LinkedIn, the network that aims to link professionals with potential employers just launched its University Pages. These new pages are meant to help prospective students find the college or university that fits those best. Connecting with those institutions, their alumni, current students or even prospective students are some of the features students will be able to use starting September 12. Additionally, LinkedIn has brought down student limit age from 18 to 14 in the US and Canada to help grow its base of professionals networking on its platform. Two hundreds colleges and universities got the beta University Page. Among them, a few Canadian universities, including York University, McGill University and the University of British Columbia. Thousands of additional schools are expected get access to University Pages in the coming weeks.
Here is some of the information your college will be able to share on its University Page:
- Images: logo, cover photo, gallery (McGill’s off to a great start with a video!)
- Basic Information: Name, Name alias, Description, Website, Address, Email
- Detailed Information: Institution Type, year level, Financial Aid, Tuition, Degrees, Fields of study, Population, Student/faculty ratio, admitted %, Male/female, %receiving Aid, graduation rate
- Notable Alumni
- Featured Group: where colleges can add the institutions’ alumni groups of different faculties
- See Also: this section allows you to add your institutions’ company page
Currently, if you have a company page for your college, you can share updates. University Pages will enable you to target your messages to different groups that are part of your community, alumni, and current students. You will also be able to create a custom target audience by categories such as location, education, industry, company, and even more. You will also be able to reinforce your higher ed institution branding by adding to your gallery images of your campus, facilities or videos showcasing your uniqueness.
Here is what students can currently see if your page is being created:
What does it mean for your college?
This could be a game changer in your social media strategy. Indeed, University Pages offer you:
- A built-in audience: University Pages will certainly enlarge your college’s audience by making each and every person that has listed your institution to his or her resume follow you automatically. This does not mean that they will still like the page after a while, but it creates a base audience that your marketing team could take advantage of.
- Access to alumni: Thanks to University Pages, higher education institutions will be able to quickly and easily access all of their alumni who are on LinkedIn. Schools can drill down by area, job and job type and target those who are in lucrative positions for fundraising.
- More accountability for your results: Because it enables prospects to see who has graduated from this university, where they live and the type of job they have, the University Page is some sort of a “no-cheat” page where students can check potential schools and the actual career paths they provide. This could impact your lead generation strategy for international students who will be able to see who from their country has studied in your school, what the alumni do, what is there path after graduation and for parents who will be able to gauge the potential return on investment of your college possible.
- Rethinking your LinkedIn strategy: Overall, this new tool could become a key tool for colleges and universities in their recruitment strategy and online marketing and it will require that you rethink your whole strategy. The added accountability is only one aspect of the changes. University Pages will also require that you include a younger audience in your strategy. It will also change your approach to LinkedIn groups and alumni groups in particular. Also, high school students who are looking for colleges or universities will now certainly go and search on these pages. However, it will also be a new challenge for your content strategy as the content to be shared on University Pages will not be the same as the one shared on Facebook.
Should you get rid of your company page? The LinkedIn University Pages are not a replacement to the current company pages that universities and colleges use. However, University Pages is the perfect place to have conversations with your audience, alumni, students, parents or prospects, answer their questions, and engage. Company pages, on the other hand, are the place to position your school as an employer.
How do I create a University Page for my school?
To request a new University Page, you must have a University email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) added and confirmed on your LinkedIn account. You must also be able to prove that you are a current employee of the school and your position is listed in the Experience section on your profile. If all the requirements are met, then contact LinkedIn with the following information:
- The URL of your school’s official website.
- The country where your school is located.
- If you will NOT be the administrator of the page, list the email address for the correct administrator.
- If applicable, list the existing Company Page associated with your school. If the school is part of a larger university system, you will be asked to add any other existing University Pages. Some universities may consist of several campuses, affiliated schools, by giving this information these schools will be featured in the See Also section of your University Page. Note that you can have an administrator manage different University pages.
For more detail, read Karine Joly’s excellent post on how to request your LinkedIn page.
Here are two videos, one aimed at colleges (below), and the other, aimed at students:
If you need any help creating and implementing your SM strategy, please contact us.