The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Highlights from The Digital Campus’ Swiss Tour

Train in SwitzerlandGetting to know the particular context of our participants is crucial to understanding their needs and challenges. Our program meetings are excellent occasions to meet and exchange ideas but it simply does not replace sitting down for a long discussion with all relevant stakeholders. Our visits took us from Luzern to Basel, then to Lugano, Zurich, Bern, Chur, Lausanne, and even Liechtenstein!

After visiting so many institutions and learning about questions and challenges that kept coming up during our visits, I thought it would be worth sharing some of them.

Integrating social media into your Site

This was one of the most common questions that schools concerned with leveraging some of the content produced and shared on social media and their digital properties. We found that there are no magic integrations of social media with sophisticated automation. Instead the best examples showed that simple is best.

Seamless integration of YouTube videos.

Seamless integration of YouTube videos.

The videos above are integrated harmoniously on Vanderbilt University’s website.

Make the footer come alive with images from social media feeds.

Make the footer come alive with images from social media feeds.

Another simple but great example of how you can leverage some of the beautiful images you share on social media for your website.

BU Dean example

A great way to keep content dynamic and fresh: integration social media feeds.

Using social media feeds to populate some stale pages with is a great way to keep these pages relevant and fresh. We have seen this done on Student Housing pages for example, where most of the questions and answers happen on Facebook rather than on the website. By incorporating the social media feed from Facebook, useful information is also shared with website visitors.

Welcoming New Students

Getting students engaged before they arrive on campus can be a wonderful opportunity to get them to support you later on while they are students.

Examples vary from using Instagram to welcome the new entering class and giving away free goodies in exchange for likes. The best example came from Stanford University, which keeps helps the university keep in touch over the summer with new students through a weekly newsletter “Approaching Stanford,” centered around student life and useful information and also reminded incoming students of upcoming deadlines.

Approaching Stanford newsletter
As with many challenges that universities face, the solution not always lie with social media. But it can be part of the solution by leveraging other tools and platforms. Stanford’s newsletter above is not a standalone product but rather supports other initiatives that are not necessarily social media centered.

Coordinating with other content providers

Many universities find challenging effectively coordinating with other content providers in their own institutions. Our research shows that for the most part, that despite the plethora of technology tools available, the most coordinated teams meet face-to-face periodically.

Image credit: Meetcontent.com

If you are struggling to get started and motivate others, the best thing to do is lead by example. This means sharing your plans so that others are informed and perhaps can support you or get ideas for their communication. It can be as simple as using a Google Doc or Google Calendar.

Read Georgy Cohen’s great post on editorial calendars.

Social Media Directories

MIT connect

The most engaging social media directory: MIT’s.

Presenting your school’s social media accounts is a challenge to keep updated and even accurate. Not only it serves as an excellent internal resource but it’s helpful to outside visitors, students, press, and more. Find different approaches below:

Do you face any other challenges that you would like for us to tackle and share good examples? Let us know below. In the meantime, we wish you the best for the end of the year and a great, energetic start to 2013.

Author: Florencia Prada

Florencia Prada is the Head of Digital Marketing at swissnex San Francisco. While she loves all things tech, she tries hard not to get carried away by shiny objects and new ideas that are all too pervasive in Silicon Valley.