From the category archives:


Higher Ed Communication Evolution

by Lauren on March 31, 2010

Higher education is near and dear to my heart. Over the past three years, I have seen instructors, students and curriculum evolve to embrace new ideas and technology at an astounding rate. In every class taught, I have incorporated hands-on social media training. Sometimes the addition to the curriculum brought about backlash from fellow faculty members and complaining from students who feared the additional work. Yet, at the end of the semester my perseverance was rewarded with the smiles and work of students who overcame their fear of the unknown.

Much of how and what I taught about social media was discovered through trial and error and discussions with fellow instructors. This is why I applaud Jon Hussey of American University for taking the institution to new levels of communication and relationship building. However, after reading the interview between Jon and John Moore, I am concerned about those developing social media strategies in the highered space and their views regarding policies, CRM integration and ROI. And it is not just American University who is struggling to find their way, I recently sat down with a group of educators who wanted to embrace social media, but were encountering road blocks at every turn.

Go Beyond the Channels

Social media goals, objectives and strategies cannot be based on channels (such as Twitter and Facebook) exclusively or there will not be any longevity in your social media endeavors. Strategies will forever be contained to campaigns instead of invested programs if there are no measurable goals and objectives (aligned with overall business goals) in place prior to social media engagement. You have to know where you are going to obtain the results desired. What are you measuring? Why? Yes, do listen for and determine where your community is talking and creating so you can begin to engage in those locations, but do not limit your opportunities because of the channels.  

Embrace Policy

Did a shiver just run down your spine with the mention of a policy? Sharing best practices and conversing with fellow employees does not replace the structure needed when an organization enters social media. Having a social media policy in place is not to box in the participants, but to provide education and structure for how to engage online, and empower your workforce to operate within accepted and encouraged boundaries with the freedom to be themselves. Online interaction is 24/7. Your policy will need to address how the workforce is engaging online during work hours and when they are not at work. Your workforce is representing the organization every time they interact online, even if you have a single “official” voice or limited number of official online spokespeople.

Provide clear guidelines for engagement and disclosure, so that all employees can represent themselves and the company clearly and professionally. By allowing your workforce do what they do best and act as your representative, your organization can gain valuable social capital, credibility, and opportunity. Radian6 (my employer) has some great resources about how to develop a social media policy and engagement guidelines. Check it out and discover you no longer have to be afraid of policy.

Speak C-Suite Lingo

ROI is not about influence, but about talking the same lingo as executive management. It all comes down to dollars and cents. Tracking clickthroughs is superficial information unless you can map the navigation to actions such as downloading a whitepaper, requesting more information or purchasing a product/service. If you aren’t familiar with Olivier Blanchard, he knows a thing or two about how to properly calculate ROI. View his presentation on the Basics of Social Media ROI and go beyond HITS.

Organizations spend millions of dollars to implement CRM tools and processes. Ensure you understand how your social media tools and strategies mesh with back-end systems like CRM. Relationship building through Twitter is not CRM unless the data is being captured in the same profile as all other correspondence. What is CRM? According to, “True CRM brings together information from all data sources within an organization (and where appropriate, from outside the organization) to give one, holistic view of each customer in real time.” Remember, you want your social media strategies to become more than a campaign, but integrated into your programs…so learn to speak the language of those pulling the purse strings.

Kudos to those universities that are diving into social media and transforming higher education. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Do what you do best…educate yourself on the ins and outs of social media and how it integrates into overall business practices and objectives. You will take your lumps, but keep on trudging after lessons learned.


CLE Comm 355: Week 3

August 31, 2009

I have posted student URLs on this class blog (right sidebar). Please check to see if your name is on the list. I have had issues with Clemson email address and I am trying to reconcile Clemson and Gmail inbox. If you do not see your name on the site and you are enrolled in [...]


Attn: Clemson Students Week 1-2

August 26, 2009

Students, I apologize, but I am in the middle of moving cross-country from Dallas to Boston. Please email your blog URLs to me no later than 30 August to or I am still having some technical issues with Clemson email address, so you might want to CC the gmail address. The first blog [...]


CLE Comm 355-400: Blog Creation

August 16, 2009

Please note, your syllabus requires you to create a blog for class use. We will discuss the reasoning and use for blog in first class, but please, set-up a blog prior to class through Creation of blog is simple and FREE. It is your choice to use another blog platform. Please note, when creating [...]


Education: To succeed, just be good enough

August 4, 2009

My head is spinning….I am sure if you were to step inside my office, you would see a scene from The Exorcist! Why am I so on fire today? With the direction from David Mullen (@dmullen) (H/T), I read the CNN article, Alumna sues college because she hasn’t found a job. To sum up the [...]