SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff are encouraged to follow the College’s official social media platforms to stay current on campus news, whether it involves a popular guest speaker or a weather-related emergency.
The College saw a major climb in its Facebook and Twitter followings during the 2010-11 academic year and representatives hope that the trend continues.
“Overall, we saw more of a buzz on our social media sites this past year, particularly on Facebook,” said Michelle Cryan, the College’s web communications manager.
Participation on SUNY Cortland’s main Facebook page wasn’t limited to prospective and current students, Cryan said. The conversation included alumni and local community members, too.
“When someone wants information, whether they’re a student or an alumnus, they’re going to look for it in a way that’s convenient for them,” Cryan said. “For a lot of people, social media is the most convenient way.”
Jillian Tucker, a senior admissions officer at SUNY Cortland, frequently contributes to the College’s Facebook page when students pose questions related to admissions. She likes to see different students join the conversation and attempt to answer the questions of their peers.
“I have found that sometimes it’s best to wait a little before responding because other current or even prospective students tend to chime in with the answers,” Tucker said. “I monitor the page and respond where needed, but oftentimes the students kind of take it and run with it.”
In addition to answering questions promptly and accurately on Facebook and Twitter, College staff published more news items, photography, and video content on both platforms. The numbers show that people were paying attention.
The number of weekly active users of the College’s main Facebook page — people who interacted with or viewed it at least once a week — jumped from 272 in July 2010 to 1,854 by the end of June 2011. That means the number of weekly active users was nearly seven times greater than it had been the previous year.
“We always want our Facebook page to be a fun way for people who are interested in the College to connect,” Cryan said. “We want it to be cool and we want it to be engaging.”
On the College’s main Facebook page, a story from August about the $7 million renovation of the Cheney Hall student residence building generated plenty of “likes” and a number of comments about campus living decades ago.
“You see this really large yet close-knit family,” Cryan said. “You love to see people reflect on their time at SUNY Cortland, especially when it involves alumni connecting with prospective or current students.”
Feedback, which includes the number of “likes” and comments related to Facebook news stories, more than doubled in 2010-11 from the previous academic year. The increased feedback is an indication that College-related news is catching the attention of SUNY Cortland Facebook fans.
“It’s exciting to see the growth in social media,” Cryan said. “We’ve done well so far, but it’s a matter of keeping the SUNY Cortland conversation going.”