Only a few years ago, many educators viewed social media with suspicion—maybe even disdain. The tide has turned, however, and now even colleges are getting into social media. Don’t believe us? Check out these examples:
Why counselors should start using social media
- It’s where your students are! There are an estimated 2.7 billion people worldwide using social media, with an estimated 185 million in the US alone. A huge majority of that are between the ages 18-29.
- Students access social media wherever they are, on any device. Gen Z isn’t just mobile first, they’re mobile only. An IBM study found that 73% of Gen Z use mobile devices for communication, and 74% spend their free time online.
- With so many students on social media, it’s an easy and quick way to reach them. How many students check their email more often than they check their Twitter feed?
Which social media platform to use?
Unless you’re a large team with a dedicated marketer, focus your efforts on one or two key platforms. We recommend a Facebook group and a Twitter account, but we’ve seen the entire gamut of social media:
- a Discord channel
- WhatsApp groups
- Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter accounts
- Tumblr blogs
If you’re a new user of social media, familiarise yourself with your school or consultancy’s social media policies as well as the basics of online safety. If you’re using an existing personal account instead of creating a new professional account (which we don’t recommend), doublecheck your privacy settings so students don’t accidentally see that one photo from 2012.
Most social media platforms will ask you to pick a username or handle—use your consultancy’s name, or your own full name. Make sure your profile, account, or group is identifiably yours. This can mean:
- a proper username (like @CialfoEdu, or @cialfoplatform)
- your logos or brand colours as a profile picture, cover image, or background
- a description of you or your consultancy
You don’t want a student or parent looking you up on social media and not being able to find you. The above points mean that not only are you immediately identifiable, you also look professional.
For example, if you visit our Twitter page, you’ll immediately notice a few things.
- We use the Cialfo Blue liberally.
- Our username is @CialfoEdu (because @Cialfo was taken…boo)
- Our description summarises what we do and who we are
- Our profile picture is of the Cialfo shield
- The cover photo promotes our recently released Google Chrome extension
There’s no mistaking our profile for someone else’s!
What to do on social media
After all that set-up, it can be a little daunting to know what to do afterwards. Fortunately, it only gets easier from here.
To engage with students on social media, they have to know you’re there. Tell them verbally, include the links in your email signatures, and add it to print-outs. Expect to do this multiple times over a long period of time to build a presence.
Some additional quick tips:
- Keep your posts short and sweet! Convey one point per post. And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll have a 280 character restriction anyway.
- Post regularly. Once a week is good, maybe more frequently during key dates. If you struggle remembering to post, tools like Buffer can help you schedule social media posts in advance.
- Respond! Social media is about engagement and relationships. If a student asks you something, reply to it. Participate in conversations, and feel free to reach out to anybody you wish—Cialfo replies to everybody who tweets or messages us.
- Similarly, respond to negative comments with grace and professionalism. Don’t be Amy’s Baking Company.
Don’t have enough time to work on your social media presence? Find the time by shaving off extra effort put elsewhere: read our post on meeting tools guaranteed to help you save time on scheduling.