Introducing the Executive Playbook for University Leaders: 11 Steps to Become a Social Leader

May 25, 2016

You’ve heard it a million times: “You’ve got to be on LinkedIn!”

So you created a profile. Awesome! But then you thought, “Okay... now what? What does it really mean to ‘be on LinkedIn’? And am I making the most out the platform?”

Fear not, we’re here to help.

As a university leader, you have a unique set of challenges. From engaging prospective students to generating alumni support and connecting with the academic community, LinkedIn is the ideal social network that enables you to achieve these goals. People seek out higher education as a first step in launching or advancing their careers, and guess what? They join LinkedIn for the same reason. It’s a natural fit.

To help you take advantage of the ways to make your university stand out, we’ve launched the Executive Playbook for University Leaders as a simple, step-by-step guide to leverage LinkedIn to influence stakeholders, nurture valuable relationships and position your school at the forefront of academic leadership.

Because these days, simply “being” on social media isn’t enough. Today’s audiences trust people, not institutions, so it’s important to reveal the human side of the university - starting with its leaders. You need to establish yourself - and your school - as a savvy, social leader and not just a passive bystander.

The Executive Playbook for University Leaders provides 11 indispensable tips to help elevate your presence on LinkedIn. To give you a taste, we’re sharing three of them here.

1. Offer an authentic, human face to your school

Individuals prefer social media to traditional forms of marketing for one key reason: authenticity.

Therefore, it’s crucial to be yourself and speak like a regular person, not a press release. People zone out when a bio reads like a textbook, so save the academic speak for the classroom. When you set up your profile, don’t be shy to write in the first person and express yourself as an individual.

Represent your school by regularly sharing university news updates with your network and feel free to include personal comments expressing your enthusiasm. Consult with your public relations team on leveraging LinkedIn to provide important announcements and promote a positive image for your school.

2. Be a voice of your industry and build thought leadership

Individuals look to universities as providers of knowledge, so you are already in the unique position of being regarded as an authority in your field. Leverage this advantage by sharing your insights on the topics that interest your community.

You can start a social conversation in a number of ways:

  • Post relevant articles or videos and provide your own personal thoughts on the subject
  • Share presentations you’ve given that demonstrate your unique expertise
  • Write and publish your own blog posts through LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform to stand out, increase your following and build even further credibility for your school’s brand

3. Be where your prospects, students and donors are

Your stakeholders are having meaningful conversations on LinkedIn, and you need to take part.

Take some time to comment on posts from students and alumni. As the face of the school, your personal efforts to connect and engage will make them feel special and strengthen their affinity with the institution. And as a bonus, their connections will see your comments, further increasing brand awareness.

Students and alumni are your most important brand ambassadors, so nurturing your relationships with them is a vital marketing strategy.

Richard Branson, business magnate and founder of Virgin, likes to answer a few customer questions a day to stay engaged. He knows that relationships are everything in business and fosters them at every level. He even asked followers for advice on naming a new division of the company, because when constituents feel involved, they have a greater stake in the organization’s success.

Download our Executive Playbook for University Leaders for more tips like these, plus learn how to:

  • Create an engaging profile by following our visual guide
  • Build relationships to fuel the enrollment and giving cycle
  • Connect with your university’s key stakeholders and contacts
  • Stay on top of the leading ideas in your industry
  • Understand your competition and potential disruptors

LinkedIn can serve as the ultimate secret weapon in a university leader’s arsenal. Download the Executive Playbook for University Leaders and learn how to use it for success.