Cultivating TU Delft’s Chinese connection

The TU Delft Webcare team has shaken up how the online Chinese world connects to the university, and in the process has been taking an organic approach to a very digital assignment.

The TU Delft is at the forefront of scouting and exposing itself to available and untapped talent across the world. In recent years it has been adding more to its portfolio, with the university’s online presence managed by the TU Delft Webcare team. The team’s goal is to show how it is to work, study, research and live within the TU Delft orbit. 

The Webcare team’s tasks involve monitoring, influencing and directly interacting with interested individuals. It also keeps track of the buzz surrounding the university and what’s being said about it. It is assumed that these platforms, Facebook and Twitter to name a few, are universal, but in countries such as China this is not the case. 

China is deemed an important target due to it being the one of the top countries of talent origin, and the fact that there are so many parallels in research with the TU. As such, TU Delft is now maintaining a Weiboaccount. Weibo, essentially the Chinese version of Twitter the Facebook equivalent Renren since it’s easy to reach an unfamiliar audience. Today Chinese student Xuefei Li, the only international on the team, contributes to and is the main point of reference for the Weibo account. 

Li’s tasks as the Chinese Webcare connection seemed simple to her when she began. “At first, the work seemed like posting Weibo every day, just like I do in my daily life, but…” says Li, who goes on to explain that it means so much more than that to her. What she does is tap into the pulse of the international community and life at TU Delft, and broadcasts her perspective across the Weibo audience. As for interacting, she regularly answers questions posed to the university. Her goals seem to be to expose, to relate and interestingly enough, to remind. “To the followers who already graduated from TU Delft, it is a way to wake up their memories about the lovely campus,” she concludes. 

In November 2013, the Weibo account turned one year old, and clocked at around 2800 followers. Topics posted are sometimes based on other social media accounts, with any extra information if it is not a familiar situation in China. The role of students like Li is highly valued. “We can sit together, click through our account, I can ask questions, they can answer right away and we can decide on the spot if any changes are needed,” say Karlijn de Wit, Account Manager, who, together with Rob Speekenbrink, manages the Webcare team. 

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