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BC Earns Recognition For Effective Social Media

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Boston College was ranked ninth nationwide on Mashable.com’s list of most social colleges and universities, which was published on Sept. 29. The ranking was based in part on universities’ Klout scores, which show how influential a particular institution is on social networking websites.

As of publication time, BC’s score was 89 out of 100.

The Klout score is designed to help universities, businesses, and other organizations better understand their social media presence. It is based on the number of times an institution is interacted with on various sites, in relation to the amount of content it creates. On Twitter, for example, the buzz created by 1,000 retweets of 100 original tweets adds more to an institution’s score than if followers retweeted 1,000 of the institution’s tweets 100 times.

The number of mentions or likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter, and connections on LinkedIn, among interactions on other sites, all contribute to scores. As a result, these scores are constantly fluctuating.

“We’re happy to see BC’s social media presence recognized by external indicators of success, because it supports what we believe to be true—that social media at BC has been and will continue to be on an upward trajectory,” said Patricia Delaney, co-chair of BC’s Social Media Council (SMC) and Office of News and Public Affairs Deputy Director.

BC first became involved in social media in 2009, when the SMC created Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages for the University. Since then, BC has become active on Flickr, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. The University has over 25,000 Twitter followers and an average of over 300,000 weekly impressions on its Facebook page.

“Our social media channels serve a number of functions,” said Melissa Beecher, co-chair of SMC and social media manager for the Office of News and Public Affairs. “We’ve done everything from answering admissions deadline questions to providing a platform for an alumna trying to establish a library for the students at her New York City school. In that case, book donations came in from people across the country.”
BC’s social media presence has remained strong in part because of SMC’s efforts to provide guidance and promote collaboration among departments. According to Beecher, there were over 300 accounts representing various aspects of BC last year. SMC was created last March in order to help these and future accounts become more effective. It has representatives from 31 BC departments, ranging from each of BC’s schools to athletics and BCPD.

The council has created a set of social media guidelines, which provide tips on how to use various sites strategically and how to deal with negative reactions to content, as well as a blog and social media directory.

“The guidelines were developed over the course of two months through intensive review of peer institutions’ guidelines, business leaders’ best practices, and exploring shared experiences as social media practitioners,” Beecher said. “We view the guidelines as a living document. As social media changes and new issues arise, we will continually update the guidelines.”
Beecher and Delaney both expressed the hope that the council will become a resource for the BC community and a synthesis of other social media resources and knowledge.

In the near future, SMC plans to create a website that contains information about all available resources, develop a formal policy proposal for social media usage at BC, and host social media experts to talk about effective practices and new technology.

“The work of the council is to maximize resources by bringing together everyone playing a role in the virtual identity of the University and move us forward together,” Beecher said.

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