The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Snapshot: How is Swiss Academia using Social Media?

In this second installment of the December survey results, we look at the reasons why Swiss academia is using social media, how they are using it, what barriers exist, and if and how impact is measured. Check out last week’s post if you haven’t already.

Testing the waters

Swiss institutions of higher education have really come up to speed with regard to their social media efforts. But how comfortable are they using the new tools? According to our survey, 17% of institutions indicated that they are very familiar with social media and use it extensively, but most institutions are still just testing the waters, which is still a great step.

Most institutions, namely 72%, say that they are somewhat familiar and are trying out the tools, but not aggressively utilizing them on a regular basis.

Content distribution is king

The survey results indicate that one of the main reasons why institutions of higher education in Switzerland use social media is to distribute content, news, research results, and event information. Listening to what others say on social media is another important aspect that institutions take advantage of. The illustration below shows other uses of social media.

Quick tip for program participants: Consult our monthly Radian6 reports to find all the mentions of your institution, identify influencers, and see what content was successful in capturing attention (they can be found on your private landing page). 

Measuring success

We have stressed in the past how important it is to measure the success of your social media activity. Swiss academia definitely recognizes the importance of social media monitoring: Sixty-seven percent measure the success of the tools they use.

But those polled also realize that it is not necessarily easy to measure success: Ninety percent say that it is difficult to measure the return of investment. All institutions who responded focus on simple measurements like counting friends, likes, members, and followers.

Knock down the barriers

Every communications manager has faced barriers to using social media successfully and many are probably still facing them.

What are the barriers institutions face for having a formal social media presence or putting more effort into the practice? We have noticed that only a few institutions have allocated additional budget to social media or plan to do that in the near future. The lack of resources is the biggest barrier: Ninety percent are facing this challenge at their organization. Fifty-three percent don’t have the knowledge and awareness to have a formal presence or put more effort into social media.

Not all obstacles can be overcome, but identifying the reasons why social media is such a powerful tool is a step in the right direction. Seventy-four percent of respondents agree that social media tools have a great potential for achieving important goals in their institution and these tools have provided support for a whole range of objectives.

We also asked if the fact other institutions are active on Facebook, Twitter, and other media influences decisions on whether or not to join the club. Forty-two percent disagree with that statement.

Not surprisingly (but good to hear), is that all respondents agree to some extent that they would like to use social media more at their institution. We will continue to keep you updated on the state of social media at Swiss institutions of higher education and encourage you to check in regularly next week when we’ll be welcoming participants for our second social media study tour here in San Francisco. We will have a fresh blog post ready every day as we visit Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Facebook, Twitter, and many other important players in social media.