One Million Reasons Your President or Head of School Should Be on Twitter

“It costs us nothing to be on Twitter, but as you can see, we can even land million-dollar checks because of interactions and also major collaborations with institutions such as NASA…That’s a great ROI.”
– University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono (@PrezOno)

Your institution probably has a presence on Twitter. But does your President or Head of School personally have an active, engaging presence on Twitter? If not, it might be time to reconsider Twitter’s role in your Social Donor Management strategy.

But the right way to convince your institution’s leader to join Twitter isn’t to run over to his or her office and start talking #hashtags, selfies, and @ symbols. As with all social platforms, the right approach is to start with your President’s strategic priorities and then consider whether Twitter—or any social medium—could support those priorities.

Start by asking yourself, or your President, the following questions:

  • Is growing our applicant pool and improving admissions yield a priority for my President?
  • Is improving student connectivity with administration leadership a priority for my President?
  • Is fundraising and alumni engagement a priority for my President?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions—and I hope you did—Twitter is likely one of the highest ROI communications investments you can make. But don’t take my word for it. University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono makes a compelling, ROI-driven case in his recent interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Twitter Increases Alumni Relations

“When I tweet about upcoming alumni events, such as in Washington D.C., we’ve noticed that the number of individuals that actually show up sometimes doubles or triples compared to the year prior.”

Twitter Increases Dollars Raised

“At least three or four occasions people have written to me, or on the spot have said, that we’re going to give you a $50,000 check or a $60,000 check—in one case, a million dollar check—because of the connection that you have with current students and alumni through Twitter.”

Twitter Supports Academic Excellence

“I was tweeting with an alumnus before I was going on a trip to California, and I didn’t know that this individual, called Tom Davis, was quite a senior manager at NASA’s Ames Research Laboratory…That resulted in the University of Cincinnati becoming a Space Act Agreement University, which opens the resources and facilities and funding from NASA up to our faculty and students. So that started because of a Twitter interaction.”

President Ono isn’t alone. Among institutions in the EverTrue network, Amherst College President (@Biddy_Martin), Northeastern President (@PresidentAoun), Andover Head of School (@Jpalfrey), and The Hill School Headmaster (@ZackLehman) are building authentic relationships with prospective students, parents, current students, and alumni.

Don’t encourage your President or Head to join Twitter because it’s trendy. Encourage them to join Twitter because it aligns with the goals of your institution.

To truly reap the benefits of your President’s social presence, read this blog post to learn how you can use social data to get insights on individual alumni.

President Ono’s full interview is available below. Happy Tweeting!

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