The following is a list of all entries from the social media category.
To say that the web and social media are the next frontier in recruiting prospective students may sound a bit misleading.
Colleges, including Skidmore, have been using the web to communicate with prospective students and their families since the first “.edu” domain was established. However, some colleges have been slow to adapt to this new way of communicating.
Happily, Skidmore isn’t one of them. We’ve positioned ourselves as part of the social media vanguard in higher education, particularly with respect to online recruitment. In addition to having one of the best admissions staffs in the world, we’ve put a lot of time and effort into making sure we’re communicating with students on “their level.” Prospective students are inundated with e-mails from colleges and universities, a small percentage (about 20%) are actually reading what we are sending. And with the cost of print increasing, we’ve been looking for some cost-effective ways to connect with prospective students.
What better resource to use then, then our student body? The 2011 Noel-Levitz e-Expectations report emphasizes the use of current students as one of the most effective ways to connect to prospective students. Taking that to heart, Communications and Admissions have teamed up to launch Student-to-Student, a multi-media initiative that aims to put prospective students in direct contact with current students in a cost-effective way. (You may have received this e-mail in your inbox today.) A special thank you to the marketing genius mind of Mallory Wood for acting as a mentor for this program. If you don’t know Mallory Wood, you should check out her blog.
Students (and three staff members) participating in Student-to-Student blog at least weekly (free), use Twitter at least daily (also free), maintain a presence on Facebook (guess what, it’s free, too!), and answer questions on Formspring (surprise, it’s totally free). Since launching the page on Monday, October 5, it has been viewed 433 times, and visitors have spent an average of 3.43 minutes (!) on the page.
These tools are not only cost-effective; they’re everywhere. It’s important to leverage them (and social media) in new ways to connect and communicate with these prospective students, but also to create and cultivate relationships beyond Skidmore’s walls. It’s about keeping the lines of communication open and constantly flowing between our future students and us—which is never a bad thing.
Facebook announced some changes and improvements to “make it easier to share posts, photos, tags and other content with exactly the people you want.”
For the users who have tried out Google+, you’ll see some familiar things – different profile settings (the “Everyone” setting will now be called “Public” for example) which are available in the page, as opposed to having to navigate through complicated profile menus.
Also included is more control over being tagged in photos – which will allow a user to approve or reject all tags before they are applied to a photo for visibility on your profile.
As with most changes on Facebook, this will likely be rolled out to groups of users over the next few days or so so. Take a look at the original articles, and keep an eye out for the changes to appear in your Facebook pages sometime soon.
Social media is a great way to get your audience more involved in the message you are communicating, by offering a chance to support that message with “real time” interactions. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare… the tools that you choose aren’t necessarily as important as making sure to use them well.
Think about how you advertise your social media presence – a link at the bottom of your emails, a line on your business cards, a URL in the credits of a video, a mention through another social media channel; we’ll use Facebook as our example. There are many ways to bring visitors to your Facebook page, but how do you get them to click that “Like” button, and then come back for future visits?
Take a step back, and ask yourself, “Would I hit that Like button? What does this page offer? Why would someone choose to Like it?” And then ask yourself, “What do I want to be the reason they click Like? What do I want them to perceive as my value?” Lastly… decide how you’re going to communicate it! Here are some tips.
Know what you’re going to be posting about, and when. Make a calendar and plan ahead, so that your content comes to your fans in a steady stream. Nothing loses participation more quickly than silence.
Interact with your fans. Post period welcomes to new members. Ask questions, and then use that “Like” button to show that you’ve read and appreciate the responses. Use the Facebook Questions feature to get a conversation started, and make sure that you participate!
Do not allow yourself to become a brand robot. This ties in very neatly with the above point – you have to interact with your fans in order to seem more personable and “likeable”. Don’t just spend all of your time reposting your news stories and ad campaigns – post some historical pictures to start discussion, post about the community service day, show the more personal side of your group.
Promote participation. Ask your fans to share their own pictures and stories. Allow them to add to your photo albums. This goes a long way toward promoting engagement and involvement, particularly with the Facebook page associated with a once-a-year event. A month later, solicit people to upload and comment on their memory photos. Two months later, show off historical photos and ask others to post theirs. Sharing promotes involvement, which keeps your fans returning to the page.
Show them what you offer. When you’ve got a sale, promotion, or special event, let your fans know about it. If you can, offer a “fan exclusive” – a discount, a sneak peek, a “fans only” event – something to add value to being a Facebook fan of your group.
Don’t go overboard. You see, your fans are human too, and if you fill up their feed with 20 posts a day about your event, they will eventually reach overload and either “unlike” or hide your posts. Twice a day is adequate for anything that you’re not live-covering, but always gauge your audience, and remember that responding to questions/comments is never a part of that “overboard” quota!
With the plug ins that the Web Team has to import your social media feeds into your site, you have a great set of tools to engage your visitors, if the content is interesting, relevant, and timely.
These tips are remarkably similar to the Twitter Tips that are posted on the Social Media Handbook site – good advice on one platform often translates to other social media tools.
Original ClickZ article can be found here.
Skidmore’s social media handbook can be found here.