This month’s “Best Practices” article is inspired by two growing trends in higher ed marketing and recruitment.
Trend #1: Student-to-student marketing
Nobody likes talking to a brand, digital natives can see right through typical precision messaging that uses warm campus images with ethnically diverse groups of students studying, engaging in a civic duty, or having a one-on-one with a faculty member that rearranges their schedule to accommodate every student. If you don’t think digital natives can see right through your scripted sales pitch, then you need to attend more industry meetings.
Trend #2: Less is best marketing
Admissions offices implementing a specialized programs and activities marketing strategy have seen an increases in qualified applicants. They are achieving this by making it easy for students to find the information they want and they are ensuring an early connection by giving their strongest opportunities prominent placement online and in social networks.
What we know
- Research shows that 40% of prospective students say the first link they look for on a college website it academic programs and majors.
- Students loathe perfect messaging and communications from brands.
- 92% of people trust brand recommendations from people they know.
- Finally, 70 percent of prospective students would like to hear from current students during the college search process.
What readMedia users are doing
Colleges and universities are using readMedia to promote unique programs, clubs, and activities. By doing this, they are able to target, inspire, and drive prospective students to action. Here are some great examples of your peers using readMedia to market their institution’s valuable and unique opportunities:
Space the Final Frontier
Budding astronauts, physicists, engineers, and astronomers, can’t do better than landing an internship at NASA. Clemson University granted Molly Townsend of San Diego an achievement for participating in NASA’s Glenn Academy Space Exploration program at the Glenn Research Center.
Pop Quiz: What would be more valuable to Misericordia University, posting a description about Intro to Astronomy on their Facebook Fan Page or having students share their participation in Intro to Astronomy with hundreds of family members and friends on Facebook and Twitter?
Real life Indiana Jones
Did you know that Mesalands Community College offers a week long Paleontology Field Discovery class, excavating fossils and processing them at an actual Dinosaur Museum? Until this Achievement came through, neither did we. Gary shared his Mesalands branded achievement with his 1,061 Facebook friends, and received great engagement through likes and encouraging comments.
Mesalands effectively used readMedia to market one of their unique and highly valuable hands-on courses.
A student and a sorcerer
Marquette University granted Chelsea Greco an achievement for participating in the inaugural club quiddich team. Chelsea’s achievement was awarded a institutionally verified sports badge.
Marketing upper lip hair
A word of advice for all of our new readMedia users. Look to your unique clubs like Carleton College’s official Mustache Club for inspiration. Granting the members of the Mustache Club an achievement for participation or holding a fundraiser, is a great way to make current students feel important and connected. It also gives students, institute branded, content to share with their family and friends on Facebook and Twitter.
readMedia equips you with a social media strategy that leverages your student’s Facebook wall to promote your institution. Rejuvenate your content and social media strategy with powerful testimonial, word-of-mouth marketing that is scalable, predictable and measurable.
Are you using readMedia to promote unique programs, course, clubs, or activities? If so, send us a link to one of your achievements and we’ll feature it in our November newsletter!
If you found this post useful, check out our article on how to “Attract Students With Provocative Programs and Student Stories.”
You’re the center of communication for your institution. The University employs you to create connections with the academic community and all of its stakeholders, and you’re successful in doing so. You have a communications strategy in place, you engage the community, and you present a consistent message at all points of contact. You rock!
So, why is it so damn hard to communicate with departments within your institution?
We understand that it can be hard to communicate with other departments. For this reason, we’re revamping our readMedia guide, and the new resource/help center will have a section dedicated to outreach and onboarding departments. In the meantime, I will give you what we have, some best practices to help you create relationships between departments, so you can get the information you need to crank out institution branded content.
- Create an Achievement Calendar. Once you’ve done this, you can identify the departments you need to contact to get the student information for a particular story or achievement. We just published an article that talks about creating an Achievement Calendar.
- Once you have identified the achievements you’ll be sending and the departments you need to reach out to, you can do to things. 1) Create an email to let other offices and departments know what readMedia is, how you plan to use it, and what you need from them and why. 2) Create a mini presentation and get members of a single office or department together to meet and discuss why publishing student achievements is beneficial to their departments and supports the institutions strategic plan and mission.
- Provide each department with a spreadsheet that includes the column headings necessary to create and post their students’ stories. Here is an example of what to ask departments to include in your spreadsheet.
We understand that departments do not always have easy access to student information; here are some suggestions:
- You can always ask for a master list of all students from your institution’s registrar office. A master list will allow you to create smaller spreadsheets for activities and achievements outside of graduation and dean’s list.
- Finally, seek out your “student database guru,” they can create a readMedia query (directory information on), enabling you to pull student information as needed. An example of when this would come in handy, when your study abroad coordinator sends you a spreadsheet half populated, you can refer to the master list to fill in the blanks.
If the suggestions outlined above still don’t produce fruit, call us, we’ll help you create a strategy and assist you in reaching these departments.
To anyone asking how my first week at readMedia went, I’d have to say, “Awesome.” I have a single purpose at readMedia, ensuring our clients have all of the resources they need to succeed in drawing attention to their school through publicizing the achievements of their students.” What’s more rewarding than that?
My first assignment was to write a blog post introducing myself to the readMedia community. After thinking about the many ways I could tell you how my professional experience qualifies me to be your new Customer Marketing Leader, I decided, that approach was booooring; so, I needed a new idea.
It was my last ride-along of the day; I had already sat in on a Research Brief, a Technology Brief, and finally a Customer Consultation with Danielle. Danielle said to a new client, “Contact me and I’ll help you through any problems or I’m happy to just help you think through problems too.” I was blown away by Danielle’s thoughtful remark. That’s when it hit me, Danielle’s investment in an institution’s success didn’t come with the purchase of a service pack, it’s genuine and it’s free.
In my five days on the job, I’ve learned a lot about the readMedia platform; I liken it to drinking from a fire hose, but I’ve also had the privilege of learning just as much about the company culture. In short, I’m taking this learning journey with you and my job is to help you better understand what readMedia is. That said, I’d like to share three things I’ve learned about readMedia:
No. 1: The average achievement shared on Facebook generates 7 additional page views of the original story. Multiply the number of page views by the number of students, and your department will be responsible for placing your institution’s brand in front of thousands, garnering the attention of parents, current and prospective students, and the media. One school generated 2,188 stories from a single achievement, graduation, that achievement was posted on readabout.me, it generated 15,055 page views, and finally resulted in 1,213 shares on social networks like Facebook. This was all accomplished with an investment of only 25 minutes of time.
No. 2: In one year, over 400 institutions have adopted readMedia and made it an integral part of their social media strategy. One year, 400 institutions, and over 2 million stories shared. That, to me, is amazing.
No. 3: I’m still blown away by the dedication and passion I’ve seen from the team at readMedia. Ensuring each institutions success – at any cost, drives this bright group of people. Every conversation I’ve been privy to has a similar theme – How can we make it easier for marketing, public relations, and communications departments to draw attention to their institutions brand and their students, and what can we do better to make sure this happens?
No. 4: This is a Mac lovin’ office; there’s no PC as far as the eye can see. I’ve had to abandon everything I knew about the inner-workings of a computer and start over. The forward delete maneuver finally feels natural now, but I’m open to any and all tips the readMedia community might have for navigating a Mac.
I feel very fortunate to be joining the readMedia team. As your new Customer Marketing Leader, my job is to make sure you have the resources you need to be successful with readMedia. If you ever feel overwhelmed or like you’re not using readMedia to its full potential, it’s my job to make sure you become a power user fast.
I’d like to see what you think of readMedia; do you have anything to add to my list of four? Leave a “Reply” and share your positive stories or concerns, I want to hear them all!