Tucked away on most Facebook profiles are the inevitable USC-related groups and fan pages. Now, the official USC Facebook page can join this assorted collection.
The official page launched in July and in two months, it has garnered more than 3,600 fans, comprised of students, prospective students, alumni, faculty and people who like the university.
The page came in response to an unofficial one that was not approved by the university, said Maya Meinert, editorial assistant at USC University Public Relations who manages the page.
“We discovered the unofficial page and we decided that we should own that space and use the value of the USC brand on Facebook,” Meinert said.
The page features a variety of content from events, competitions and notable achievements by faculty and students.
“We work very closely with the admissions office on the main page because of the volume of admissions inquiries we get from fans,” said Ariel Carpenter, director of USC public relations.
The page recently gathered a series of admission questions from fans on Facebook and submitted them to USC’s Dean of Admission Timothy Brunold. His answers were posted as a response on a discussion tab of the page.
“We take a very integrated approach to the page,” Carpenter said. “We work with heads of schools to highlight what is important to them and what’s happening at the schools.”
Administrators of the page, for example, are currently working with the Viterbi School of Engineering to publicize Viterbi Grand Challenges, an event that works with the National Academy of Engineering to address the issues of the 21st century.
Although the fan page is not going to be included in any official USC pamphlets or handouts, there is a link to it on the university’s main website.
“We are actually working on promoting the page more organically through crossover with our Twitter account,” Meinert said.
The opening of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center demonstrated the success of the social networking outreach. Fans were encouraged to tweet live from the event and share pictures with others in real time.
“It allowed a peek at the event for those that were not present,” Carpenter said.
Presently, the page is focusing on providing fans with information they want to know and will evolve based on the needs of the users.
There is no doubt, however, that the page represents another step in USC’s effort to embrace popular social media platforms. The latest trend has been geo-tagging; USC now manages its virtual existence on Foursquare, the location-based social media.