ESM Digital's Higher Ed Marketing Blog

5 Steps to Prevent Fragmented Social Media Marketing From Harming Your College’s Brand

Your school has its own unique brand.

You have strict guidelines about your presence online and in print and all stakeholders must adhere to the same institutional style guide. It includes elements related to your brand such as colors, fonts, logos, and images. It even speaks to voice and visual style. You’ve got all the bases covered.

Or do you?

Especially in the realm of social media, it can be difficult to speak in the varied tones that individual channels demand and still maintain a consistent brand voice. Departments, majors, clubs, sports and organizations that are all affiliated with your institution may all have their own unique style and social media presence—and that’s okay. However, they must closely adhere to your school’s mission and follow the rules you set. Otherwise you could jeopardize long term relationships, alienate prospective students, and cause irreparable harm to your overall brand.

Here’s what you need to do to ensure marketing fragments don’t shatter your school’s brand:

  1. Put someone in charge. You can’t make sure everyone is on the same page if no one knows what that page is. Someone has to own marketing integration. Whoever that person is, he or she needs to create rules and documents that are easy to use and follow.

 

  1. Start with your mission. Look to your institution’s mission statement and be sure that whatever tone is used by stakeholders, it does not betray who you are or what you stand for. But don’t stop there. Harvard’s mission may be to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society, but its motto is “veritas.” Truth. How can you be sure to incorporate the loftiest ideals into the simplest posts and tweets?

 

  1. Follow compliance. Your college has legal and ethical obligations that extend to the digital arena. Make certain that you adhere to them all.

 

  1. Conduct training. Before you give a thumbs up to the soccer team’s Facebook page, make sure the administrator understands what he can and cannot post. Teach him about the platform and what type of content will perform well and still remain true to your school. He should understand how Facebook differs from Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn. You will need to know a lot about individual platforms, but even more about your school and the message you want to send.

 

  1. Monitor all channels. A single institution can easily have a hundred different social media channels. They all get to have their own style and tone, but the voice needs to be consistently the institution’s. Who’s going to make sure that happens? See Step 1.

 

If you want to learn about the dangers of fragmentation in marketing and how to prevent it, contact us today. We specialize in marketing for higher education.

~Linda Emma