Engaging audiences through social media in colleges of agricultural and environmental sciences
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership Undergraduate Research Theses; 2020
Seventy percent of Americans use social media to connect with one another, share information and entertain themselves (Pew, 2019). Of those connecting socially, it's estimated 79% of 18-29-year olds are using Facebook and 38% are using Twitter. With college students being active on social media, college departments are able to leverage these many platforms to engage with students meaningfully. What is not clear, is what are the most successful tactics these departments are using. The objectives of this study were to 1) understand how departments within a college of agriculture and natural resources use Twitter and Facebook to engage audiences, 2) determine the success of tactics based on the highest levels of engagement, and 3) understand whom popular posts are targeting. For this study, researchers gathered 16 months of analytical information from 4 academic departments. The top 5 Twitter posts from each month per department were used to determine the average number of impressions, engagements, and the overall engagement. For Facebook, the lifetime of a post's total reach and lifetime of engaged users were averaged. Tactics noted included if the post had a photo, video, link, hashtag, or tagged another page. The audience of each post was analyzed to track popular themes. For Twitter, 307 tweets were analyzed across 4 departments. The departments had 608 total engaging elements, while on Facebook, 303 posts were analyzed for 493 total engaging elements across departments. Results show departments are engaging with three main audiences: students, faculty/staff, and alumni. Posts with engaging elements of images and videos had higher levels of user engagement in all departments. Popular themes across platforms include students on campus, student organizations, research, and events. This study aligned with most previous social media research in that posts with engaging elements have more reach. It is important that departments continue to use such tactics to reach audiences.
Academic Major: Agricultural Communication