5 Steps for Creating Your Social Media Brand Presence

For universities eager to thrive in today’s cyber-centric world, social media isn’t just a tool. It’s a vital part of an institution’s engagement strategy, weaving together voices from across the campus and beyond. 

From bright-eyed prospective students and nostalgic alumni to supportive parents and dedicated faculty, your institution’s entire community can be united through messages and experiences shared on social media. 

The importance of maintaining a holistic brand image that resonates across diverse social media platforms cannot be overstated. Your university’s social media strategy is about so much more than just marketing and advertising — it’s about creating a cohesive story that reflects the spirit of your institution. 

The following five steps break down how to bring that story to life. 

1. Develop and Define Your Objectives 

Crafting an effective university social media strategy begins with clear planning. Start by setting SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound — that align with your institution’s broader objectives. 

Whether you’re looking to ramp up your application traffic, boost your students’ engagement, or spotlight your academic offerings, your goals should serve as the cornerstone of your strategy.

While laying out your goals, consider the unique characteristics of your institution, including its size, type, and student body demographics. Your social media strategy should reflect those characteristics. For instance, an online school that serves adult learners might showcase the flexibility of its courses for individuals who need to juggle full-time jobs or family commitments, while a community-driven liberal arts college might emphasize the advantages of its location and two-year program offerings.

As you outline your goals, you should also think about the logistics of your campaigns. Ask yourself the following questions: 

Addressing these questions from the get-go will help you build a focused and effective social media presence that truly resonates with your audience.

2. Identify Your Audience

Gaining an understanding of who you’re talking to is a pivotal step in designing a university social media strategy that truly resonates. Each segment of your audience — prospective students, current students, alumni, donors, and faculty — has distinct needs and preferences, and your content should be thoughtfully tailored to meet them. 

For prospective students, your messaging might focus on the vibrant campus life, academic excellence, and future career possibilities that await them. Alternatively, content for alumni might center on nostalgia, updates on campus developments, or opportunities to give back to the university community. 

In defining your audience segments, you need to leverage past social media analytics. Review which posts garnered the most engagement and the demographics of those who interacted with that content. This data is invaluable in helping you refine your audience segments, and will inform critical decisions such as which platforms are the right ones to spread your message. 

3. Choose Your Platforms

Selecting the right platforms is crucial to the success of your university’s social media strategy. Each platform offers unique strengths and targets different segments of your audience.


LinkedIn is ideal for showcasing the institutional achievements, examples of academic excellence, and faculty accomplishments of your university. It serves as a professional hub for alumni, recent graduates, university donors, and faculty, making it perfect for highlighting your professional development opportunities and academic programs.


Facebook’s broad appeal makes it suitable for sharing general university updates, news of major accomplishments, and student life highlights. It supports long-form content and videos, making it appealing to a diverse group of users that includes parents, families, alumni, and both current and prospective students.


Instagram is the go-to for visually engaging, “fun” content. It’s most effective for image-heavy posts and short-form videos that highlight vibrant aspects of student life. This platform tends to engage current and prospective students, as well as younger alumni, and drives significant interaction.

X (Twitter)

X is best for quick, timely updates about the university and for promoting calls to action like visiting a website. While not ideal for long copy or visual campaigns, it’s a powerful tool for driving engagement with content that’s relevant and timely, including memes and pop culture references that appeal to a broad range of alumni and current students.


TikTok thrives on short-form, trend-based video content. It’s a dynamic platform for engaging prospective and current students, and possibly recent graduates, through interactive and very current content. However, it requires staying up to date with the fast-paced nature of trending topics.


YouTube is essential for long-form video content that enhances your institution’s brand image. Videos on YouTube can effectively supplement and reinforce campaigns that have been launched through other social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, serving as a detailed visual storytelling medium.

By understanding the unique attributes of each platform, you can strategically tailor your content and approach to reach and engage with your intended audience effectively.

4. Develop Your Content Strategy

Creating compelling content for your university’s social media strategy involves a blend of creativity and strategic planning. Tactics for ensuring that your content not only engages but also resonates with different audience segments include the following:

Include Diverse Content Types

Your strategy should have a mix of content types to maintain interest and engagement.

Create a Strategic Posting Schedule

Develop a posting schedule that aligns with the times your audience is most active on each platform. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social can help you preschedule your posts and manage your content calendar to ensure your posts get maximum visibility and engagement.

Pursue Collaborative Opportunities

Identify potential collaborations that can amplify your reach and impact. For instance, partnering with your university’s campus alumni association could be beneficial if increasing alumni donations is a goal. Your collaboration options can extend to various university departments and off-campus organizations, enhancing the diversity and reach of your content.

By planning and diversifying your content, your university can effectively engage with its community, strengthen its brand, and achieve its specific strategic goals through social media.

5. Implement Your University’s Social Media Strategy

With your platforms chosen and your content ready, it’s time to put your university’s social media strategy into action! Here’s how to ensure effective implementation and continuous improvement:

Start Posting

Begin by rolling out your scheduled posts according to the content calendar. Ensure that each piece aligns with the strategic goals and voice of your university.

Monitor and Measure Results

Utilize platform-specific analytics or tools such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite to track key metrics like engagement rates and impressions for each post. These tools will provide detailed insights into how your content is performing and how users are interacting with it.

Conduct Regular Check-Ins

Establish a routine of weekly, monthly, or quarterly reviews to assess the effectiveness of your strategy. During these check-ins, evaluate which types of content are performing best and the demographics of those who are most engaged. This is crucial to understanding the impact of your social media efforts.

Make Strategic Adjustments

Based on the data gathered during your check-ins, make informed adjustments to your strategy. This could involve tweaking your content types, adjusting your post timings, or shifting your focus on certain platforms to better align with your audience’s preferences and behaviors.

By actively managing, monitoring, and refining your strategy, your university can maintain a dynamic and effective social media presence that grows and evolves with your audience’s needs.

Partner With Archer for Social Success

At Archer Education, we understand that a robust social media presence is pivotal for modern universities seeking to broaden their reach and impact. We help higher ed leaders and marketers not only keep pace but excel in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. 

Our dedicated team is here to assist your institution in harnessing the full potential of social media, from developing a compelling content strategy to refining your approach based on analytics. Ready to elevate your university’s social media game? Contact our team at Archer Education today and discover how our services can help you achieve social success.

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