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Student Survey Results: How Important is Social Media?


Marketing departments everywhere have been scurrying to build social media presences over the past few years.

But should your organization really focus on social media at the expense of other marketing efforts, especially when it comes to marketing your events and programming?

This summer, we asked Localist calendar users at Cornell University, University of Delaware, McDaniel University, and Towson University to answer some questions for us about their schools’ online presences. Of course, some of the questions focused on online calendars, which is what we do at Localist.

While we surveyed schools, the results we obtained offer insights for any community manager who markets events online.

Although some of the results were expected, a few of our findings surprised us. Read on for some data that we weren’t expecting and how you can use this information to help tailor your organization’s online calendar software to what your students want.

1. Email is still a preferred mode of communication.

58% of students indicated they’d still like to hear about events via email, while 54% indicated they’d like to learn about events through Facebook, and 20% through Twitter. That means your weekly email blasts aren’t going entirely unheeded—students do rely on them to find out what’s going on.

So, while your normal social media efforts will still find many students, it’s important to continue to use email as a communication tool. After all, a majority of your students want to receive emails about events. For more on sending event emails, read our advice about email newsletters.

2. Students want to check their calendars on the go.

42% of students said they wanted better mobile versions of the calendar. 79% wanted to be able to see event details on a mobile calendar app, and 58% would like to be able to see events near their current location. This makes a lot of sense: students are likely to check up on the latest events while they’re walking to class, eating with friends, or riding the bus—all times when they won’t have their computers open. In fact, we designed our new native mobile app, Tailgate, just to help schools improve their mobile calendars.

3. Strong content is key.

60% of students want to see more details in event listings. It doesn’t matter what channels you use to promote your content if the information you provide isn’t detailed and compelling. More information about events will help students see what is really going on and whether they want to attend. Another simple but important note is that 47% of students said they’d like to see more events on the calendar. By providing more events, which you could do by opening up event submission to community members, all groups are represented and you’ll be able to provide a fuller picture of the social scene on campus.

While promoting events through social media is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of other distribution channels like email and mobile. Plus, no matter how much you promote events, you certainly won’t see results if your content isn’t strong on its own. When it comes down to it, content is king—people want to know what the options are and what they’re getting into before allocating their time. Your content is really what makes your calendar an indispensable tool for your users.

We’ve got more results where these came from! We’ve broken them down to help you figure out how to make your calendar a regular part of your community’s lives. To see the full results of the survey, click here.

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