Survey Lab: Level of University Connection Linked to Social Media Engagement

By Felipe Hernandez

A new GG+A Survey Lab study finds that level of connection felt by both alumni and donors is closely linked to their social media engagement with their university. A survey analysis of 2,083 donors to a private university looked at the frequency of social media engagement with the university’s platforms and how it affects the respondents’ feelings of connection. The survey asked participants how frequently they engaged with the university through social media.

Feelings of connection to the university were measured on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 = Very connected). The research finds a significant correlation (p < .05), showing that the more frequently people engage with university’s social media, the greater their feelings of connection. Analysis shows a 14% increase on average in the reported level of connection for each increase in the frequency of connection. This study helps confirm the rising importance of how social media drives and sustains alumni and donor engagement.

In a related finding, social media engagement for respondents who say they interact with the university’s social media quarterly feel only slightly less connected than those who engage more often. This indicates that driving social media use with high frequency is not as important as simply engaging with some regularity. This has implications for universities looking to invest in social media because it shows that it still drives feelings of connection, even if social media interaction is not every day or week.

Previous GG+A Survey Lab research clearly demonstrated that higher levels of connection are correlated with higher level giving. While many forms of engagement produce feelings of connection, this new research suggests that universities should engage alumni and donors via social media at least once every three months. Concerns about creating constant social media contact are probably unfounded according to the study, and that meaningful content on a regular basis is more important than very frequent efforts at connection.

For more information on how the GG+A Survey Lab can help you understand your constituents, contact Dan Lowman, Director of the GG+A Survey Lab at surveylab@grenzglier.com.

About the author:
Felipe Hernandez is a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Felipe is a research intern at GG+A focused on finding trends and insights in informative sets of data for the benefit of non-profit philanthropy.

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