About CASE

Pam Russell
director of communications


For Immediate Release
April 19, 2011

Survey Finds Educational Institutions Developing Social Media Policies, Struggling with Resources and Measurement

WASHINGTON, D.C.—More schools, colleges and universities are developing policies to guide their use of social media, but few are measuring how social media impacts institutional goals, according to the results of a study on the use of social media in advancement.

The second annual CASE/mStoner/Slover Linett social media survey, conducted in February and March 2011, asked institutions about the status of social media initiatives by campus admissions, alumni relations, communications and fundraising offices. More than 950 respondents provided feedback on what social media tools they're using, how they're staffing social media initiatives and their barriers to success.

The results indicate that most institutions - 96 percent - are actively using social media tools to engage constituents, but many are struggling to adequately staff and evaluate their efforts, says Cheryl Slover-Linett, president of Slover Linett Strategies Inc. Slover Linett partnered with mStoner, a higher education communications consultancy, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, to field the survey.

"There's a lot of chaos," Slover-Linett says. "If the evolution of social media is like raising a child, we're at the end of the toddler years. We're working with something that's going in a lot of directions, that we know has potential, but we're not yet sure what it's going to grow up to be."

Nearly all institutions using social media are using Facebook, while 75 percent are using Twitter, 65 percent are using LinkedIn and 65 percent are using YouTube, according to the survey results. The top goals for using social media are to engage alumni, create and sustain brand image, engage current students and increase awareness.

Michael Stoner, president of mStoner, says institutions that are measuring the effectiveness of their social media initiatives tend to focus on participation rather than outcomes at the moment.

"Institutions are looking at the number of ‘friends' and ‘likes' and the level of participation," he said, "but they're still trying to figure out how to measure the impact of social media on behavior. There are very few institutions measuring the impact of their social media initiatives on institutional goals, such as recruiting students or alumni participation."

In the year since the first survey was conducted, Stoner said, the use of Twitter has increased, more respondents believe that social media have value, and more institutions have policies in place to address branding, content, legal and policy issues. Still, the percentages of institutions without policies tends to be greater than the percentages of those with them, he said, and 37 percent of respondents indicate that they plan on developing formal policies in the year ahead.

Survey respondents indicated that primary barriers to successful deployment of social media are inadequate staffing, lack of support from above and lack of expertise and funding. About 25 percent of institutions have at least one full-time staff person fully dedicated to social media, with the balance working part-time on social media initiatives.

Factors contributing to success in social media include having specific goals and plans, having institutional buy-in and support, ability to manage activities with a department, and having internal expertise.

The results of the survey were initially presented at a CASE conference on social media and community. Download copies of the conference presentation slides and initial survey results.

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 Slover Linett (www.sloverlinett.com)
Cheryl Slover-Linett
Slover Linett Strategies Inc.
+1 773-348-9204

Based in Chicago and founded in 1997, Slover Linett is an audience research firm for the culture and education sectors. Studies range from market research to program evaluation and outcomes assessment designed to reveal how well institutions are connecting with their audiences and how that connection can be deepened and broadened. Clients range from the Columbia University and the University of Chicago to the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Smithsonian Institution.

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