Back to School: Social Media 101

By Sam Sudakoff It seems like just days ago that I was engrossed in the mad scramble to put together a resume filled with moments of overachievement and noteworthy job experiences for the typically extensive search for a summer internship. News flash! It’s now August, which means that there is only one thing my mind, BACK TO SCHOOL! Time to pack in those last few summer memories and head back to Indiana University for another epic and final school year!  But now as my “Buzz Buildership” comes to a close, I’ve started to think about the social media presence of my soon to be alma mater. Does my school have a strong, and dare I say it, #likeable, online voice? Have you ever wondered how your own college or university influences others? What is its Klout Score?!

Social media has gone from a fun and addicting hobby to a way of life. Facebook and Twitter have transformed from being simple entertainment platforms to essential marketing tools for individuals, businesses, brands, and even products. Through social networks, I can convey anything and everything about my life experiences as they happen and am able to immediately engage with people near and far. This engagement is especially helpful for these next few weeks before I return to school; I can make plans, get excited, and even ask questions to my fellow classmates as we all finalize our plans for our grand entrance onto campus.

Though social media serves a great purpose for those individuals preparing for school, it also serves as a great advertisement tool for every college or university itself. As soon as I mention Indiana University, all of my friends and followers immediately get updates about it. A simple word of mouth, a tweet, a status update, or a message from one friend to another is all it takes to spread awareness and market your college brand.

Not only can universities gain followers through such advertisements, but they also can expand their reputations through social media with only a few moves on the keyboard. By simply posting updates, facts, questions, or responses about the school itself, a college or university can attract a great following.

Enough anticipation, the wait is over, here’s how some of the top colleges and universities market themselves via social media. In the world of social media, you don’t have to be a Harvard, Yale, or Princeton grad to be Ivy League. Here are some tips to improving YOUR school’s social media presence:

Facebook: Post pictures of activities happening around campus. Update your status about daily athletic competitions and scores, shows, and gatherings. Not only is Harvard the birthplace of Facebook, but also has over 500,000 members in its Facebook community. Boston University keeps its 31,766 student body more intimate by responding to student inquiries on their Facebook page.

Twitter: Post daily updates of campus life. Share links to articles about the school and tweet back to any @mentions you receive. Be transparent and #likeable because people want to know what’s really happening, not just a guided campus tour.

 Youtube: Make an official YouTube channel and upload information, educational and entertaining videos. Interview students. And every once in a while we can only expect the cliché “come to this school because…” video.

Foursquare: Create a page! Let students check in to places on campus and even create a badge or two. Leave tips at the hottest spots around campus. In fact, Foursquare launched Foursquare for Universities, an official program to partner with colleges nationwide. Also, college students are encouraged to sign up for the startup’s ambassador program, which will give participants Foursquare swag and tools for spreading the word about the geo-location based app.

So what does your alma mater do to be #likeable on social media?  What ways do you influence the social media presence of your college or university? 

If you are heading back to school or know somebody who is in the New York City or Boston area that is looking for an incredible learning experience as a Buzz Builder for this fall check out our latest listing on Mashable.