Whew. Nearly 500 people tuned in to my session, eRecruiting with Social Media and a Purpose this afternoon as part of the CollegeWeekLive/Chronicle of Higher Education eRecruitment Web Forum. There were a ton of questions I didn’t have time to get to during the live presentation (120!!), so I’ve answered the ones I didn’t get to below. Did you miss the live presentation? The folks at CollegeWeekLive have made it available to watch on-demand.
Do you have more questions? Ask me over on formspring.
Questions I couldn’t get to during the live session – with my answers!
Tari Blaney: Do we still have to ask permission from students before sending them text messages?
Me: Depends on your college’s policy. We switched to an “opt-out” policy this year, meaning, we sign up all our students by default (and tell them), but it’s up to them to opt-out if they don’t want to receive emergency text messages from us.
Michael Large: What’s Mike’s TwitterID who is tweeting all your links?
Me: Mike Petroff’s Twitter ID is: @mikepetroff
Claire Olson: For Ning social networks, what’s your advice about letting current students join? Once prospectives become current students would you let them continue to be members… if it was meant to be a recruiting tool originally?
Me: I have seen this approached both ways. If your Student Affairs folks are committed and understand the value and potential, I think transitioning from Undergraduate Admissions to the Student Affairs area after the deposit deadline is a good idea to keep it going. Some find this community becomes a ghost town as students are more likely to use Facebook regularly after they’re on campus in the fall, but I’ve known others who have built social tools into their portal and have had great success. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve, what strategy you use, and what resources you have to commit to this effort.
Javier Garcia: How are some schools tracking the enrollment and matriculation?
Me: I’m not sure if you meant specifically related to the online communities? At New Paltz, we used Ning last year and took the e-mail addresses of the members of the community and matched them with our student records system to run a report that told us how many paid their deposit and enrolled.
Jane Fu: What’s your Web site address? http://rachaelrubin.com?
Patrick Booth: What tools do you use to track specific database?
I’m not sure what database you’re referring to? Can you post a follow-up?
Heather Morba: How do you suggest staffing the social media team that will create, manage, and maintain the sites? (In reference to earlier comment about students being used to run social media.)
Me: It really depends (I know! I hate that term!) on which sites and how they’re going to be used. For our university’s Facebook Fan Page, we have two people from Undergraduate Admissions, one from The Graduate School, one from Student Affairs, my intern and me behind the scenes. For monitoring using our “listening post” I talked about, we have three of us that tackle various aspects. I think it’s critical that the social media love is spread — not dumped on one person or one office, and definitely not on one student.
Jane Fu: Are there taboos for using social media as an organization that you have learned from your experience that weren’t immediately obvious?
Me: Using it just to promote events is a big no-no and turn off.
Cliff Jenkins: fan pages vs groups … which do you prefer or is new paltz using both
Me: It depends (there’s that word again!). What are you planning to do with them? How do you want to communicate with them and them with you and others? Groups are for more affinity-based presences. Groups are for “class of 20xx,” and actual student activity-type groups. Fan pages are for the official university presence, and maybe some other key functions within the university. Again – depends on the purpose for setting these up. See the Social Media Brief I talked about in my presentation for for framing the purpose.
Stephanie Null: Can we get your powerpoint?
Me: You betcha! See above.
Merrissa Uchimura: How do I convince my university to move/merge to our one main fan page for the university? Our recruit team decided to have own separate admissions fan page? Do you have research that I can share?
Me: Share the story I told during the session about the interaction between alumni, parents, current students and prospective students on the one main fan page. Alumni, parents and current students won’t hang out on the admissions fan page. I don’t have research, but the research gods over at BlueFuego might? 🙂
Billy Springer: Being that you can’t communication as a fan page admin when browsing news feed on FB, how do you go about engaging as the university to those current or prospective people? Do you pay students to blog & do you review the content before deploying?
Me: Yikes, that’s a tricky question. I don’t think counselors should engage prospective students on Facebook. There are others that strongly disagree with me, however. No, we do not pay our student bloggers, and we do not moderate their posts. They go through quite the selection process before they are “hired,” and sign a contract.
Gina: If you have campus location worldwide, should you have a blog for each campus or one consolidated one on the home website?
Me: I’d recommend having one blog that has representatives from all of the different locations.
Heather Shaner: To clarify, are you against “Class of” pages on FB?
Me: Not at all. I’m very much for them. I just don’t think we (marketing/communication/admissions folks) should be heavily involved with it.
Ronna Johnston: We are considering using just YouTube for all our videos rather than duplicating on both YouTube & our streaming server. Is there a disadvantage to using just YT? Credibility?
Me: I can’t think of any disadvantage. YouTube is a household name and comes with credibility these days – especially if videos are posted by an official university account.
Moamer Qazafi: Why should admissions be separate on Twitter but not on Facebook?
Me: By having one main Facebook Fan Page for the university, prospective students will benefit from reading comments posted by alumni, parents of current and prospective students, and current students. If the university has a separate Fan Page for admissions, only prospective students will be there, so you miss the opportunity for unsolicited comments and feedback by alumni, parents, current students, etc. Twitter, on the other hand, can have a separate purpose. The admissions Twitter account will have a revolving follower base in theory, as the prospect pool changes annually. Check out this tweet from @NPAdmissions. This is a great way to use a separate account that is more focused. The main university account may want to RT (re-tweet) some things the admissions account says, and vice versa, but can keep their stream very focused on prospective students. Other people won’t see who is tweeting to the accounts unless they’re following each other, so that is the primary difference.
Leslie: why do you feel admissions should have a separate twitter account? is it bad to group with other school offices?
Me: See the question right before this for my complete answer. I don’t think it’s always bad to group with other offices, but depends on which ones, who their audience is, and what their purpose is.
Becca: If I am the only one maintaining my Twitter account, should the profile photo be of ME or a school logo/important building?
Me: I’d vote for a combo of your photo with a university symbol of some kind on it. Makes it far more personal, yet official/professional.
Kristina Velarde: What is EyeFi?
Me: See Eye.fi
Nav: re flickr live stream/uploading – how do you deal with privacy issues at a campus event & uploading images of guests & the events?
Me: Our photographers make general announcements that the photos they’re taking will be used in a variety of ways, so they should not pose for photos if they don’t want to be used in publicity materials.
Allison Hudson: How did your school decide which social media tools to use?
Me: Listening and trial and error, basically. I wanted to see where our audiences were first, then determine how we could best use each tool, and then focused of our efforts on the results.
Jordan Stevenson: Do you see LinkedIn as being viable for undergraduate admissions?
Me: No, I don’t. LinkedIn is intended and used as a networking tool, and most don’t have accounts until they’re well into their undergraduate years in school. It’s great for alumni groups for colleges, though.
Stephanie Graham: Does your university heavily control branding and how does this work with YouTube, Facebook, etc.?
Me: Stay tuned after we launch our new brand identity system at the end of April! The answer will be, yes, we will follow all branding guidelines in all of our outposts, and enforce those that are done outside of our office as well. It’s extremely important for a consistent, cohesive message and image.
Bob Moinar: What are the differences between using social media for undergraduate admissions and graduate admissions?
Me: Depends on your goals, and the tools you use may be different – but that also depends on what type of students you attract for each.
Brad Jones: Do you know where I can find an example of a good blog done by a student for an admission office?
Me: I’m not sure what you mean “for an admission office.” Do you mean for recruiting purposes? See slide 15 of my presentation above for some of the examples I discussed, and I think Brad J. Ward had more examples in his blog-focused session after mine.
Sarah: How do you get your contacts into your campus database for recruitment from flickr, Facebook, etc.
Me: There are third party tools that will make that possible/easier for Facebook, but otherwise, there’s really no way for those two particular tools. For Ning, you can export member data (names, e-mail addresses, etc.) and import them in to your student records system and/or CRM.
Melissa Evans: What is your education background?
Me: I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Communication with a minor in marketing, and just received my MBA in marketing and management in December.
Stephanie: Do we need media release signatures from prospective students to post their photo online?
Me: It’s best to check with your college’s legal counsel for a call on that. We tend to only get releases for people under the age of 13, otherwise posing for a photo is considered consent. But, I’m not a lawyer and am not offering official legal advice here. 🙂
Michelle Smits: How do you handle/monitor risk management factors on Facebook?
Me: I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “risk management factors.” Can you follow-up with me?
[null] hi– Can we borrow from your Facebook content plan? 🙂
Me: Sure, as long as you’re not in our direct competitor set. 😉
Anne Marie Guthrie: What are the themes for Thursdays and Fridays
Me: Thoughtful Thursday (we’ll ask them “thoughtful” questions), Photo Friday. Now, you also might wonder why we’re not doing the weekends, especially since I preach social media is not a Monday-Friday 9-5 job… it’s 365/24/7. My answer? We’ll get there. It’s a resource issue at this point, and I’ve also seen this Monday-Friday model done and work well for other companies with Facebook Fan Pages, so we’re giving it a shot. We may have other things to share that doesn’t fit into this neat little content plan, and that’s ok with me.
Kristi Garcia: What site did you use to create Cafe New Paltz?
Corie Martin: What incentives did you give the students to join your Ning group? What differentiated it from your Facebook groups?
Chad: Was your social community on Ning? Or private other network?
Theron: Do you work for SUNY or are you a consultant?
Me: Both! I’ve worked for SUNY New Paltz for 12 years and officially started a part-time consulting business on the side last month.
Kerry Salerno: Are these proprietary communities (i.e. not Facebook groups/pages)?
Me: Since this was one of the last questions, I’m pretty sure this question was in reference to the two examples I was talking about, Café New Paltz and Lounge on Lex — am I right? If so, yes, these are private communities, not in Facebook. Café New Paltz was in Ning last year, and this year uses SocialEngine. Lounge on Lex is using Ning.
Khyati: Which site was that – the one you got good testimonials for?
Me: Café New Paltz, our online community for accepted students at SUNY New Paltz.