All institutions are struggling to engage with their constituents using social media tools. But how are they doing?

With plenty of help from CASE, we set out with our research partners, Slover Linett Strategies to learn how institutions are using social media in advancement and answer some basic questions:

Are constituents commenting, liking, and otherwise interacting with the Facebook pages sponsored by institutions to engage alumni, influence parents, encourage donors, and build awareness of institutional messages and brands? What are barriers to use of social media in institutional advancement? How do we measure success? What does an effective social media program look like?

For the last couple of months, we’ve been working on a white paper summarizing what we learned from that research with CASE. Its finally finished: here’s a PDF of the report.

The white paper offers a look at the data we gathered and offers some of our insights on what we learned—with comments from Andrew Gossen, Charlie Melichar, and Andy Shaindlin, who were instrumental in leading the CASE task force on social media and helped to inspire and shape this research, along with Rae Goldsmith from CASE. It also includes an appendix on how admissions offices are using social media and four case studies illustrating particular effective institutional uses of social media.

If you’d like to take a look at the raw data, you can find it here: Topline Results from the CASE/mStoner/Slover Linett Social Media Survey.

And you can read “Social Experiments,” [note: login required] the article Cheryl Slover-Linett and I wrote about this research for CASE Currents, November/December 2010.

Michael Stoner

AUTHOR - Michael Stoner

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? Find me on


  • Jay Goulart

    Interesting white paper. Not really sure what the true take away is……any tips? Hope all is well.  Regards

  • Michael Stoner


    I think the takeaway is that we’re all newbies at social media and procedures, policies, models, norms, measurement are all evolving. In some institutions, pretty rapidly, but even they would acknowledge they have a lot to learn. This isn’t the time to sit back, but to think about focused experiments, managing resources (people and content) across channels, and learning how to engage with constituents in the channels you choose to emphasize.

  • Jay


    That was kind of my take away…I think the title of “Succeeding” with Social Media was a disconnect to the deliverable. I think that study did show what you just outlined. I hope some day a study that evaluates success achieved as it relates to amount of risk or focused experiments at some point may be a great lesson for the educational industry . As always thank you for your time and perspective. I appreciate your continued position of thought leader. Regards j

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