Director of Communications
For Immediate Release
April 16, 2013
Institutions See Value of Social Media as a Strategic Tool
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Schools, colleges and universities worldwide are increasingly using social media in campaigns to raise funds and steward current and potential donors and to connect more often with current students, prospective students, parents, faculty and staff.
The fourth annual CASE/Huron Education/mStoner social media survey, conducted in February and March of 2013, asked advancement professionals at education institutions about their use of social media. More than 1,000 respondents provided feedback on the tools they are using, how they use them, challenges they face and what they expect as return on investment.
Facebook continues to be the most popular platform with 96 percent of respondents using it versus 82 percent on Twitter, 75 percent on LinkedIn and 71 percent on YouTube. However, the use of platforms other than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube has decreased as compared with results from the 2012 survey—blog and Flickr use have both declined by 13 percent. The decrease in use of other platforms is due to an increased focus on strategy and an intentional approach to the investment of resources in new channels.
"Institutions have moved beyond just wanting to have a presence on social media to thinking more strategically about the value of each platform to their institution as part of an overarching strategy," said Cheryl Slover-Linett, a consultant at Huron Education. "They do, however, recognize the need to act quickly when a new platform, such as Instagram, emerges that will allow them to engage with a specific audience.
Respondents continue to feel stretched in terms of staffing with just 33 percent of institutions having one or more people dedicated to social media. Seventy-two percent, as compared with 61 percent in 2012, believe that a champion is essential to the successful implementation of social media.
There is also an increased interest in quantifying return on investment for time spent on social media and a correlation between robust tracking and perceived success.
"The majority of survey participants believe that measuring return on investment of social media efforts is still a challenge—38 percent as compared with 33 percent in 2012—but those who believe their social media efforts are effective also reported using robust tracking mechanisms," said Rae Goldsmith, vice president of advancement resources at CASE.
This year's survey delved into the use of social media for fundraising—35 percent of institutions use social media to raise private donations, and among those, 41 percent are using social media for stewardship or donor communication.
"While the number of institutions that use social media for fundraising has increased, only 33 percent have raised more than $10,000 directly through social media," said Michael Stoner, president of mStoner Inc. "Although we hear reports of institutions that have raised substantial amounts by focusing on a fundraising goal and using Facebook and other social channels to spread the word and encourage giving, I also know that many people view social media as a way to engage constituents, not as a fundraising channel. I suspect we'll see both an increase in gifts over time and continuing efforts to focus on the value of social channels for engagement."
Survey participants' indicated the importance of:
The detailed results of the survey were presented at the CASE conference on social media and community on Wednesday, April 17. View the top-line findings and the presentation of those findings.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.
CASE was founded in 1974 and maintains headquarters in Washington, D.C., with offices in London (CASE Europe, 1994), Singapore (CASE Asia-Pacific, 2007) and Mexico City (CASE América Latina, 2011).
Today, CASE’s membership includes more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries around the globe. This makes CASE one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations in terms of institutional membership. CASE serves more than 74,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of its member institutions and has more than 17,000 professional members on its roster.
To fulfill their missions and to meet both individual and societal needs, colleges, universities and independent schools rely on—and therefore must foster—the good will, active involvement, informed advocacy and enduring support of alumni, donors, prospective students, parents, government officials, community leaders, corporate executives, foundation officers and other external constituencies.
CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with all of these constituencies by providing relevant research, supporting growth in the profession and fostering support of education. CASE also offers a variety of advancement products and services, provides standards and an ethical framework for the profession and works with other organizations to respond to public issues of concern while promoting the importance of education worldwide.
About Huron Education
Huron Education is the premier provider serving the unique needs of the higher education industry. Our team of professionals, each with extensive knowledge and experience in the business of higher education and academic medical centers, delivers comprehensive services to the industry and partners with institutions to improve business performance across the enterprise. Our professionals draw from their experience working in the strategic, financial, operational, and regulatory aspects of higher education to develop and implement the most effective consulting and software solutions. Huron Education has helped more than 95 of the nation's top 100 research institutions improve their performance so they can continue their traditions of extraordinary achievement. Learn more at www.huronconsultinggroup.com/highereducation or follow us on Twitter: @Huron.
Based in Chicago and founded in 2001, mStoner provides sustainable communications solutions to education institutions. We help clients to tell the authentic stories of their institutions by clarifying their brands' unique value propositions, recommending a content strategy to ensure that the brand gets communicated effectively, and implementing that strategy in a unique and compelling way across the web, mobile, social media, print, and other channels. Our clients include more than 250 colleges, universities, independent schools, graduate and professional schools, and trade associations.
Contact: Michael Stoner, president; Michael.Stoner@mStoner.com; +1.802.457.2889