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Social Media Surveys at UCLA’s Career Center

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Social Media Surveys at UCLA’s Career Center

UCLA Career CenterWe monkeys are definitely not strangers to the land of social media. You can find us pretty much anywhere–Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even Flickr! Social media has made a huge impact on not only people’s personal lives but it’s proven to be pretty instrumental for all kinds of organizations–businesses, institutions and schools.

Social media in academia is where we have our survey spotlight on today so please join us in welcoming Stacy Harriman to the blog. Stacy’s a Career Counselor at the Career Center of University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and is here to share some of their best practice strategies and tips.

Take it away, Stacy!

Social media. Love it or hate it, it’s not going anywhere. For many Gen Y college students, their social media accounts are the first thing they look at when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they see before going to sleep at night. When college students are your target market, your social media presence is key in connecting with your audience and staying relevant.

At the UCLA Career Center, we faced a common challenge: How to maintain an effective and relevant social media presence that resonated with our audience and how best to manage this strategy internally? As we revamped our social media strategy, we wondered how other career centers and the employers who recruit college students manage their social media strategies–What are their struggles and successes? What can we learn from each other?

To answer those questions, we developed a survey using SurveyMonkey. The UCLA Career Center has created ver 760 surveys since 2003 thanks to SurveyMonkey. We recently introduced the results of our social media survey–“Proven Social Media Management Practices: The Data, the Tactics, the Testimony”–at the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Social Media Mashup. We were able to engage with an audience of college career services professionals and recruiters from organizations that hire college graduates.

Our sample of roughly 120 employers and 70 career centers nationwide (the number of respondents varied by question) yielded several useful insights that we were able to share with our colleagues at the Social Media Mashup. The open-ended responses furnished the presentation with some of our most captivating content, as they allowed for respondents to share their feelings and frustrations, as well as specific examples of what elements of their strategy have been most and least successful.

Our key takeaways that we shared at this year’s NACE Social Media Mashup.

  • Career centers most often have multiple staff from various units (career counseling, employer relations, IT, student workers, etc.) manage the social media strategy as a small part of their regular job duties.
  • Employers, on the other hand, were more likely to have one or more full-time staff dedicated to managing their social media strategies. These staff members most often worked out of Marketing, followed by HR/Recruiting, then IT.
  • Employers and career centers shared many of the same challenges managing their social media strategies. By far the most common challenge for both groups was a shortage of staffing and time, followed by a lack of strategic vision.
  • Career centers were more likely to struggle with a lack of buy-in and support from their colleagues, whereas employers more often felt constrained by a lack of freedom due to rigid approval processes.
  • For both employers and colleges, the most common elements of a successful social media management strategy included interdepartmental participation, involving college students in the implementation, and utilizing a content calendar to plan postings with intention.

While it’s difficult to draw any concrete conclusions from such a relatively small sample size (check out our sample size calculator), the survey we created via SurveyMonkey helped reveal trends that provided insight into how organizations utilize their staff to manage their social media strategies.

We look forward to conducting the same survey through SurveyMonkey again next year to see how these organizations are adapting to the rapidly changing social media landscape, and what new insights can be gleaned by their continued process of trial and error.

Looking to do some social media research of your own? Be sure to check out our social media templates here and don’t forget to download a copy of our sweet new e-book on all things social media!  And if you’re managing scholarship programs or grant applications, be sure to check out the awesome software available through our partner FluidReview.

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