Are Your Followers Loyalists?

Poke, post, photo-stalk.

Because so many people use Facebook as their primary social media conduit, businesses are butting-in to grab the attention of the site’s oh-so-addicted consumers. Across the Internet, you’ll see social media sharing buttons begging to be clicked and business owners biting their nails as they “suggest” their page to hopeful prospects. “My Facebook page is likable,” they think, “likable enough to draw followers in.”

This may be the case for some businesses, but the majority haven’t been so lucky. Why are students (and young consumers, in general) so skeptical when it comes to online marketing? A recent article shares three things we should remember when marketing to college-aged Facebook users (Source: Morgan Stewart from MediaPost):

  1. Friends’ feedback is taken seriously: This generation of Facebook users strongly heeds input from friends. “Instead of simply sticking a ‘Share This’ button in their face, try prompting them by asking, ‘Want to get feedback from your friends before you buy? Post this to Facebook and see what they have to say.'”
  2. Short attention spans call for simple sites: If your Facebook page isn’t easily navigable, don’t count on sustained interest. “State problems, present clear solutions, and don’t let unnecessary links get in the way.”
  3. The ‘Honesty Radar’ is on at all times: “If your content is buried between advertisements or littered with social sharing links, then your integrity may be called into question. Keep your content clean.”

Conclusively, social media is a great way to get students involved with your brand. By simplifying your Facebook page to clearly delineate followers’ benefits, you’ll gain loyalists in no time!

Marketing Tips For Timeliness

A creative marketing campaign is nothing without the right timing. Always heed these three suggestions:

  • Time Management: “Establish a schedule of when you will work on online marketing activities on a day to day basis and for the longer term. Making a commitment to such a schedule will ensure that your campaigns are well planned out [and] up to date, [bringing] better results from consistent efforts over the long term.”
  • Be In The Right Place At The Right Time: “Thoroughly [identify] your target market, which includes determining when they are likely to be online so that you can ensure that you are active at those times.”
  • Time Is Money, So Treat It That Way: “It’s important to carefully monitor the amount of time that you are spending in all of your social media marketing activities and compare to the results you are achieving by looking at your analytics.”
  • Source: Timing is EVERYTHING in Online Marketing, Ann Donnelly

A Marketing Ploy That’s Worth The ‘Cost’

When faced with financial decisions about college, families are thrilled to find government cost calculators on school websites. After investing tons of time to explore school options, students’ financial ‘research’ should be easily-obtained and accurate; what most families don’t realize, however, is that government-issued calculators accomplish neither of these objectives.

Parents with college-bound students have enough to worry about beyond the realm of cost and financial aid. Net Price Calculators, then, should be a beneficial resource to these families and serve to simplify the application process. While custom calculators accomplish this objective (I’ll get to that in a second), government price predictions are flawed and outdated.

“The formula is so unrealistic and so old—it’s loosely based on a family budget from 1967,” claims Kim Clark from U.S. News. Because of “outdated budget estimates, [the lack of] regional adjustments and unrealistic family spending assumptions”, the default (i.e. government) cost calculators on most schools’ websites are, essentially, null and void.

The silver lining does exist, however, in the world of custom Net Price Calculators. Besides a completely personalized look and feel designed to mimic the image of your institution, custom calculators—specifically, ones created by The Whelan Group—also include a customizable scholarship matrix built into the structure. This school-specific system doesn’t stop at personalization and accuracy: Integrated contact fields serve as an easy lead-generator and data from all users is recorded into a single Admin System.

On both ends of the spectrum—admissions personnel versus applicants—custom Net Price Calculators are undoubtedly a very bright option. Their ease-of-use and accuracy trump government-issued calculators, and the custom design provides a look that is consistent with the rest of a school’s marketing campaign.

For more information on The Whelan Group’s Net Price Calculator, visit our website.

“Hip Hip Hooray!” For Social Media

Social media, social media, social media—need I say more?

The numbers are in:

  • Six in 10 consumers follow at least one brand on Facebook or Twitter—40 percent of these people do so for promotional purposes (coupons, etc.) and 30 percent are just looking for more information.
  • 67 percent of Americans prefer Facebook over other social media websites.
  • 25 percent of Americans have recommended brands to a friend through social media within the past three months.

While it might seem exciting to throw up a new picture or remind your followers about the upcoming football game, stopping there is not going to be enough to gain followers. “The challenge for companies,” claims Gary Edwards (Empathica’s VP of client services), “is to identify the triggers that make consumers want to follow their brand, further engage with them and keep them top-of-mind” (Source).

Edwards recommends that brands, products and services who utilize social media need to provide incentive to their followers: “Consumers show preference to interacting with brands that offer coupons and promotions… It’s important to recognize consumer preferences.”

I don’t care who you are—if I’m following you on Facebook or Twitter, you need to provide something of value (I’ll gladly take an iPad, for example). Although a “whoop and holler” for the basketball team is not something that needs to be silenced, brands (I’m mostly talking about schools here) have a lot more people to cater to.