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Many sites include them on their admission or alumni pages, but what about front and center?

Let's assume you have good content and an active userbase on FB, Twitter, etc. Should you do it?

Pros? Cons?

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Pro's: More fans on your social web presence, more interaction with your efforts, more possibilities for them to connect with others and engage with you.

Con's: The need to cede control, let go, and allow traffic to leave your .edu.

Should you do it? Absolutely. Detailed statistics below.

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(March 13, 2009 from http://squaredpeg.com/index.php/2009/03/13/research-social-media-ca...)
Research of 1,387 four year colleges and universities has been conducted to determine the usage of direct Social Media Callouts (SMC’s) to external social networking sites. Research was based on three criteria:

* Main .edu page
* Main Admissions/Prospective page
* Main Alumni page

Of the 1,387 four year schools researched:

* 285 schools (20.5%) had one or more Social Media Callouts (SMC’s) within the criteria
* 10 schools (.07%) had SMC’s on all three criteria (Main, Admission, Alumni)
* 56 schools (4.03%) had SMC’s on 2 of the 3 criteria

Of the 1,387 schools, 106 (7.6%) had SMC’s or links on the main .edu homepage. Of these 106 schools:

* 60.4% linked to Facebook
* 34.9% linked to YouTube
* 24.5% linked to Twitter
* 17.0% linked to Flickr
* 17.0% linked to MySpace
* 12.3% linked to YouTube (Embed)
* 2.83% linked to LinkedIn
* 2.83% linked to Flickr (Embed)
* 1.89% linked to Issuu

Of the 1,387 schools, 113 (8.2%) had SMC’s or links on the main Admissions site. Of these 113 schools:

* 64.6% linked to Facebook
* 24.8% linked to YouTube
* 18.6% linked to YouTube (Embed)
* 14.2% linked to Twitter
* 11.5% linked to MySpace
* 8.0% linked to Flickr
* 2.7% linked to Vimeo
* 2.7% linked to Issuu
* 0.9% linked to Flickr (Embed)
* 0.0% linked to LinkedIn

Of the 1,387 schools, 130 (9.4%) had SMC’s or links from main Alumni site. Of these 130 schools:

* 82.31% linked to Facebook
* 10.77% linked to MySpace
* 40.00% linked to LinkedIn
* 10.00% linked to YouTube
* 11.54% linked to Twitter
* 4.62% linked to YouTube (Embed)
* 4.6% linked to Flickr
* 3.08% linked to Flickr (Embed)
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Hey Brad!

This is some great data, but it seems more of a case of "everyone else is doing it" for your answer to "should you do it?" Granted I agree with putting SM icons on your University's website. One things to consider is what are you going to measure to see if it was successful.

Are the schools who are putting the icons on all three of the pages seeing more activity on their SM sites? How do the schools who are only putting icons on one page doing vs. putting them on all?

One other thing to consider before putting SM icons on the University's website is, Is it helping to accomplish the goal you set forth for your SM endeavors or is it just a way to generate a fan base number?

In our case, we have not yet, yet being emphasized, placed SM icons on a page to appear consistently. We currently have a Facebook ad type graphic that rotates with other graphics on a couple pages. There are some other big projects taxing our web development team which need to be conquered first.

I'd be interested to hear what some Universities' goals were in putting up the SM icons and if they have met, succeeded or had to re-evaluate their goals.

Bests!
We have data to measure activity on SM sites as a result of using callouts, but it's mostly for internal use. We just share this data for others to do what they will with it. :) Be sure to see Ann White's research at OK Christian, stellar stuff.
We started doing it in the footer, which appears on the homepage and every page. Just started this spring. With a student body of 10,000, we have 200+ fans so far. Our Admissions Director plans to revise her acceptance letter over the summer, and include the logos and a note about using them. My guess is that the letter to 5,000 new students will do more. We shall see.
We are putting FB and Twitter links in the footer as well. I agree with your comment about control issues, Brad. I have to remind our people that the desired outcome is alumni (prospect, community) engagement, not page hits.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I've added our prominent social media icons to the footer (www.juniata.edu). Will report back on their impact.
I'm currently working on redesigning our website and will be placing social networking icons on the homepage. So far we'll be using: facebook, myspace, twitter, youtube, flickr, possibly iTunesU (if I can get some podcasts from profs), and thinking about LinkedIn.

Do ya'll think having a linkedin icon on the homepage is a good idea? Or should that just be on the alumni page?

Are there any other social networks that we should use to help students stay connected?

Here is a link to one site I noticed that uses social icons on the homepage. http://www.deeside.ac.uk/index.php
you might want to take a look at AddThis. it's very customizable
We saw a lot of steady growth numerically for FB and Twitter after putting links and icons on our university homepage. Engagement is still in its infancy however.
Yes! The closest we came was developing an "Interact with Emory" page that is linked from the homepage.

http://www.emory.edu/home/about/interact/index.html
Because our campus is decentralized, we were hoping to put up a Connect with CSUF page similar to what you've got there at Emory. It's nice to have an example. Have you been able to measure whether or not it's successful?

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