Tag: highered

Don’t Link your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter Statuses

Last August Facebook gave Pages administrators the ability to publish their Facebook updates to their Twitter accounts automatically. Administrators can decide whether to share updates with their Twitter followers at all, and if so, which type of information to share, such as status updates, links, photos, notes, and events.

This, my friends, is what my friend Chris Brogan has coined “robot activity.” I agree and would go further and say you shouldn’t do it.

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Reach More Students Without Leaving Your Office

Looking for something new to try this spring for your recruiting efforts? I recently saw a demo for CollegeWeekLive and was quite impressed with its features and the possibilities it creates for recruiters across the country.

Side note: This may seem like a sales pitch, but it’s not. I don’t work for CollegeWeekLive, nor am I a current client. I’m just an impressed individual who works in marketing and communication at a university, and wanted to share this with you, as I hadn’t heard much about them before seeing this demo.

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Interview with CampusTweet.com

Last week one of my friends on Twitter tweeted, “Just added myself to http://campustweet.com  – Ithaca College and Georgetown University.

My immediate thought — is this another one of those sites that’s going to create buzz most of the day by our circle of common friends and then fade, or could this one actually stick? Lots of friends tweeted questions about it as more and more tweets “Just added myself to ….” came across the stream. The folks at campustweet.com (@campustweet on Twitter) were kind enough send me their e-mail address so I could ask them eight questions about their service. Here’s the interview.

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Simple status & engagement on Facebook

Last week I updated our university’s Facebook Fan Page status to say:

Facebook screen shot

I thought it might get a comment, or like, or two, but was absolutely floored to find this volume of response, most of which came within the same hour I posted.

And then it happened two more times within the same week.

Facebook screen shot #2

Facebook screen shot #3

Here’s an expanded view of some of these comments:

Facebook comments

Sometimes, keeping it simple just works. SUNY Plattsburgh is also having a great deal of interaction over on their page as is SUNY Oswego. Never before have we seen alumni comment on our wall. This spirit and sense of community is a gold mine for alumni relations. One of the comments was actually an alum asking if we have a separate Facebook Fan Page just for alumni. (We don’t. Yet.)

I didn’t have a strong strategy behind the scenes. We didn’t hold committee meetings to decide what to say.  I just hoped for some new students to share their excitement, to feel welcomed, and to breath a little life into our page, instead of the “business as usual” answers to the same questions over and over again.

Something as simple as a status update that ties to an emotional time in new, current, and former students lives seems to resonate. This has expanded my thinking on how we’ll use this feature going forward. Maybe your campus has certain traditions (i.e. Slope Day at Cornell University, Foundation Day at the University of Albany, etc.) – highlight or countdown to some of them, give them behind the scenes updates and snapshots.

How are you using your university’s status? Are you seeing this kind of interaction?

eduStyle Awards: Best Higher Ed Blog (People’s Choice) Goes to .eduGuru!

Thank you to all of our readers who voted for .eduGuru for this year’s eduStyle Awards in the category “Best Higher Ed Blog.” We are truly grateful for your support. All six of us (Kyle, Karlyn, Fienen, Nick, Nikki & Rachel) love having this outlet to blog about our experiences and topics that affect so many of us in higher education. Your comments and continued conversations on Twitter and via e-mail give us the fuel we need to keep this going.

Our good friend Tony from “Tales from the Redesignland” congratulated us as in one of his famous comic strips.

Here are some individual thank yous from each of us:

Kyle, Karlyn & Nikki:

Rachel:

Fienen:

And here’s his hysterical promo when the voting was open earlier this spring.

Nick:

Help Me Help You: Social Media Education

Are you a resource on your campus for all things social media?

Yes? Let’s brainstorm about how we can best react to and assist people on campus who come to us to ask for guidance with some ideas they have.

No? Let’s pretend. Play along with us here — the more collaborative minds we put together, the better.

The primary purpose of this post is to flesh out  the best response to this type of question:

“I want to create a Facebook Page for my [department/program/event/service] and thought I should probably coordinate that with you. Where should I start?”

I understand this may not be as likely to happen on larger campuses as it is in small to mid-size campuses. The point of posing this question is to talk through the best ways we can help educate and partner with people on campus who want to embrace social media.

I usually start with this first question:  Who is your audience?

Then I move to:  What are your department’s/program’s/event’s/service’s goals? Let’s start with the end result and work backwards.

Spokes in the marketing wheel by Rachel ReubenNext, I tell them social media may or may not be the best tool for them to use. This usually stumps them. Yes, I present at a bunch of conferences on social media. Yes, I did a research paper on the use of social media in higher education. Yes, I’m an active user of many social networking sites. However, as I say in just about every presentation I give — social media is not the be all end all. It is just one spoke in our marketing wheel. It may or may not be the right tool to use for a particular department/program/event/service — it all depends on your audience and your goal(s). It can be a very powerful medium that can reach very targeted audiences, but may not be the right tool for every audience and strategy.

“But I want my event to go viral.”

Just because you want something to go viral doesn’t mean it will. It takes a dose of effort and a pinch of luck, along with a powerful strategy and commitment, to really make this work.

Let’s keep exploring. Next steps:

  • Educate them about the art of listening. Chris Brogan has a great post I regularly point people to — “Grow Bigger Ears in 10 Minutes.” In addition, Kyle James wrote a post about monitoring your online identity that provides additional ideas and details. Listening first gives you a sense of what is being said about your department/program/event/service. It may also give you further ideas for content generation (see next step), and gives you an opportunity to join in existing conversations.
  • Content issues: Where will the content come from? Who will be responsible for maintaining your content and your presence? How will you engage your audience? Having a presence is not nearly enough – you must commit to fresh content that would be of interest to your audience.
  • Integration: How will you integrate this effort through the other mediums in your marketing wheel? Things to consider — mentioning in e-mail newsletters, e-mail signatures, print publications, ads, Web sites, blogs, admission tours, etc.
  • Measurement: How will you measure if your effort is successful? Were goals achieved? Is having a dollar value ROI important? (If so, see Karlyn’s presentation on Eye On the Prize.) While there is great value in calculating ROI, I also like to focus on the “I” as “influence” — looking at the long tail effect. For example, in our Café New Paltz community for fall 2009 accepted students, I’m interested in tracking the different impacts on student service offices from their typical routine and schedule over the summer and early fall. Students in this community were figuring out as early as January who they wanted to room with, instead of waiting and scrambling during Orientation in July, taking a load off Residence Life and Student Development staff from what they’re normally used to that time of the year. Students are asking questions earlier about paying bills, setting up meal plans, and how to accept financial aid packages. There likely won’t be as big of a rush in these offices at the end of August, as we’ve been answering their questions months earlier. How else can you measure your success? I posted some other ideas in “Café New Paltz: A Yielding Success” that might give you some additional ideas. 

What steps did I miss? Do you have other strategies you employ when faced with a similar question? Do you make an concerted effort to coordinate all of the individual social media outposts on your campus, or just concern yourself with the big picture presence?

Café New Paltz – One month update

This update is part 3 in a series about Café New Paltz, an exclusive online community using Ning for our fall 2009 accepted students at the State University of New York at New Paltz. See: article 1 | article 2

We continue to be extremely pleased with the engagement and relationship building inside Café New Paltz.

Quick Bites (stats as of 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9):

  • 282 members (1,323 initially invited on Jan. 2)
  • 712 photos posted by members
  • 38 discussion forums
    • topics include finding roommates, academics, pets in residence halls, residence hall questions, and more
  • Videos: We’ve posted 7, they’ve posted 4
    • Ours: 2 episodes on residence life, dining hall, around town, 1 week update, visit campus contest, welcome to Café New Paltz — average ~100 views each
    • Theirs: One member posted a video of herself singing the national anthem at her high school’s basketball game, another posted a tour of his room at home (parts 1 & 2!), a guitar riff, and a “name that riff”game
  • Birthdays: We’ve toned down our initial exuberance of 4 separate videos plus all of the other publicity on the site about member’s birthdays. We now have a text box on the top of the page as soon as they login that calls out birthdays, we post on their walls, and feature that member for the day.

Google Analytics

  • 8,111 visits
  • 78,631 pageviews
  • 17.03% bounce rate
  • 10:27 avg. time on site
  • Top 4 features: home page, chat, member profiles, forums

Things we’ve learned:

  • Scripting, producing, editing & posting 1 video every week is not realistic for our current staffing resources. We’ve loosened that timeframe to be a week and a half to two weeks between them if needed. Interestingly, the video views aren’t as high as we’d expect them to be.
  • These accepted students are eager to form relationships, to figure out who they’ll room with — already. This is 5-6 months earlier than the traditional process.
  • We’re reading a large number of posts in the forums by people who have paid their deposit already and are committed to coming to New Paltz.
  • Lots of anxiety being allayed earlier in the process. They’re finding roommates, and other students with similar interests (music, academic interests, extra-curricular activities, etc.). They’re asking if they can have cars on campus, if people go home on weekends, how many classes they will have to take, will their AP credits transfer, can they paint their residence halls, etc.

Next steps

  • On February 21 we will be inviting our first round of general accepts – approximately 1,000 of them – to join the community. From that point on, invitations will be sent to the latest round of new general accepts every two weeks.
  • In early March we need to start giving more serious consideration to what comes next. What happens after May 1, other than seeing how many of these members actually pay their deposit. Should we shut down the Café? Does it turn into a first year student community? What do we do with the members that choose not to come to New Paltz? Given the great amount of activity and interaction, I don’t see how we can shut it down, but we have to have a number of internal conversations between divisions to carefully plan the next stages.

What do you think our next steps should be?

Register for “Recruiting on a budget 101: Master plan to win the social media jackpot with prospective students”

Saving Big: Winning strategies to get better results even with a crunched budget: February 4 & 5, 2009

“Saving Big” is a 2-webinar series that will show you how embracing the right digital approach can help you dramatically cut costs while still meeting the needs of your target audiences. It will show you why and how social media can become a very budget-friendly asset in the battle to attract, engage and win over the brightest, but also why and how to save on any publication budgets without alienating readers and compromising editorial quality.

Recruiting on a budget 101: Master plan to win the social media jackpot with prospective students
.eduGuru Rachel Reuben, who is also the Director of Web Communication and Strategic Projects at SUNY New Paltz, will explain how to make the most of social media to upgrade your recruitment strategy and differentiate your institution. She will also share a road map to help your admissions office catch up with the latest recruiting techniques at a fraction of the more traditional approach’s cost.

Taming the print beast: How to stretch the publication dollars of your institution
Joe Hice, AVP for Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Florida, will help you understand why you should give a closer look at your publication budget in these tough economic times. He will also share the winning strategy (as well as some practical tips) that led UF to save more than a million dollars on its publication budget.

For more information, visit the HigherEdExperts.com site.