Swiss academia is home to some of the brightest researchers and scholars anywhere. Like all universities, those in Switzerland seek to promote their message and their brand and attract the brightest talents. Social media affords an innovative way to provide the wired world with access to real-time news and achievements, yet Swiss institutions have been slower to adopt these tools than their counterparts in other parts of the world.
To help close this gap, swissnex San Francisco, with the support of Gebert Rüf Stiftung and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research, has designed a cross-cultural program aimed at assessing barriers and advantages to using social media as well as hands-on training by skilled professionals. The goal is to provide all the tools necessary for Swiss academia to fully embrace social media as a part of their communications strategy with the aim of:
- Expanding knowledge sharing
- Better engaging with the community and public
- Reaching out to new followers including international media, faculty, alumni, students, and the broader scientific community
What is special about the project?
Gebert Rüf Stiftung and swissnex San Francisco share a mission to promote Swiss higher education and innovation. The project proposal, Swiss Academia and the Social Media Landscape, is compatible with Gebert Rüf Stiftung’s dedication to Swiss higher education, innovative transformations, and the public understanding of science. The project identifies a deficit in the use of social media by Swiss universities and proposes a novel solution that will, in effect, benefit Switzerland as a whole and Swiss higher education in particular by putting Swiss universities on the social media map and in the minds of a larger online community.
This project began on January 2011 and ended on December 2012.
January 2011- April 2011
A formal study assessing the benefits and risks of using social media and document the state of Swiss universities’ presence on social media was published in April 2011 in different installments. Statistics show that the files comprising the paper, were the files most clicked and downloaded on our site.
May 2011 – end of the project
An online database of guidelines and best practices on the various recommended social media platforms was launched in April 2011 presenting relevant research articles, trends, and other resources. A total of 400 reports were generated for participating institutions. Each report included each organization’s social media presence in terms of accounts and presence, as well as mentions. The objective was to help these institutions see what conversations were taking place in social media.
In addition, follow-up training by experts in the communications field via in-person trainings and online video conferencing were held in 2011 and 2012. Program meeting were held in Switzerland. These meetings allowed us to bring the participants together, discuss common issues, learn new concepts, and exchange ideas.
During the duration of the program, ten (10) webinars were held involving social media practitioners or experts on a variety of topics including:
1. Social media for research institutions,
2. Crisis communications,
3. Twitter 101,
4. Building relationships with the press through Twitter,
5. Social media strategy building with IMD’s Social Media manager,
6. Wikipedia strategies,
7. Creative community building through social media.
A first study tour to Silicon Valley was held on September 2011 to provide representatives from participating universities with insight and an insider’s look at the use of social media by and for universities and similar institutions. Eleven 11 participants from 10 Swiss academic institutions participated in a weeklong program involving visits, workshops, and access to social media experts.
Satisfaction levels were also very high: 90% of participants were extremely satisfied with the study tour, 100% expressing the information shared was very and/or extremely useful to their organization. Survey results are available as an annex to this report.
A second study tour to Silicon Valley will be held to give representatives from participating universities insight and an insider’s look at the use of social media by and for universities and similar institutions. We welcomed 12 participants from 11 Swiss academic institutions.
Satisfaction levels were also very high: 93% of the participants would recommend the experience to others, and 100% would be making recommendations based on what they learned during the study tour week. As a result of this study tour, a group of students from Social Media Management Program at HWZ will be participating in a special Study Tour in March 2013, led by swissnex San Francisco.
We brought together all program participants and held a one-day event to highlight the achievement of different institutions and present our findings.
Persons involved in the project
Dr. Christian Simm, Projektleiter, christian.
Megan Williams, megan.
Florencia Prada, florencia.
Last update to this project presentation 02.12.2020