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Gettin’ Schooled on LinkedIn University

January 28, 2014

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In August 2013, LinkedIn rolled out a new feature, University Pages, in order to help students make a decision on their future institution. It sounds great for them, but for social media managers, it might just feel like one “new thing” to figure out. LinkedIn carved out a special place for each institution, which can be claimed by way of an email exchange. Once it’s claimed, you might be asking yourself a few questions.

  1. What’s the difference between this and a LinkedIn Business Page?
    The University Page is connected with a user’s education history, while a Business Page is for work history. And no, you can’t connect the two. Sorry, social media managers, you now have another page to keep an eye on. Because these are two separate pages with unique audiences, it’s helpful to determine a strategy for content – leading us to the next question.
  2. What kind of stuff do I have to put on this LinkedIn University Page?
    These pages were built for prospective students to better understand your institution. LinkedIn University Pages leaves spots for information regarding tuition rates, academic programs, and even notable alumni who are off doing great things thanks to the education the earned at your institution. Most of it is fill in the blank, including the ability to upload pictures and video. Aside from this static information, you can submit updates however often you’d like, similar to the LinkedIn Business page.
  3. That didn’t answer my question! How are these updates any different than the Business Page?
    The main way to determine the difference sits within your intended audiences. The Business Page is tied to work history, and therefore your current, past, and future employees will be paying special attention to this page. Suggested ideas for content include: job postings, Human Resources updates, internal news, leadership/professional development opportunities, college foundation/campaign updates, or workforce training initiatives. DeVry Univeristy and University of Michigan provide helpful examples.
    On your University Page, the intention is to better inform prospective students about your institution. Here, you can provide them with scholarship information, promote specific academic programs, encourage them to connect on social media, drive them directly to your admissions page, or tell them anything else you want them to know!
  4. Not too many high-schoolers are on LinkedIn in the first place, is there anything else I can do with the LinkedIn University Page?
    Even though the intention of the University Pages were to talk to prospective students, it’s important to remember the potential these pages have for our current students and alumni. By completing the “Notable Alumni” section, it encourages them to stay up to date and connected to the University Page. This section also shows prospective and current students the opportunities they will have after graduating with a specific degree.

LinkedIn University Pages can be strengthened by encouraging current students to join. Once they’re involved in the page, not only will they be able to network with alumni, but they will also be able to network with other students who are earning the same or similar degrees, which is especially helpful for larger institutions with a great number of students in each academic program. LinkedIn was originally built as a professional networking tool, and these University Pages can help to continue serving that purpose! Each institution can provide updates to prompt networking amongst group members when they see fit.
Having a large number of current students actively involved on the University Page will also result in a strong and growing alumni network as years go on, as well as a wealth of information for prospective students. If, for example, a prospective student asks a question on the University Page regarding classes for a specific degree, that question can be answered by current students and alumni, instead of the usual “generic” response the institution may give. This will help prospective students build connections and feel comfortable with the institution even before they fill out the application.

It is most important to remember that LinkedIn has already created a unique University Page for each institution. Even before it is claimed, the page can be found with a quick search.

If using LinkedIn Pages does not fall at the top of your priority list, you can rely more heavily on other relevant departments to assist you in curating content. University Pages, much like Business Pages, allow for multiple administrators who can create a new update. Collaborating with departments such as Financial Aid, Career Services, Admissions, or even Residence Life will provide enough interesting content for prospective students, current students, and alumni.

For some great examples, check out:
New York University
University of Illonois at Urbana-Champaign
Syracuse University

Have you seen any good examples of University Pages? Share them with us!

Photo Credit: galleryquantum via Compfight cc

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