Very recently LinkedIn lowered the age requirement for joining the platform from 18 to 13 years old. Though some individuals may object to the younger demographic participating on the platform, this change, which coincides with LinkedIn’s launch of University Pages last month, presents a great opportunity for universities to connect with their target audience – prospective students.
What are University Pages?
University Pages allow educational institutions to showcase their brand, current happenings and success stories. Features of the new University Pages include:
- Aggregated Alumni Career Information – This section allows you to inform prospective students what your alumni are actually doing with their degrees from your institution. You can show two groupings – the names of specific workplaces where alumni are employed and fields that alumni work in (for example, marketing, administrative, entrepreneur, etc.).
- General University Information – This should contain a clear concise summary of the university, including a brief history, student population details, any awards and honors and key attributes that differentiate the university from others.
- Public News Feed – This feature should be used to inform current, prospective and past students about university events, news and awards.
- Notable Alumni – Featured on the sidebar of the Page.
- Featured LinkedIn Groups – This should point others to LinkedIn Groups that are associated with the University. Not only are these great for alumni to engage with each other and forge professional connections, but these can also be used for prospective students (and their parents!) to observe and engage in conversations with current and past students.
Tips to Maximize Presence on University Pages
University Pages aren’t that different from other social platforms in the sense that you can’t just “set it and forget it.” Here are a few tips to maximize your presence on this platform once you’ve set up a LinkedIn University Page:
Promote your Page via other social platforms. Cross-channel promotion (informing Facebook community members and Twitter Followers about your LinkedIn Page, for example) will aid in building awareness and encourage both students and alumni to get connected to the Page. The more alumni you have connected to the Page, the more data (in the form of testimonials and group participation) you’ll have available for prospective students to view.
Be active. Having fresh content (updates on news, university events, etc.) will tell prospective students what you’re about and will increase their excitement about your university. It will also keep current and past students connected and informed, also increasing their satisfaction and likelihood to stay involved (on campus, online and last but not least, financially).
Drive back to your website to measure activity and capture information. By driving traffic from your University Page to your website, not only are you able to provide potential students with more information but you’re able to capture information from them. This can be as basic as their name, email and address but you can also ask for their year in school, potential area of study and where they are in the decision-making process so you can follow up with personalized information that will aid in pushing them along the funnel. Of course, be sure that proper tracking is in place so that you can measure how University Pages produce these actions and thus a return on your investment (time spent maintaining a presence on the platform).
Any university can contact LinkedIn about setting up a University Page, so use this opportunity to make the 2013-2014 school year the best yet!
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