When we think of social media in education abroad we generally think of brief and compelling messaging like posts, tweets, blogs and photos. With social media, we also think how we might like, follow, re-tweet or pin other peoples activity to stay active in front of our target audience. As promoters of education abroad we often struggle with just what to put into our networks and yet, one of the best forms of social media content is often overlooked, that of the study abroad review.
Being in the business of collecting and leveraging student reviews, Abroad101 has found that reviews make great social media content. As with other social media, a review comes from the student’s voice. A study abroad program review contains both quantitative data (ratings on a 0-5 star scale) and qualitative data like comments, descriptive passages and feedback on various program features. Reviews on Abroad101 are especially designed for social media sharing (syndication) as each review has its own unique web page (URL) and has its own comment section below the review.
In addition to the home university and the program name, the Abroad101 reviews have more than 35 other fields including a descriptive title created by the student and an introductory passage around the theme – “was it worthwhile?” Sharing these reviews with your followers is great Social Media content and a good way to highlight the success of recent education abroad alumni and get other communities on your campus to recognize the success of study abroad students.
Students are increasingly doing their own promotion of their reviews, sharing them with their friends, those who helped them into the program and those who will help that student into a career. One example of this self-promotion is the initiative called “The Study Abroad Advantage” where a group has been established on Linkedin to help study abroad alumni leverage their study abroad experience in their career development. Students in the Group are linking their reviews from their Linkedin profiles and using them to showcase their abilities, talents and experiences to get ahead in the job market.
Education abroad offices on campus should consider using these reviews to advance study abroad on their campus. Reviews will prompt discussion and facilitate the exchange of ideas about individual programs, program types and destinations. A number of offices already follow and endorse Abroad101′s social media activity on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts. In addition to this, posting your own highlights of reviews in you social media can help raise awareness and understanding of how education abroad influences your campus. We encourage you to create social media out of our social media and make posts based on the reviews on Abroad101.
As an advisor, reviews from your institution can be pushed to you for consideration. For those advisors with account on Abroad101, each review from a student at your institution generates an email when it is published. You can find the links to those programs by logging into your account or by looking at the summary page of reviews for your institution. For those of you with a little more computer support, Abroad101 can push your student reviews to you through something called an API (Computer to computer gateway), or you can draw them through a RSS feed that we publish.
However you collect and reference our reviews, we hope you’ll see the benefit of taking the review title, summary paragraph and web link as social media content and use it to advance study abroad on your campus. The Abroad101 team is happy to work with you in finding better ways to network and connect and is available to get you using reviews in your social media marketing strategy.
You might also be interested in reading the slides for the session called Ten ways program evaluations can Advance Study Abroad on Campus
Read here for more information and presentation slides on the ISEP Conference in Virginia