In today’s social media world, the marketing function of your higher education institution extends well beyond your in-house marketing team. 

Now that any one individual can build an audience of thousands, every member of your university community is a potential marketing agent. That includes every academic, staff member, student and parent. Chances are, somewhere in your community are individuals with more followers than your entire university.

If you want to leverage that potential, you’re going to need to equip staff and students with the tools they need to engage with your brand. This week’s blog post is dedicated to bringing you exciting ideas to help stimulate conversation and activate your brand on social media. Let’s take a look at how you can make the most of your social media community.

Question and answer

Every teacher loves the age-old format of asking a question in class and picking from a sea of raised hands. The problem is that for every student that gets to speak, there’s a whole class of students who got passed over. Social media can help us make sure a larger range of voices is heard. All you need to do is post a question on Twitter with a hashtag and ask students to post their responses. Then you can discuss the results together in class. It’s the perfect format for open-ended, brainstorming questions that ask students to get creative. Plus, you’ve just got an entire lecture hall full of students engaging on social media.


You’d be amazed at the power of brain teasers to engage an audience, especially when the answers are surprising. Many academics create public quizzes on social media using their classes as an initial audience. Once they’ve generated enough activity on campus, the quiz can sometimes go viral, attracting interest from audiences around the world. The power of this kind of activity to engage audiences with your brand should not be underestimated. 


Today I Learned – or TIL – is an extremely popular forum on Reddit. People post interesting facts that they learned that day and readers build a discussion around them. There’s no better place for this kind of format than a university campus, where students and academics are constantly exploring new ideas and making discoveries. Encourage academics to lead a TIL discussion with their students over social media. It’s a great way of bringing new ideas into the classroom and engaging both students and the wider audience with fascinating facts.

Video presentations 

Classroom presentations are a staple of formative classroom assessment and make for great ways to engage students. The only problem is that, once the presentation is over, it’s gone forever. Instead of doing live presentations, try filming students as they present their findings. You can even ask them to submit presentations by video if everyone in your class has access to a webcam. Not only can you review the videos at a later date, but you’ve also created a huge stash of interesting content that can be posted on social media – with students’ permission of course. 

Don’t forget your hashtags

Hashtags are essential for keeping social media content organised. Not only that, but they’re the best way of keeping discussions and content aligned with your university brand. Your academic leaders should be free to innovate when it comes to hashtags, but bear in mind that they may need some guidance on how to implement social media in the classroom. Some training around managing social media activity could be beneficial. You can even share these ideas with them.

With a bit of forethought and organisation, social media can be an incredibly powerful tool for raising your university profile. However, it also works great as a teaching aid, helping students engage with each other, your institution and your brand. Just make sure that staff have the tools they need to manage it correctly.