February 24

Why You Must Use LinkedIn for Your Higher Education Social Media


Recently, LinkedIn announced that they were adding a university ranking system.  LinkedIn analyzes millions of alumni profiles across different careers, then uses those results to measure the outcomes of colleges and universities around the world.  Here is the example that LinkedIn gives on its education rankings landing page of how the concept works:

Here’s how we found the top universities for Software Developers:

  1. First, we identified the top companies where Software Developers are choosing to work.
  2. Next, we found people on LinkedIn who work as Software Developers and saw where they went to university.
  3. Finally, for each university, we found the percentage of these alumni who’ve landed Software Development jobs at these top companies, then compared the percentages to come up with the list.

With 2 million companies on LinkedIn and 77% of jobs posted there, it is little wonder that college students have caught onto its power.  In fact, a recent Forbes article proposes that college freshmen should major in LinkedIn.  However, it won’t stop there.

LinkedIn had already opened the door to prospective college students by allowing high school students over the age of 13.  Now with powerhouse LinkedIn dipping its toe in the college search waters, there are even more reasons for higher education to consider LinkedIn as part of its social media strategy.

LinkedIn and Higher Education Social Media

So what does this mean for your higher education social media efforts? Because LinkedIn is looking for outcomes in order to rank your institution, it is critical that your alumni are sharing their stories and keeping their profiles current.  While you obviously cannot control alumni profiles, you can develop a strategy to encourage alumni to become a raving fan.

  • Make sure you have an engaging and up-to-date University Page on LinkedIn.  You should claim your University Page even if you already have a Company Page.  They are significantly different.  (UPDATE: LinkedIn merged university and company pages in 2016.)
  • Reach out to your alumni base to encourage them to build a LinkedIn profile if they have not already done so, and to update existing profiles with educational and career information in particular.  Explain how this will benefit the institution.
  • Ask your alumni for a recommendation on your University Page.  Even consider incentives to do so, such as a drawing or give-away for those who respond.
  • Set up LinkedIn groups where alumni and friends of your institution can be engaged and even answer questions for potential students.
  • Consider LinkedIn ads targeted to high school students.

Social Media Strategy Keeps You on Target

LinkedIn is only one component of a comprehensive higher education social media strategy, but its importance may grow as LinkedIn adds its considerable weight to the college search arena.

If you have specific questions about using LinkedIn or about your overall social media strategy, please feel free to contact me.

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