Social Media Acceptance Strategies

With all the focus on getting the rear ends in the seats so to speak, it’s easy to look at your potential students as another number to meet your quota for the year. When you’re dealing with incoming classes in the hundreds and thousands, it makes sense and you can be forgiven for using this train of thought.

But with increased competition and declining yield rates, you also need to stand out to nab your best and brightest applicants. While direct mail still works, making full use of the power of social media to add a personal touch during the acceptance process can do wonders.

There isn’t a better time to use social than when an accepted student posts about how ecstatic he or she is about the news. For them, it can quite literally be validation for a lifetime of hard work, and they want to share their accomplishment. There isn’t another time that they will be this excited about your school, so take advantage of it.

How? Tune in next week at 11:30 am CST to our webinar, “Social Media in Higher Ed – How To Get Results” to learn about some specific strategies using social. You can register here.

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Should You Pay Attention to Peach?

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It’s gotten a generous amount of buzz over the last couple weeks across the interwebs, but what is this new messaging app that is apparently the next best thing? Peach. Cute name, basic interface and functionality. Seems simple enough, but you’re probably either rolling your eyes right now or shuddering at the thought of having to add another platform to your workload. “Chandler, do I really have to pay attention to this one?” The short answer is maybe, but read on to find out more. You could end up a full lap ahead of your competition in the higher ed world.

In a nutshell, Peach is a messaging app. Think along the lines of the seemingly millions of them out there. Yes, there’s yet another one trying to make a splash. It allows users to send simple messages to their friends who they add on the platform. Send text, pictures, and GIFs to your friends quickly on a clean interface. There isn’t a main stream on Peach like there is on Facebook or Twitter, so you won’t be inundated with posts you don’t want to see. It gives it a more intimate feel.

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There are three central sections – friends you follow, friends of friends, and your profile where you can see all of the posts you’ve sent. Your friends can see, comment and like your posts, just like on the other major platforms.

What’s different about Peach, and what it has to be banking on for its success, is its Magic Words feature. Whenever you type “GIF” for example, it will allow you to automatically search for and post a GIF. The intriguing part of the feature is that while there are plenty of commands that are well-known (draw, shout, move, etc), there are plenty left to be discovered.

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As it is, it’s hard for me to see a direct translation to the world of higher ed. Not sure there will be enough students willing to become friends with you to make it worth your while, but that was also the case with Snapchat. Peach says it “reads every review to make Peach better for you.” If it can stay around long enough to evolve and not become another casualty in the failed app cemetery (RIP, Meerkat), it very well could be an app you don’t want to ignore.

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!