More often than not, when anyone goes online and connects to LinkedIn, that person is most likely looking for a job. Very rarely does one use the site the same way as Facebook or even the archaic, now defunct Friendster (though there are some groups that have noticed the rise of socializing on LinkedIn). More often than not, matters on LinkedIn are kept professional – strictly business.
There are ways, however, to still be able to use LinkedIn for Marketing, Promotions and Communications purposes. It still is a social network site, after all. One that is geared towards the professional arena, but still built on the foundations of people who know people.
“But what about schools?” you may ask. It’s true that marketing an educational institution is different from marketing a certain product. One may measure marketing success in relation to units sold, whereas it isn’t so clear cut in schools. Despite this oddity, Educational Institutions may still use LinkedIn for Marketing Communications and Branding purposes.
Register as Employer
Let’s face it. LinkedIn IS a go-to for job seekers. So using the Human Resource Management function of the site is the most practical reason for visiting. Through the different networks, groups, and connections, your school will be able to find the right people (whether academic or non-academic) to help it move towards its Mission of Educational and Academic Excellence. As you find the right people, your customers (the students and other stakeholders) will serve to promote the school better through word of mouth.
Did you know Linkedin came up with LinkedIN for Higher Education?
List under Universities Category
Just like with other Social Network Sites, LinkedIn employs a search bar for quick information retrieval. Sometimes, though, searching using generic keywords may not guarantee that your brand will be found. LinkedIn has a number of subcategories under which you can narrow down your search (by clicking on the symbol to the left of the search bar) such as People (if you’re searching for a specific individual), Jobs (for employment opportunities), and even Universities (for educational institutions). Now, LinkedIn doesn’t bother with technicalities such as status (some educational institutions aren’t classified as universities), so this includes all schools.
Once the University Page is made, it can be searched through the subcategory (which increases the likelihood of result generation compared to a general search), and the page can also post updates and announcements as a brand.
School Administrators as Influencers
Unless their current job in the educational institution is their first one after graduation (which is possible), then school administrators have their own professional experiences to share. School personalities normally have much more to impart as they climb the ladder to corporate and educational success. In fact, school officials normally share more than corporate officials because as they make their way up the corporate strata, they also earn more academic experience as evidenced by diplomas, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, and other certificates. Having these individual as Linkedin Influencers is not only good for their professional image, but also for the school as well, as they carry the name with them in every post and update.
Employees as Brand Advocates
As a social network, LinkedIn increases the chance of brand exposure the more users are attached to the brand. If, for example your school has around a thousand employees, and all of them are connected to the school brand on Linkedin, then that means their other connections on the site may also see whatever post or update the University Page has, as these will appear on their wall due to the engagement of their common connection. And, as social network hierarchy goes, the higher the reach, the bigger the potential for engagement.
Aside from also employing Alumni as brand ambassadors (as with employees, see #4), University Alumni can also be monitored for outcomes purposes. Schools normally track the progress of their graduates to see what has become of them after graduation, which tends to reflect the competency of the school as a quality educational institution. More renowned schools like Harvard and Yale aren’t famous because of the number of graduates they have produced, but because of the quality outcomes of the said graduates. On a social network such as LinkedIn, these graduates can also serve as influencers, sharing their knowledge and corporate experience to the online professional public.
With the right combination and application of the aforementioned examples, community managers of educational institutions will be able to carry their reputation and brand far across the realm of cyberspace and into the dimension of recall, especially to the curious newcomer who has not been influenced by territorial reputation.