General

Exciting new chapters

It is with great excitement that I share I am joining digital marketing agency OHO Interactive in a new role as their Vice President, Account Strategy. I will be expanding OHO’s higher education practice and bringing new perspectives to their clients on long-term strategy, organizational design, and enrollment marketing.

Rachel Reuben Consulting, LLC, which I founded in September 2015, will be closing as of February 28, 2020, which feels bittersweet. However, many of the services I have been offering will be coming with me to OHO as we look to expand the agency’s offerings. I will be working remotely from my home office in upstate New York.

I have worked in the higher education industry nearly exclusively since 1998 and am thrilled I get to continue to do so in this new role. From 1998-2010 I worked at the State University of New York at New Paltz as their Web Editor, Web Coordinator, and then Director of Web Communication and Strategic Projects. In 2010 moved to Ithaca to work for Ithaca College as their Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications for four years, and then was hired by Colgate University to be their Vice President of Communication. I started Rachel Reuben Consulting, LLC in September 2015 and have worked with numerous colleges/universities, agencies, and some small businesses and nonprofit organizations. I have held contracts as an interim VP for marketing and communications, an interim executive director of marketing, and had many special projects working alongside CMOs and other marketing leaders to help them improve their marketing operations with a common goal of growing enrollment.

I honestly never had a dream of owning my own business. I kind of fell into it and thought, “hey, why don’t I keep doing this for a little while?” A little while turned into 4.5 great years. I’ve had fantastic partnerships with several agencies that either referred work to me or brought me in as a subcontractor to bring my expertise into segments of their client projects. I’ve had executive search firms refer me for interim leadership roles and onboarding new CMOs. Past clients have referred me to their colleagues at other institutions. My network is deep from being in this industry for nearly 25 years, attending countless conferences and speaking at most of them. I still get calls from people who came to one of my presentations from nearly 10 years ago. Who knew I was marketing for my future business I didn’t even know I’d one day have back then? This network is what kept me in business for these past 4.5 years and for that, I am enormously grateful.

I’m also moving into an exciting new chapter personally, as well. I’m getting married to the man of my dreams in April, I’m becoming a stepmom to two sweet kiddos, and we’re closing on and moving into our new house this spring. Spring of 2020 is definitely going to be a season I won’t ever forget.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me.

Now a New York State Certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise

I am pleased to share that Rachel Reuben Consulting, LLC is now a New York State Certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise.

For state agencies and other organizations needing to meet a business requirement to have a certain percentage of work being contracted to someone with this certification, particularly in the areas of marketing and communications, I’m your gal!

New York State Certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE)I can and have worked with larger marketing firms who need to exert good efforts to sub-contract part of their larger contract to achieve a participation goal of a certain percentage for Women-Owned Business Enterprises in New York state.

In the higher education vertical, I excel in marketing staff assessments and audits, presentation of strategy and recommendations to key stakeholders on campuses, assessment, and review of current brand assets, developing a detailed college-wide brand rollout plan, and delivering on-campus training and workshops to marketing teams and college-wide stakeholders.

I also have extensive work experience with nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and faith-based organizations. Check out some of my work under my Marketing Tech Therapy umbrella.

Please contact me for more information and to talk about your next project.

Celebrating one year in business

Facebook memories reminded me the other day that it has been one year since I officially began my consulting business. What a ride it has been! I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with colleges, universities, solopreneurs, small businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations. I’ve had the great pleasure of working with 15 clients in this first year on a wide variety of projects, and have some very exciting opportunities on the horizon for the remainder of this year.

I’d like to thank all of my clients, my network of colleagues, friends and family for supporting me through this venture. Here’s to many more years ahead!

I’m not on my own

I was just reading an article on Inc.com called “12 Things You Need to Really Get Rid of in the Next 12 Months.” #3 leapt off the page at me, but not entirely for the reasons the author likely intended.

Stop thinking you’re on your own.

When friends and family have asked me in recent months what I do now that I left my full-time job at a university, I typically respond by saying “I’m on my own now, consulting.” That couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth. Yes, I am consulting. Sure, I am my own boss (when my clients are the boss of me). 🙂 I don’t have employees. I am single. I don’t have children. I live alone. However, I am anything but on my own.

This fall I decided to start my own company and offer consulting services in marketing and communications to higher education and small businesses in large part because of the community and network I have been privileged to be part of for twenty years. This is a community like no other. I have friends at various institutions and companies around the country who have been so kind to reach out, take a call from me, and connect me to others in their network. Because of them (you, since you’re reading this!), I have had a very successful and happy first several months as an official LLC. My many strong leads for the new year are from this incredible network.

So, I’ll repeat it again — I am anything but on my own now. I couldn’t do this without you. Thank you for being part of this incredible community. Thank you to my close friends and family members who have stuck by me and supported me through this crazy journey of a year. Thank you all for being part of my early success as a consultant. Cheers to a happy, peaceful 2016, full of projects and opportunities that make us flourish.

Sharpening my saw

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” (Closing Time, Semisonic.)

I started graduate school with the hope that I could bring greater value to my current position, and someday advance my career in the field of marketing and communication in higher ed. After three and a half years, I earned my MBA in marketing and management in December.

In November 2008, I met some amazing people at the Stamats SIM Tech Conference, and those connections have been instrumental in much of what I’ve been able to accomplish since. I joined the .eduGuru blogging staff in December 2008, which gave me the opportunity to start blogging for the first time, make some wonderful connections, and became one of the primary forces thrusting me into a whirlwind of conference presentations in 2009.

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Protecting your College’s Intellectual Property on Facebook: Learning from the Class of 2014 Groups

The following is a guest post by Mike Petroff, Web Manager for Enrollment at Emerson College. Mike leads Web marketing and recruitment efforts for undergraduate and graduate admission. He also chairs the Social Media Group at Emerson, working with several departments to develop strategies and policies for the college’s social media presence. You can connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

If you are a staff member involved in your college’s Facebook presence, you are probably well aware of the “FacebookGate” fiasco with many Class of 2013 groups. As a result of Facebook’s sweeping approach to delete groups in question, colleges lost established communities even after some gained control of their Class of 2013 groups by becoming administrators and removing non-applicants.

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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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Division III Releases Social Networking Rule Change for Communicating with Prospective Student-Athletes

The Division III Management Council just released their newly adopted “noncontroversial change to the Division III electronic transmissions limitations.” They’ve given it a retroactive effective date of August 1, 2008 to match when their original legislation went into effect. They’ve also released this article: “DIII Council opens up use of social-networking media

  • Division III institutions now are free to use such media as Facebook and Twitter to publicize game results and other athletics news without worrying whether prospective student-athletes are receiving those “electronically transmitted” messages, provided the communication meets some new objective guidelines established by the Division III Management Council.”

The original bylaw said:

“Electronically transmitted correspondence that may be sent to a prospective student-athlete by, or on behalf of, a member of the institition’s athletics department staff is limited to electronic mail and facsimiles. All other forms of electronically transmitted correspondence (e.g. instant messaging, text messaging and social networking Web sites) are prohibited.”

They’ve now added to this — “except as specified in this section.”

  • “Any member of the general public may become a member of the group to which the electronic transmission is sent.”
    • In other words, no closed/gated online communities
  • “A prospective student-athlete who chooses to receive electronic transmissions through the electronic service must retain the ability to decline receipt of the communications at any time or may unsubscribe from all electronic service at any time.”
    • In other words, use common sense and always have unsubscribe options with all forms of communication.
  • “The content of any electronic transmission that is sent to a public group that may include prospective student-athletes must be the same for all members of the group (e.g. news alerts, admissions and alumni information, scores) and of a general nature.”
    • We can’t send custom content to recruits.
  • “The proposal does not allow direct person-to-person electronic communication with an individual prospective student-athlete sent by a member of the athletics department staff, or on their behalf, (e.g., instant messaging, comments via MySpace, Wall-to-Wall via Facebook, direct messaging via Twitter) except via electronic mail or facsimile. Further, the proposal ensures the communications are being sent from the athletics department or the institution, and not from the individual members of the athletics department acting on their own.”

This last paragraph is most crucial, and makes it even more important for collaborative efforts on your campus. Your athletic director likely received this communication (it was e-mailed at 9 a.m. ET this morning, July 22), but it may be a bit confusing for those that don’t have a great understanding of the various tools.  From that e-mail, they offer this example:

  • “If your coach uses Twitter or Facebook on their own for communication of athletics related information, and that information is delivered to prospective student-athletes, you will need to report that violation.”

Am I the only one thinking they’ve contradicted themselves here? On one hand they’re saying if it’s generic information and publicly available to anyone, then why would a coach disseminating that same public information in a public space be in violation?

Here is the complete PDF that was attached to the e-mail communication this morning. I’d love to hear your take on it.

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 CafĂ© 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 “CafĂ© 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?