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.
Tag: social media
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.
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.
Next, 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?
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.
A couple of weeks ago I argued reasons why it might be more effective to piggyback on existing strategies that exist at your institution rather than create a stand alone social media strategy. In this post I alluded to considering your Facebook Fan Page like a Cafe, which was inspired by Chris Brogan’s post entitled, “Cafe-Shaped Conversations.” After putting the two together, and brainstorming with some colleagues, we came up with “Cafe New Paltz,” an exclusive online community for fall 2009 accepted students. We’re using Ning and will launch this on January 2.
I teamed up with a colleague in our Office of Undergraduate Admission (Shana), who I’ve worked closely with on our Facebook Fan Page over the last year, among other eRecruiting-related initiatives, as well as my graduate assistant. My Senior Web Producer has an uncanny way of seeing inside my head and making my visions become a design reality (see graphic on right).
The idea Shana and I pitched her boss builds on their strategy to increase the academic quality of our incoming fall 2009 student body. There are more specific goals within that overall theme that I’m not going to disclose here, but this is a trend we’ve been working on for many years.
We’re going to start by inviting the ~1,400 early action accepted students into this community when we send them an e-mail through Ning’s invitation feature on January 2. Around March 1 we plan to invite the general accepted students pool to join in.
My graduate assistant and Shana’s intern will be serving as the community’s “baristas.” They have been working together to develop ideas for the content they’re going to produce inside this community. They will have weekly videos called “Flavor of the Week,” and every video will end with an actionable request to engage the accepted students to produce content of their own within the community. Shana is even sewing them custom aprons to wear. 🙂
This is an exciting new adventure for us, although I know there are many universities have created communities for accepted students for the last few years. I plan on this being the first post in a series of posts about “Cafe New Paltz” that will document this project and the milestones along the way. I’m hoping it will be a resource for those who have not started something like this, and can be a place where we exchange ideas to build stronger communities for our students. Given the tight budget climate, this is the type of initiative that can score big for little financial investment.
This project is extremely timely given the recent Facebook scandal for the class of 2013 groups. I know these accepted students will still use Facebook, but I’m glad we’re giving them a safe, gated community to interact with each other without any squatters trying to take advantage of them.
Tell us about your community! Or, are you trying to start one for the first time?