be on it,” she says. “It is important to identify your audience and where their conversations are happening.” This practice saves time, allowing faculty to focus on the development and maintenance of profiles only on the most relevant social sites (each GCU department manages its own social media). Facebook and Instagram are two favorite social channels at the University. Dombrowski has also adopted tools such as HootSuite to improve social media workflow, which allows her to plan content up to a month ahead of time.
While GCU’s social media presence continues to grow, success has not come without challenges. “My biggest obstacle in this process was getting buy-in from the executive staff, and sometimes even from professors, as they tend to be a little more old school,” Dombrowski says. “I’m diligent when it comes to transparency and what’s going on with the university.That said, trying to get all faculty to buy in and remain transparent has been and is still the biggest challenge.”
In 2014, Dombrowski and her team will continue to hone their social media strategy. Earlier this year, Grand Canyon launched GCU Blogs. “We’re focusing on building up the blog to be a great space to communicate information,” she says. “It has been challenging to cross-promote content across channels. By creating one central area for our content and pushing it out through social media, we’re able to tie everything together.”
Learn more about Dombrowski’s 2014 UBTech conference session, “How to implement a social media marketing plan with limited resources,” here.