According to a report released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, about 90 percent of Australian teenagers aged 12 to 17 use social networking services.
The popularity of social networking services among teenagers has prompted many universities in the country to increase their participation in social media. These universities use social media networks for a wide range of purposes, including providing information about their programs, campuses and activities; recruiting new students; connecting with present and past students, increasing their business profile; and others.
Here is a look at a number of Australian universities that are leading the way in social media.
Monash University mainly uses Facebook and Twitter to connect with its current and prospective students. Its Facebook page contains an FAQ section that provides helpful information for those who are interested in enrolling in its programs, as well as photos of its campuses, students and events. It also has many other Facebook pages to meet the needs of specific groups of students, such as faculty and course-specific pages. Such pages allow students to share academic information and avail of educational tools. In order to boost international enrollment, Monash University is also actively reaching out to potential students in other countries. It is presently the Australian university with the highest number of followers on China's most popular microblogging website, Sina Weibo.
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University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is one of the Australian universities that have "meme" pages on Facebook. Set up by students, these pages provide a platform for students to post messages and photos about their experiences at the university, and they give prospective students a better insight into campus life. Additionally, the university holds certain social media events from time to time to reach out to its students. For instance, it collaborated with a social media platform called OurSay to give students the opportunity to post questions to people who have the power to change things, such as the vice-chancellor and the president of the student union. The University of Melbourne is active in many popular social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and others.
University of Western Australia
The University of Western Australia's Facebook page serves as an online community for its current and prospective students. It helps foster a sense of belonging among students by allowing them to learn about the academic and social aspects of life at the university, as well as build friendships with other students. New and prospective students can connect with the university's staff and current students to get information and advice that can help them transition to college life more easily. The page also provides links to various programs that are being offered by the university. The University of Western Australia also has a community page that is set up by students. This page has more than twice the number of fans as the university's official page.
As social media continues to gain importance as a medium of communication, Australian universities need to step up their social media efforts in order to stay competitive.
Those that are not investing enough time and effort in social media could soon find themselves lagging behind.
About the author
John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to finding the best college degrees.