A major step in creating a social media strategy for my department (Carleton University’s Teaching and Learning Services) is to analyze our target audiences: faculty and instructors.
Luckily, Carleton houses some demographic information on its academic staff, so after some research I was able to find out that our faculty is approximately 65 percent male and 35 percent female. About 44 percent are aged 45-59, while 32 percent are 30-44 and 24 percent are over 60. And as far as education levels go, all have post-secondary degrees, with the majority holding a Master’s or PhD.
When it comes to the psychographic side of things, based on my research and experience, Carleton’s educators are a mix of leaders and followers. They seem to enjoy learning from their colleagues, but also like sharing their own ideas and experiences. So when it comes to strategies that would be effective in communicating with them, I think it’s important for us to get them to reflect about their own teaching experiences and engaged in discussions about what others are doing.
A perfect example of this was a Tips for Teaching campaign that really worked well for us recently. We solicited the teaching and learning community to submit a tip that could help others with their teaching and posted a different piece of advice to our blog each day in March. The click-through rate to the teaching tip page was the highest for any campaign we’ve ever done.
As far as tools go, many educators seem to be on Twitter and Facebook, but one of our best vehicles is our blog. Getting faculty and instructors to contribute and share their ideas has worked for us in the past. Teachers like to teach, so why not get them to teach each other?
The one thing that I always question is how to target two audiences at once? Surveys don’t seem to get very high response rates at our university, so how do I know how educators who are 30-44 like to be communicated with versus how those who are 45-59 prefer to be addressed? And if there’s a big difference how do I know which approach to take? Have you ever faced a situation like this? And if so, how did you deal with it?