In this previous post, I had talked about the Relevance of Social Media for Universities and the impact it can have on students. Universities have the opportunity to engage students, both prospective and current, with content that can truly differentiate them from other schools. Schools can use social channels to share resources and provide information to students about themselves. Well now, with the recent announcement of University Pages by LinkedIn, schools have an additional avenue by which they can reach out to students.
LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, has decided to branch out to a younger audience by targeting teens that are considering enrolling into college. The social network has launched pages for its first 200 schools – including my school – Northeastern (Go Huskies!), Boston University, Boston College, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Villanova, University of Michigan, Babson, Tufts, University of California San Diego and many more. LinkedIn spokeswoman, Crystal Braswell said that LinkedIn plans to ultimately reach their goal of 23,000 universities worldwide.
The pages serve as a networking tool for prospective students and alumni, while also providing a source of relevant updates for current students. In my previous post, I had highlighted different audiences that universities can target using social media, and with the new LinkedIn pages I want to examine the opportunities it can offer for each of those audiences:
Prospective students are tasked with the challenge of researching universities and often have to visit multiple sources to get all the information they need. However, with the new LinkedIn University Pages, schools can directly engage with prospective students. Universities can answer questions that students may have, provide updates about campus news and activities, and provide information about various majors. Building a network of current and past students also provides prospective students with the ability to contact them for first-hand experiences, tips and even recommendations.
University Pages would also serve as a reliable source of information for current students. College students can receive updates on regular campus activities and can engage in a conversation with the school on various topics. A big challenge for college students now is finding a job. Most college students look for internships that could help create a skill-set, which would appeal to employers after graduation. With University Pages, students could contact alumni for job opportunities or gather information about their industry and the opportunities available to them after graduation.
Alumni can use University Pages to connect with former classmates and receive updates on their alma mater. Alumni could also connect with new students and help guide them in their respective careers or academic endeavors. Universities could utilize alumni contacts to build an internship or co-op program that connects incoming students with potential employers. The school page could also function as a resource for graduating students who need information on the job market, or a particular industry and wish to contact alumni regarding these topics.
Donors and benefactors can now connect with students and identify scholarship opportunities. Universities could also use their page to keep donors informed about the school’s progress and the opportunities available to its students.
LinkedIn’s University Pages offer a wide variety of opportunities and possibilities for a diverse group of people. They can successfully meet the needs of students while empowering universities with the ability to engage with their community. High school students will be able to create profiles and can include information on test scores, extracurricular activities and volunteer work. LinkedIn also stated that beginning Sept. 12, they would lower the minimum age for members from 18 to 14 in the U.S. and 13 internationally. The lower sign-up age will allow younger students to leverage Social Media and create a professional network. Social Media offers a unique opportunity to connect and share information, and with LinkedIn’s University Pages students and schools can benefit from this opportunity.
What other opportunities can University Pages offer? How do you think students can benefit from it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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