LinkedIn which is now considered “The World’s Largest Social Network” is introducing University Pages where the students can find not only all the necessary information about the university itself but also information about university alumni and their postgraduate career paths.
University Pages was launched in late August and so far already about 200 universities have set up their pages, with USA at the head. LinkedIn plans to increase this number to thousands if the projects proves successful for currently set up university pages.
In particular University Pages allow students to access campus news and activities, ask questions of the school, engage with current students and alumni; research the careers of graduates of various universities and see which have produced notable alumni; network post-graduation with classmates for professional purposes.
Universities may include the following items on their University Pages: images and videos of the university, updates and news; basic descriptive and contact information; male/female ratio, % receiving aid, graduation rate; Notable alumni etc.
There is also a section in the right-hand column that shows “Similar Schools” since often students consider different options when choosing schools.
According to Hubspot LinkedIn University Pages have high potential for recruiters noting that Linkedin provides information about alumni base including where alumni live and work, what industry they are in, what they studied and their specific skills.
This is a lot more interesting to prospective students than the “push” marketing they often get (e.g., brochures) that can’t as dynamically make a link between an institution and the success of its graduates.
Moreover, as LinkedIn University Pages can now be accessed from the age of 13, it is possible to establish a relationship with students when they are in high school, just beginning to think about what universities they will consider and actively looking for indicators of reputation, alumni networks, and return on investment.
Hubspot advises the universities to provide more specific and detailed information to students who indicate particular interests; collect students’ emails and other contact information; encouraging current students to give their feedback aand testimonials; encourage alumni to share their experience with prospective students thus promoting the brand.
It’s important to understand that University Pages are not a replacement of the current company pages that universities and colleges use. Rather, on University Pages schools can connect with their alumni, students, parents or prospects, answer questions, and engage their audience. Company pages, on the other hand, are the place to position your school as an employer.
So what is the main difference of LinkedIn from Facebook? Jessica Winters, owner of jLink Marketing and Coordinator Marketing & Social Media at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands concluded that while Facebook is personal and informal, Linked In is corporate and professional. So this should be taken into account while addressing the audience.
In this respect Forbes makes an interesting observation that “Fun-seeking adolescents will stick with Facebook’s gossip friendly format. Meanwhile, their most ambitious classmates will be drawn to LinkedIn’s newest treat: bar charts full of information about the career paths of alumni from hundreds of brand-name colleges.”
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