Take Some Tips from the MIT Application Process
July 25, 2012
There is a lot of helpful advice on the MIT admissions site about the application process. What MIT is looking for in the essays is founded on principles that can be applied to great social media content.
1. Instead of one long essay, the MIT application asks for short responses and essays.
You'll find that social media success often depends on this principle of bite-size content: longer isn't necessarily better. If you have a long video of a lecture, you might gain more engagement by cutting it into smaller videos.
2. It's all about your voice: "who you are, what drives you, what's important to you, what makes you tick."
If you try to force a certain voice on your social media content, you'll find that you're constantly focused on what drives them (your audience), what's important to them, what makes them tick. Members of your audience are often very diverse, and you can't try to read minds, no matter how good your analytics are. Your audience comes to you for content because they want to know who the people in your department are (students, faculty, researchers) - what is important to your department - what makes it tick. Trying to express what you think people want is much less effective than expressing who you really are. As the MIT admissions site says, don't spend "a lot of time stressing or strategizing about what makes you 'look best'."
3. "Be honest, be open, be authentic."
These are three relevant words for great social media content. In the social media world, this is called being transparent. By being honest, open, and authentic with people you will build a relationship with trust between your audience and your department.
4. Be thoughtful, but don't think too much. If you stress out too much over a smaller piece of content, "you're doing it wrong".
Social media moves much faster than traditional media. You will want to create with a cogent quality yet without unnecessary over-editing and over-planning. Moreover, it is easier to create good quality content more quickly when you've first set out your communications strategy. With a strategy in place, you don't have to agonize over each piece of content.