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Pam Russell
Director of Communications
CASE
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For Immediate Release
March 19, 2014

Survey Results Indicate Social Media's Impact on Educational Advancement Continues to Grow

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Schools, colleges and universities worldwide are increasingly using social media to connect with alumni, donors, students and parents, according to the results of a survey on the use of social media in advancement.

The fifth annual CASE/Huron Education/mStoner social media survey, conducted in January 2014, asked advancement professionals at education institutions about their use of social media. Nearly 2,000 respondents provided feedback on the tools they are using, how they use them and which are the most successful. They also shared information on how they measure results.

"When you look at the five years of survey data, you see how valuable social media has become to advancement," says Michael Stoner, president of mStoner. "Five years ago, we wrestled with determining ROI from what were then unproven channels. Now, social media plays an important role in an increasing number of campaigns and leaders are using it to engage their constituents."

Social Media and Institutional Goals

Eighty-six percent of respondents rate their use of social media in meeting goals as successful. The top five goals, which are consistent with 2013 survey results, are to:

  • Engage alumni (84 percent)
  • Create, sustain and improve brand image (77 percent)
  • Increase awareness, advocacy and rankings (61 percent)
  • Engage current students (56 percent)
  • Build internal community (49 percent)

More than 50 percent of respondents said social media was most effective for increasing engagement with their target audiences while 13 percent said it was most effective in increasing awareness of the institution.

William Walker, interim vice president of advancement resources for CASE, said as more institutions turn to social media as a resource in meeting institutional goals, they need to think strategically about how the use of those media supports their overall advancement approach.

"With the changing nature of social media and the regular emergence of new platforms, it is essential for institutions to keep an eye on the big picture and ask themselves constantly how various types of media can contribute to achieving the desired results," said Walker. "The effectiveness of individual platforms can best be judged in that broader context."

Most Used Platforms, Growth in Instagram Use

Facebook is the most used social media platform (95 percent), followed by Twitter (82 percent), LinkedIn (76 percent) and YouTube (68 percent). Other key stats:

  • Ninety percent of respondents consider Facebook the most successful platform followed by Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube at 58 percent, 36 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
  • Instagram saw a jump in use—from 27 percent in the 2013 survey to 42 percent in 2014—and the percent of respondents who saw it as the most successful platform for meeting goals grew from 5 percent in 2013 to 14 percent in 2014.

"While advancement professionals are rightfully cautious about spreading themselves too thin, many have embraced audience niches in social media—using Instagram to connect with current students and young alumni is a perfect example," says Jennifer Mack, senior researcher at Huron Education.   

Social Media in Fundraising

More institutions are using social media as a fundraising tool—from 41 percent in 2013 to 47 percent in 2014—and 82 percent say one of their goals for social media is to raise private funds. According to the survey, the most common fundraising use for social media is for annual fund solicitations. Nearly 70 percent of institutions use both social media and non-social media channels, such as email or letters, to thank their online donors. Thirty percent will only use non-social media channels.

Barriers to Success in Social Media

Respondents cited a lack of staff dedicated to social media as a barrier to greater success. This included staffing for day-to-day content management (53 percent), staffing for site development (45 percent) and lack of relevant human resources (42 percent).

The detailed results of the survey were presented at the CASE conference on social media and community on Wednesday, March 19. View the top-line findings and the presentation of those findings.

Uses of Facebook to Address Specific Educational Advancement Audiences

Types of Social Media Used by Educational Advancement Staff, 2013 and 2014

About CASE

CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, fundraising, marketing, student recruitment, stakeholder engagement, crisis communications and government relations. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.

CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,700 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves nearly 88,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.

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.

About mStoner

mStoner, Inc., helps clients to tell their authentic stories by clarifying their unique brand value proposition, creating a content strategy to communicate the brand effectively, and implementing compelling and dynamic communications across the web, mobile, social media, print, and other channels. We focus on research, data, and results. Since 2001, we've worked with more than 300 colleges, universities, and professional schools in the U.S. and abroad. We produce HigherEdLive.com as a free resource for professionals in education. For much more, visit our website.

Contact: Michael Stoner, president; Michael.Stoner@mStoner.com; +1.802.457.2889

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