6 Ways Social Media Can Improve Your Next Campaign

Trying to increase enrollment? Of course you are!

Social media can help you do just that and it’s a tool that every institution should include in its digital marketing arsenal.

But how are you supposed to get the most out of it?

You want to connect with your audience where they are. Over 84% of your high school prospects are on social, and 71% of them are active on multiple social platforms. Over three-quarters are highly active on their phones, as they send an average of 30 text messages per day. If that’s not enough, Facebook is now the most popular mobile app in America.

Ok so if your students are all online, does this mean print is dead? Well, not quite. While digital is playing an exponentially larger role, it just means the landscape is changing. And as marketers, we need to adapt or get left behind.

On the groundswell of mobile and social media usage, we need to take a 360 degree view of the print and digital experience. Teens switch between both digital and physical worlds easily. Institutions of higher learning, in turn, must think from the social handset up, and provide a stellar real world experience.

Here are some of the benefits of social and how you can integrate it into your next campaign to help supercharge your results.

Response Speed

There are plenty of steps in the recruitment funnel, and throughout the process, students have plenty of questions. The quicker you can respond, the longer you can keep them engaged, and social allows you to do this immediately.

Keeping a sense of humor and honesty about everything helps as well. They might even share your conversation – turning what could have been a negative interaction into a positive that could not have been possible on any other medium.  In the exchange below, the Bradley University social media manager, kept the conversation about Search emails light, human and honest.

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(Reference: Uversity, Chegg, 2014 Social Admissions Report Webinar)

Monitor Perceptions and Activity

The beauty of social is you can see in real-time what students think about your school – from a wave of excitement about the school’s big win in the NCAA tournament, to a single disgruntled student upset about his lunch that day. Knowing what people are saying about you will keep your finger on the pulse of your audience, and can help you adjust your strategy accordingly.

Monitor Your Competition

Similarly, you can monitor what your competition is doing as well. Whether you watch from afar as their latest hashtag sinks, or want to imitate one of their more successful campaigns, it can help you gain an edge in the crowded field.

Personalized Communication

If you want to stand out in the competition to enroll the best students, you have to separate yourself from the pack. Prospective students are overwhelmed with mail pieces and social is the perfect way to rise above the clutter from other schools – pretty literally. Personalizing your approach through social can go a long way in recruiting the best talent.

Support Other Marketing Efforts

With all the preaching I’ve been doing on social media, I still don’t believe it should be the only medium you should use in your strategy. However, it should complement your marketing efforts to create an integrated campaign that can be translated across multiple channels – including mobile, desktop, tablet, and yes, even print. Integrating a social element instantly provides the opportunity to expand the reach of your campaign. Adding a hashtag for users to follow, or encouraging students to create their own content can produce significant results for a relatively low amount of effort.

Drive Traffic to Your Digital Properties

You certainly can’t click on a link to a website on a piece of paper. But with with social, it makes driving traffic to your site seamless – and that’s what your audience is looking for. Want to get prospects to sign up for your next recruiting event? Social can help. Want to drive students to your shiny new landing page? Social. Want to encourage them to deposit and enroll? Social can even help there.


No matter what your digital strategy looks like, social media can and should be an integral part of your campaigns. Use its features wisely, and watch your enrollment numbers rise.

Improve Your Brand’s Performance

From crafting a unique story that uncovers your key messages to creating the buzz that sets you apart, building and maintaining a successful brand is no easy feat for an educational institution. Is your school up to the challenge? Of course it is – so take a deep breath and follow our tips for taking your brand to the next level.

Top 10 Tips Brand Banner

Know your audience.

What matters most to them? Start with a solid foundation of market research to bring clarity and focus to your branding efforts.

Know thyself.

What sets you apart from the rest? Identify your distinctive qualities and develop a message that highlights those strengths.

Make a promise.

Let your brand promise be your guide. Strive to meet and exceed expectations at every level of communication.

Be authentic.

Authenticity speaks volumes. Brands that tell a genuine, honest story will resonate with your students, build trust and make a connection.

Be consistent.

Your brand represents who you are. Regardless of the medium, consistency is key to building recognition, familiarity and trust.

Create brand ambassadors.

An engaged and passionate internal audience is the key to brand awareness. Let your faculty, staff and students be your voice.

Be inspired.

Inspire your students by taking risks. When you explore new and creative ways to connect with your audience, you strengthen your brand.

Be data-driven.

Just remember success takes time. Conduct surveys, focus groups and interviews to gain insights of the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Build community.

Invite your audience to be a part of your story. Every tweet, post, like or share extends your brand’s reach exponentially. Encourage it.


An updated brand deserves some buzz. So celebrate your institution on campus: throw a party, print new t-shirts, make a splash. Incorporate elements of your new brand into every marketing effort.

Download the Top 10 Tips to Improve your Brand’s Performance

If you are in the Atlanta area and would like to learn more about our brand process and what it could do for your institution please join us at Brand Camp August 26th. Sign up today! 

5 Proven Marketing Methods for Increasing your HBCU Class

5 Proven Marketing Methods for Increasing you HBCU ClassI worked in undergraduate admissions for nine years, and the majority of those years were spent at Morehouse College in Atlanta, a historically black college for men founded in 1867. Aside from trying to convince young men from across the country and throughout the world to attend a single sex institution, the biggest worry of each year was “will we make the number?” Or in other words, would we hit our enrollment goals for the recruitment cycle?

In today’s higher education landscape, competition is fiercer than ever. After recent changes in the credit standards of financial assistance through PLUS, HBCU’s experienced a decline in enrollment, the biggest in first-year students.*  As a result of this, it’s going to take a sophisticated, varied and integrated marketing approach to reach the desired population that will not only apply to your institution, but that will confirm and later enroll.

With sights set on the fall classes of 2016 and 2017, its never too early to get some advice, direction and a new game plan for the next classes of students that will inhabit your college or university.

In our conversation, we’ll be discussing Research, Student Search, Digital View Books, Publications and Integrated Marketing Campaigns, and how each of these assets can help you increase your class.

Far too seldom do colleges and universities take the time to conduct market research on themselves. This extremely valuable information will enable data-driven analysis that is necessary to make your marketing and recruitment efforts more effective and take the guesswork out of your approach.

Student Search is the name of the game. Differentiate your institution with a clearly defined, organized and systemic schedule of messages in the digital and print space, as well as poignant, pointed and substantial messaging should be a big step in recruiting your class, and meeting and exceeding your recruitment goals.

The same publications year in and year out gets old, and become ineffective. A fresh way to look at how to create publications will be discussed, and more importantly, all of the different types of publications that are necessary to speak to all of the populations needed to increase your class.

There will always be a place for print in higher education marketing, however, how an institution markets itself digitally is becoming of paramount importance. Digital View Books are where this medium is headed, and not only are they an innovative and new perspective on the look and feel of an institution, they are so much more cost effective than print, can be altered in far less time, and their activity and effectiveness can be measured.

Using all of the strategies together in an Integrated Marketing Campaign will show that your institution is serious about recruiting and marketing to the desired populations of students, parents and counselors. Our conversation will cover how IMCs work, and how, regardless of the size of your institution, a campaign can be tailored for your school’s needs.

During the discussion you will learn how you can join other top-ranking HBCUs who have partnered with TWG Plus, such as Spelman College, Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State University, Morgan State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Talladega College and Clark Atlanta University to name a few.

On Wednesday, June 24th at 2pm EST, we’ll discuss concrete and substantial methods to increase your HBCU class. Join us for the discussion by registering here.

*Source: Top Strategic Issues Facing HBCUs, Now and into the Future. A report by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges

Survey Research vs. Focus Groups


In my work with clients I’m often asked, “Which is better? Surveys or focus groups?”
Data-gathering through surveys and focus groups is an important component of brand positioning. It’s also a smart, strategic effort to learn about prospective students’ decision making process and their perceptions of your institution.

Let’s take a look at surveys and focus groups.

Survey Research:

  • Can be more cost effective, collecting the most data possible, at a fraction of the price of numerous focus groups
  • Provides more quantifiable and statistically significant data which can be cross cut to account for various segment groups (based on demographics, program of interest, GPA, etc.)
  • Allow for more candid responses without the influence of others’ opinions
  • Helps establish better benchmarks and the ability to track changes in responses over time, which can give you further insights into overall marketing and recruitment strategies and tactics

Focus groups: 

  • Tend to take place with a much smaller sample size in an interactive group setting
  • Are often too small to draw definitive conclusions, and data can be harder to analyze
  • Can be a great way to encourage participants to share ideas and express opinions and attitudes
  • Can be an effective way to facilitate open discussions and allow members of your campus community to express themselves deeper that a less-personal survey
  • Can be more costly and time consuming, in comparison to a survey. But if you have deep or complex issues you want to understand better before developing targeted, meaningful questions to include on your survey, or, if you have a number of theories which you would like to test for relevance, focus groups are a great tool in providing clarity and structure to the next steps of your research 

Keep in mind, however, that without the anonymity of a survey, it can be challenging for some people to speak freely and express their opinions.

So, which is better?
  • If you are simply looking to generate ideas or gather feedback about what prospective students (and potentially other audiences) think about a creative concept, or your programs, or academic offerings, then focus groups may be more helpful
  • But, when it comes to collecting consistent, reliable and accurate data, the advantages of survey research are unbeatable
  • Survey research provides a larger sample, with responses that are more honest and open, providing data that is more concrete and easier to analyze
  • Focus groups certainly have some advantages, but surveys can offer significantly more meaningful data

In my experience, the best strategy is to use a combination of the two approaches for the best results:

Conduct focus groups first to inform and refine the questions which will ultimately be asked in a quantitative survey (or conversely – focus groups can be used following a quantitative survey to dive deeper into certain issues or to further refine concepts introduced/tested in a survey). Allow focus groups and surveys to affirm and enhance one another.

In other words…measure twice, cut once.

Ultimately, reliability is a key factor in strategic decision-making. With either method of research, we want to make sure that the information collected is going to provide accurate and reliable information in order to make informed strategic decisions and move forward with confidence. When implemented correctly, a little market research can go a long way in improving your overall marketing and recruitment efforts and generate a considerable return on investment (ROI) for your institution.

Are you contemplating testing a creative concept or gathering information regarding your current image in the marketplace? Contact us. We’d love to talk.


Are You Ready For Google’s Changes To Mobile Search?

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.32.04 AMIf you have been putting off updating your website to make it mobile-friendly, now is the time to make those changes.

Beginning April 21st, Google will expand mobile-friendliness as a ranking element. This change will affect searches on mobile devices and will have a significant impact on mobile search results.

This algorithm change will place sites that are deemed mobile-friendly higher in mobile search results.

This also means that websites that currently have high rankings could lose their top positions if they are not mobile-friendly.

What You Can Do About The Mobile Search Change

Enter your website’s URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and it will let you know if your site is mobile friendly.

If your website passes the test, you will see a green banner indicating that your site is mobile friendly.

If your site does not pass the test, Google will give you some suggestions to fix the problem.

Common Reasons Why a Website Isn’t Mobile-Friendly:

• Your content is wider than the screen
• Your text is too small
• Your links are too close together
• You aren’t using responsive design

Work with your webmaster or contact us to ensure that you don’t get bit by the coming changes.