Creating a Golden Spark

High school teenagers looking to embark on the long and arduous journey that is the college application process, are constantly bombarded with messages, and have to provide personal information so many times that if they didn’t already know their parents’ birthdays or social security number, it’s now burned into their memory. With all of the noise and monotony inherent in the application process, how can a school stand out and stay at the top a student’s mind?

Well, while you can dream of having students tripping over themselves to provide you their information, don’t quite get your hopes set that high. But there are a few tactics like interaction and strong branding that can help improve your results. Combine this with a consistent, comprehensive campaign across social, print, and email, and your message will actually have a chance to stand above the noise.

TWG Plus utilized these tactics to create a website for Northern Kentucky University designed to mine information from potential students, and won gold at the 2015 Education Digital Marketing Awards for its successful project.

In developing the Northern Kentucky University landing page, it was imperative we create a site that engaged students and encouraged them to submit their information.  The landing page we developed for NKU integrated their new brand while at the same time utilized “gamification” as an added tool to entice the student to take action. 

The site, combined with the coordinated mailers, have resulted in building the NKU inquiry and application pool with students who are interested in NKU for their many fantastic academic programs, campus facilities and student activities!

Find your Spark: NKU Landing Page

2015 Education Digital Marketing Award Winners

The 2015 Education Digital Marketing Awards measured our work among the best in the nation results are in! We are happy to announce that this year we brought home 8 great wins!

We are proud to congratulate our higher education partners on their 2015 digital awards and look forward to another great year!

Gold Winners:

Monmouth College Digital Viewbookmonmouth_dvb

 

Northern Kentucky University Landing Page

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Silver Winner:

University of Virginia at Wise Digital Viewbook

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Bronze Winner:

Manhattanville College Digital Viewbook

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Merit Winners:

Catawba College Digital Viewbook
Maryville University School of Adult and Online Education Landing Page
Stevenson University Digital Viewbook
Stevenson University Landing Page

 

5 Strategies to Reach Social Media Maturity

Everyone has social accounts now, so many of you passed Social 101. But how do you take your social strategy to the next level? Here are five things to consider to transform your social from scatterbrained teenager into a mature young adult.

 

Conversations/Responses

Social is all about conversations. If you’re not having conversations, you’re doing it wrong. Well, at the very least you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Every mention or question posed by a user on social is a marketing gift. Someone was so interested in your school that they decided to engage with you directly. The potential students you’re looking to have enroll found you! And you didn’t have to spend a dime. Don’t leave them hanging, feed their excitement with a response. Think about it this way. With one response, you’re more likely to see that student share it with his or her friends and followers – expanding your reach in a way that you could never see with a regular post, and essentially doing your work for you. The goal is to respond to every mention you receive – these are often the people most interested in your school.

 

 

Listening

Everyone wants to build up their follower count. Don’t be selfish, it’s not all about you! As much as you believe your post about your campus event is super exciting, your students and potential students may have no interest whatsoever. Take some time to listen to what your followers are saying, what they’re interested in, and what they’d like to see. Taking a minute to understand who you’re talking to can dramatically increase your engagement. Basically, instead of focusing so much on getting people to follow and listen to you, follow your audience (literally also, if you’d like). The irony…

 

Organizational Structure for Scale

Once you’ve gotten a good foundation and think you have it all down, it’s time to think about scaling. Doesn’t matter how much of a genius you are, at some point you’ll need to scale to manage the social accounts on different platforms. This means creating best practices, brand guidelines, and having everyone on the same page. Sure every department wants to be heard, but your school ends up screaming at your audience from 20 different accounts. Not good. Ideally, there should be one account on each platform – it keeps everything streamlined, ensures your brand is consistent, and it makes it easier for your audience to digest your message. Short of that, consolidate your accounts to get as close to this ideal as possible with a “hub and spoke” model. Your main account should lead the way, while all other accounts are flowing in perfect harmony.

 

Branded Content

Sure, you’re not using your own proprietary platform. But that doesn’t mean you can’t customize it to make it your own. Your streams will look infinitely better with a healthy dose of your own consistently branded images, and with the right message, you should see a healthy increase in your engagement. Visual content does better than text.

 

 

Personality

Loosen your tie. Really, just take it off. That said, at the risk of throwing out the biggest cliche of all-time, be yourself. Stay true to your brand and your voice. If you have no idea what “dabbing” is or if you want to post Star Wars content just because it’s hot right now, think twice. GIFs? Memes? Go for it, just make sure it makes sense for your audience.

 

James Edward Ogle-stache! #peteyontheshelf

A photo posted by Oglethorpe University (@oglethorpeuniv) on

 

You may be thinking to yourself, “But Chandler, we do these already.” Well that may be true, however, it takes time, consistency, and a lot of work to become great at anything. I know how to play soccer, but I’m certainly no Messi. Keep refining your strategy and while you’ll never be perfect, you can get pretty close.

 

Questions? Suggestions? Want to yell at me and tell me I’m wrong? Cool, drop a comment below!

9 Tips from a Social Media Expert

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As a prior admissions counselor and assistant director of admissions, Taylor Florio brings a wealth of enrollment management experience to TWG Plus team. During that time, she’s specifically created and managed social campaigns in higher ed. Extremely passionate about higher education, she is also an active member of both NACAC and SACAC. Taylor loves living in Charlotte and enjoys to travel, seeking out the best Americano and local flare wherever she goes.

I could go on about everything she’s done, but this is a blog post and not a novel. Anyway, I picked her brain about social media, and here are some of the jewels of wisdom she came back with.

How do you measure success?

Success in my eyes is when a social channel is able to remain constant with content and activity while steadily growing their following.  It’s not always about a surplus in followers, but a following that will engage.

How do you determine which platform(s) to use?

I have always been a huge supporter of only managing social channels if they will be managed well.  Knowing where your audience is spending the most time is key to choosing which social platforms on which to have a presence.  It’s better to have an excellent presence on a few platforms than to be on every social platform and be inconsistent.

What is one of the campaigns you’re proudest of and why?

When I was working in admissions as an assistant director and social media manager, there were a lot of campaigns attempted through the enrollment funnel cycle.  One in particular which measured great success was from a scholarship interview program held on campus.  We had over 200 students and their families on campus for the interview process and I was charged to get those students socially engaged.  In addition to the usual social platform and hashtag plugs during the event, students were asked to capture and post anything that made their experience on campus during the program extraordinary.  We tracked the hashtag over the length of the program and awarded the winner via a social wall at the closing luncheon of the program.  We had a tremendous amount of activity and enough posts to fill a social wall for over 30 minutes without recycling the feed!  I put this in the books as one I am proudest of because it pulled creativity out of our audience and kept them engaged throughout the entire program. The students from that event yielded at the highest rate compared to other campus programs and the images collected from social were ones we could reuse for future content.  WIN WIN.

What trends do you see for current students and what trends do you see coming in the near future?

Snapchat.  Admissions offices and colleges campuses need to be on Snapchat.  This platform is ever-evolving and has dominated the phones of teenagers.  It allows for a true organic look into the day-to-day of a college campus and can be a wonderful addition to recruitment and retention.

What is another school you feel is doing a great job with social?

Tulane.  When I first started taking over the social media for my admissions office, I was digging around for social media aspirational schools who were doing things well.  That’s when I found TruTU.  I highly recommend anyone to explore their social media hub (TruTU) for inspiration.  Kudos to Jeff Schiffman!

Which new platform are you most excited about using?

The platform that’s next.  With social media, there will always be a “next” platform to explore and experiment with.  At the moment, Snapchat is at the top of my list.  There is so much you can do with it and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Is there anything unique about your students that you incorporate into your campaigns, and if so, what?

One favorite aspect of bringing in unique features to a campaign is implementing student takeovers.  Anything from student body president, Greek life participants, student athletes, students abroad, or internship sneak peaks can all be a way to engage the audience even more!  Inclusiveness is the key to any good campaign.

What are some best practices you would recommend for social campaigns?

Constancy with brand, transparency and organic qualities, thinking outside the box, and staying relevant.

What are 3 pieces of advice you would give to anyone about starting and running a social campaign?

  • Start with one platform and work your way up from there, don’t have too much on your plate until you know you are doing well.
  • Don’t be afraid to be creative.  It’s okay if your social doesn’t look like everyone else.
  • Absolutely without a doubt make sure you have created best practices and strategy and share with everyone involved prior to the creation of a social campaign.

Have any questions about the knowledge Taylor just dropped? Comment below and stay tuned to the blog for more social media wisdom from industry vets!

How To Create A Social Media Campaign

Everyone understands the importance of social now, but most can get even more out of it with a strategic social campaign. If you already have marketing efforts executed, a social campaign can be another effective component to complement them. Here are some basic steps to get you from your brilliant idea(s) all the way through a successful social media campaign.

 

Determine Your Goals

Just like doing social for social’s sake is a cardinal sin, so is starting a social campaign without a goal. No goal? Don’t bother. If you’re having trouble thinking of one, increasing engagement across your accounts is a simple place to start, and if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can set goals to increase conversions and revenue.

Define Your Story

Social is sharing. Humans have been telling stories since the beginning of time, and despite all the time that’s passed since we were in caves, storytelling to accurately transfer ideas is something we haven’t lost. What’s unique about your school? Its students? Traditions? All these can help craft a compelling idea and as always, wrap it up in a concise hashtag so you can track it.

 

Choose Your Channel

Just keeping you on your toes. No, of course you don’t have to choose one channel. Choose the platforms that make sense for the campaign. Are you trying to get real-time engagement? Try Twitter, Snapchat, and/or Periscope. Know where your audience is and meet them there. With this in mind, never be afraid to experiment and try fresh concepts on new platforms. People tend to find great content no matter where it is, and being innovative on a new platform can really pay off.

Implement, Monitor, Adjust

You’ve done all your research, and know what you want to accomplish. Now go out and do it. Keeping a content calendar can be helpful with execution. Once you’ve been implementing, it’s time to monitor how things are going. Not going as well as you might have hoped, or come across new relevant information? Don’t panic, try tweaking your tactics a bit to help right the ship.

Measure

At this point, everything should be tracked and it’s time to see how your results stack up against your goals. Even if it didn’t turn out as well as you’d hoped – chin up, champ. You executed a social campaign from start to finish. Blew past your goals? While you’re popping that bottle of champagne, consider making a post to shout out everyone who helped you achieve them. Not only is it a good gesture, but you could technically use the engagement to count towards the campaign numbers as well.