Social media panel 2018: Tom Setter, Net Natives

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

When we decided to pull together a panel of education thought leaders, it seemed foolish not to tap into the wealth of expertise at our fingertips in the Natives Group – the family to which we belong. Step forward Tom Setter, Head of Global Advertising at Net Natives.

What do you think was the biggest challenge for education institutions and their social media usage last year?

The continuing decline of organic reach and finding the right balance of engagement and effort to deliver  return on investment. Every day there’s a staggering amount of content produced and to keep users engaged, social platforms use algorithms to enhance the experience and display the content that’s the most relevant While most people welcome a curated feed, the algorithm can be frustrating for marketers who have been reliant on organic content.

Do you expect that challenge to persist this year, or will it be something different?


Social media is increasingly become a pay-to-play space…are we now at the point where institutions have to stop making excuses for not having a budget or can organic posts still be effective?

It depends on what institutions are looking to get from social. If they are looking to engage their existing audience and drive conversation within their highly engaged base then organic is a great channel.

There are challenges with an organic only focus, mainly the ability to gain significant scale, that said, we have seen great examples of this where exceptional content coupled with great timing really performs, but it’s not commonplace.

The way the algorithms work on social platforms means that if you’re looking for measurable results it’s pay-to-play and if you’ve invested the time in developing the content then give it the reach and engagement it deserves.

As ever, there has plenty of talk recently about Facebook being dead – do you think that’s true?

Declining for certain audiences, yes. Dead, no. 1.3 billion daily active users.

2018 is going to be very interesting as Facebook know that they have to develop to stay ahead of the competition and integration across their properties appears to be top of the list. There are beta tests (in Brazil) of Instagram stories sharing to WhatsApp, so let’s see what happens.

And what about Snapchat? Does it still look healthy to you or has Instagram’ insistence of copying all their key features dealt Snapchat a fatal blow? Is it space that is worth institutions spending time on?

It’s not a fatal blow, Snapchat is a great platform and good value for media investment. Instagram have sat back, watched other platforms develop and then in my opinion done it better. It’s a known Facebook strategy, they don’t lead, they watch, follow, copy and beat.

Snapchat are the challengers and know that they have to make their interface easier to engage with, innovate their platform (like the stuff their doing with maps) and grow an engaged audience at scale.

Should education providers be thinking about podcasting in 2018?

Yes –  it is a fantastic way to engage. However, as with all content, objectives need to be clear and it’s quality over quantity.

To finish, time for a prediction for the new year. What will be the hot social network for education providers in 2018?


I’d love to say Snapchat but from an Advertising and revenue perspective I think it will be Instagram.

Follow Tom on Twitter and find him on LinkedIn

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