Social Media and Advancement: A Report on Data from 2010–2012


Social Media and Advancement: A Report on Data from 2010–2012

Aug 27, 2012By Michael Stoner

If you want an indication of how much has changed in the way institutions use social media in advancement, consider that fully 50 percent of campaigns use social media in campaigns of one sort or another.

That’s just one of the findings from the 2012 CASE/mStoner/Slover Linett survey of social media in advancement. This year is the third in which we’ve conducted this research and the three years’-worth of data provide a compelling view of what has changed — and what has remained the same. You can learn (a lot) more about our findings in our white paper, “#SocialMedia and Advancement: Insights from Three Years of Data.”

Here are some of our key takeaways this year:

  • Facebook remains the dominant social channel (96 percent of respondents use it), and 86 percent consider it the most successful channel 
they use. (This hasn’t changed much over the past three years.)
  • The top goals for social media are engaging alumni and enhancing brand image.
  • Just 22 percent of respondents consider their social media efforts “very successful.”
  • Twitter use is up, and it’s considered to be more effective than it was last year. LinkedIn and YouTube also grew in importance.
  • Fewer institutions are using proprietary community solutions supplied by vendors.
  • There is a slow but steadily growing acceptance that social media effectively amplifies institutional communications–though less certainty about its value in fundraising.
  • Half the institutions that responded are using social media channels as an integral part of campaigns, with outcomes that range from boosting attendance at events to raising money.

In addition to reflections about our findings from the three years of research we’ve conducted, we also completed case studies of how seven institutions are using social media in campaigns of various kinds:

  • University of Wisconsin–Madison: Crowdsourcing #UWRightNow” focuses on a day in the life of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Webster University: Summer Ticket Giveaway” details how Webster drove visits to their website and campus at a traditionally low-traffic time of year using various social channels.
  • Elizabethtown College vs. Messiah College: Battle of the Blues” describes how the colleges used their traditional football rivalry as the focus of a campaign to spur young alumni giving.
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI): Alumni Spirit Day” motivated RPI alumni to engage with their alma mater on Facebook–and in real life.
  • The Johns Hopkins University: Fantasy Reunion” used fantasy football as an inspiration and created a game to inspire alumni participation in Reunion Weekend.
  • The College of William & Mary: Ampersandbox” paired a website with a distinctive viewbook consisting of a deck of cards to recruit prospective students and engage the community.

You can download a PDF copy of the white paper here; and share this url with others:

The Topline Report on 2012 Social Media & Advancement Research findings is here.

The white paper from 2010, “Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement,” is here; share this url:

  • Michael Stoner Co-Founder and Co-Owner Was I born a skeptic or did I become one as I watched the hypestorm gather during the dotcom years, recede, and congeal once more as we come to terms with our online, social, mobile world? Whatever. I'm not much interested in cutting edge but what actually works for real people in the real world. Does that make me a bad person?