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NTU: Using social media to engage with students

Rish Baruah was recruited to Nottingham Trent University (NTU) as a careers consultant with a social media remit. Here, he discusses the challenges of establishing a social media presence that conforms to the demands of corporate identity and gives his top tips for using social media successfully when engaging with students.

Background

Many of you reading this will have fought the familiar battle of being encouraged to use social media for your work, but against a backdrop of management and marketing departments who are worried that you will fail to conform to the corporate identity. Therefore, it was great to have permission at the time of recruitment.

Linked to the School of Art & Design, I got to work straight away, creating artanddesigncareers.wordpress.com, with a linked Twitter account. The interest was small but significant, with articles and promotion of events getting a few hundred hits on a good week. We also used the blog as a repository for information and resources from events that we organised, such as Fusion.

Social media and corporate identity

I mentioned the two 'M' words earlier: management and marketing. The management department has been wonderfully supportive, but marketing has been more complex. As other members of the Employability Team have adopted social media, the strategy has changed: the corporate identity has been refined with a new YouFirst logo emblazoned on our website and print materials and, to establish some formality, we have had to adopt uniform blog and Twitter handles.

The result, at the time of writing, is that my Twitter handle has changed twice, firstly to @NTUCareersAD, and latterly to @NTUYouFirstAD, and the wonderful blog title artanddesigncareers has morphed into NTUYouFirstAD.wordpress.com. I needn't tell you that this is a bit of a mouthful when reading out to a roomful of students desperate to get away for their lunch.

Top tips

Here are my five top tips for establishing a social media presence:

1. Get the name right, but be aware that other people will have their own ideas. My blog and Twitter names have changed due to corporate demands.

2. There will be upsets along the way. I have had angst bemoaning the loss of artanddesigncareers.wordpress.com, due to our team being rebranded as Employability and the implementation of the YouFirst campaign.

3. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day, and using social media to engage with students is rarely as instant as many would think; it is more of a drip-drip effect, based upon direct contact with students and via their course leaders and administrators.

4. When it works, it gives you a warm glow. I feel proud every time we get a new student following us on Twitter, or saying that they read something on the blog.

5. Just because you don't see instant results, doesn't mean it isn't working. I can count the student comments on the blog on the fingers of one hand, and we don't get many student tweets. That doesn't mean they aren't looking, though; Wordpress and Hootsuite give you the stats to prove it.

Further information

Please email Rish Baruah, Careers Consultant at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), or you can contact Rish via @CareersRish.


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Tags: University Nottingham Trent University blog twitter social media

Created on: 31 January 2014

Last updated: 01 February 2014


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