Everywhere you look around the world these days, people and organizations are using social media to connect with each other. Auburn University is no different. The university has adopted six social media platforms to communicate and interact with students, alumni, fans and many more.
Brock Parker is the multimedia specialist in the Office of Communication and Marketing, and he oversees and manages all of the department's social media platforms. Before taking this position over five years ago, Parker worked as a reporter for WTVM channel 9 in Columbus, Ga.
Auburn University had just recently adopted a few social media platforms when Parker began working in the department, but it looked very different then compared to now. "Back then we would post something occasionally as a university, but since then we have gone to several social media seminars and conferences and talked to our peer institutions," Parker said. "We are now starting to more and more tailor our social media needs and messages for various audiences."
With the demand for social media increasing year to year and the department's ability to supply this need, these new ways of communication have grown dramatically. "The growth has been good, actually phenomenal the past few years," Parker said. "Two to three years ago our Facebook page had around 50,000 to 60,000 likes and fans, and now we're sitting at more than 278,000 likes and fans, with our twitter page gaining 10,000 to 12,000 new followers a year." In other words, the Facebook page has experienced a 500 percent increase in just two to three years.
Facebook and Twitter are certainly the most popular outlets, but Instagram has started to catch on and gain followers as well. Because every account varies in its primary audience, each platform has varying numbers of fans or followers relative to the target size and interaction.
"Twitter is definitely where we get the most feedback from students, while on Facebook we get a lot from alumni and just regular fans who may not have gone to school here," Parker said. "We get tagged a lot on Instagram by students around campus which is pretty cool."
Even with this steady growth in social media, the department at Auburn faces similar challenges that all communication organizations face today. "The biggest challenge for us is getting the information out in a timely manner, but making sure it is still 100 percent correct," Parker said. "We're always correct, so that way there is no speculation or second guessing as to facts that have happened when something breaks."
Here are the websites for each of Auburn University's social media pages: www.facebook.com/auburnu, www.twitter.com/auburnu, www.instagram.com/auburnu, www.pinterest.com/auburnu, www.youtube.com/auburnuniversity and www.plus.google.com/+auburnuniversity/posts. For more information, visit www.auburn.edu/socialmedia.