In August 2013, LinkedIn’s Higher Ed Team launched University Pages, which is the first higher ed specific product that a large social media platform has launched to date.
A master move by LinkedIn to start cultivating a new generation of users, university pages are built with students in mind. University pages provide prospect students information about a university’s alumni, what kind of jobs they have, industries they work in, and where they live. In addition, universities can add information about cost, gender ratio, and more! This kind of information can have a significant influence on a student’s decision of what school to attend.
The fact is that LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic are students and recent graduates. As of August 2013, that segment stood at about 30 million strong among LinkedIn’s 238 million members worldwide.
Think about it: that’s exactly the population that you want to reach today and tomorrow!
Getting all your Ducks in a Row
Ok, so there might be a general consensus that building and maintaining a LinkedIn University page is an endeavor worth exploring. Institutions should ask themselves:
- How does a LinkedIn page fit within your overarching communications strategy?
- Is LinkedIn where your audience is, and if it isn’t, how can you attract them?
- Will it be worth the extra effort?
- And how will you measure success and communicate wins and losses to stakeholders?
Get all the right stakeholders on the same page: Alumni relations, university communications, admissions, and career services. It can be as simple as getting everybody in the same room, becoming aware of the opportunity, and establishing a plan and assign roles and responsibilities.
Company Page vs. University Page
The distinction is pretty subtle and rather vague. A company page will show your employees and staff, products, services, and jobs available. University pages will mostly aggregate data from alumni and allow you to promote groups and posts news and updates. LinkedIn would prefer that you think about your university page as the place where you market your institution to students and your company pages where you post your available jobs and news related to the workforce, etc. You can tell whether you’re on a University Page or a Company Page by looking at the URL; the former uses “school” in the URL; the latter uses “company.”
Given the above, what’s most important is that you decide internally how you are going to use the pages and what group will maintain them. As always with social media, provide space and time for a little trial and error. Knowing the features and possibilities of each product will allow you to decide how to use them best. Also think of the audience.
Anatomy of a University Page
A LinkedIn University Page includes information populated by LinkedIn (when available):
- Stats about alumni and what they’re up to
- Basic descriptive and contact information
- People of note who have attended the school
- A “featured group” box with information about one of the university-affiliated groups
- A “See also” section where the “company page” can be referenced
- A “Similar schools” section that attempts to list institutions that are comparable in some way to the one in the University Page
- Updates and news, posted by the institution as well as LinkedIn members who have questions or comments
- Images and videos
Best practices in the Use of University Pages
Promote the success of your alumni
Welcome incoming students
Celebrate an institutional milestone
Promoting content you post elsewhere
Share important news to bolster alumni pride
Good use of images and videos
In addition, there are many schools that are leveraging the use of LinkedIn as part of their career services offering. For example:
- Helping students set up their profile
- Providing a photo booth for professional headshots for LinkedIn profiles
- Sharing best practices related to job searching and networking through LinkedIn
Swiss Universities & LinkedIn University Pages
To date these are the schools that have a university page.
- University of Basel
- University of Lausanne
- University of Geneva
- University of Zurich
- University of Fribourg
- University of Bern
- University of Liechtenstein
- University of Neuchâtel*
- Università della Svizzera italiana*
* System indicates no page manager has claimed the page.
For now, LinkedIn has a hard time aggregating data from the Universities of Applied Sciences. We will keep looking for updates in this regard and if you happen to find one, please let us know so that we can update the list above.
Claim your Page
To claim your page you will the need the following information:
- The URL for your school’s official website
- The country where it’s located
- The e-mail address for the person to be designated as the first LinkedIn “administrator”
- The existing “company” page that may already be associated with your school
- Any other existing University Pages that are part of the same university system
- Submit your request to LinkedIn (under first item, then ‘contact us’)
You will need to verify your affiliation with the school. Make sure you can provide:
- An email address with your university domain (youruniveresity.ch) linked to your LinkedIn account
- Evidence that you’re a current employee of the school and that your position there is listed in the experience section on your profile
- Confirmation that your school page doesn’t already exist
Keep at It!
It is important that you monitor your page and moderate it when necessary.
Learn the different features and build the page with appropriate images and videos that reflect your culture and that show prospective students what you are about. You want to provide information that is not readily available elsewhere or give it a twist. Be mindful that there will be posts about job opportunities that could be considered “spam” and the possibility that an ad for a competing university might appear on your page.
Consider LinkedIn pages another channel through which you reach your students. As with other platforms, what you get out of it is very much dependent on your dedication. Remember 95% of social media success is “just being there.”
We hope that LinkedIn builds analytics into these pages and offers administrators ways to leverage the engagement and interaction taking place in these pages.