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Leveraging Twitter to Reach Moms Considering a Return to School
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Leveraging Twitter to Reach Moms Considering a Return to School

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This case study highlights a Twitter event sponsored by The CollegeBound Network in conjunction with Mom It Forward/#GNO.

This case study highlights a Twitter event sponsored by The CollegeBound Network in conjunction with Mom It Forward/#GNO.

Published in: Education

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  • 1. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION Leveraging According to Nielson Online, Twitter.com is the fastest growing social networking site, achieving a 343% growth rate between September 2007 and September 2008. The latest numbers from Nielsen Online indicate that Twitter grew 1,382% year-over-year in February 2009, registering a total of just more than 7 million unique visitors in the U.S. for the month. (Mashable.com) T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 2. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION THE COLLEGEBOUND NETWORK TWEETS TO CONNECT WITH POTENTIAL STUDENTS Editors at CollegeBound.net, CollegeSurfing.com, and SpaBeautySchools.com personally manage dedicated Twitter accounts to broadcast content, connect and engage users, and share information about CollegeBound Network resources and offerings. http://www.twitter.com/CollegeBoundnet http://www.twitter.com/CollegeSurfing http://www.twitter.com/SpaBeauty T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 3. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION CASE STUDY: Moms Back at School on On March 3, 2009, The CollegeBound Network (CBN) sponsored its first-ever social networking event targeting mothers interested in returning to school by using Twitter and a partnership with Mom It Forward’s Girls’ Night Out (#GNO). Girls' Night Out (GNO) is a dedicated block of time (Tuesdays, 9-11 p.m. EST) when approximately 300-500 “Mom It Forward” participants sign onto Twitter.com and converse using the #GNO hashtag. A hashtag tracks conversation threads for easy monitoring on the popular social networking site. A topic is set and those in attendance “Tweet” together and ask questions of an expert Twitter panel. Participants in this event had the opportunity to chat with a successful mom-student, learn more about the flexibility of career education, and discover ways they could jump-start their own back-to-school pursuits, while managing a busy personal and professional life. Featured panelists included Gina LaGuardia, editorial director of The CollegeBound Network; Keith Bourne, founder of AdaptiveCampus.com; Stuart Finkelson, enrollment supervisor at Capella University; and Nicole Russo, a student in Capella University's master's in mental health counseling degree program and single mom of a 9-year-old. Editors from CollegeSurfing.com, SpaBeautySchools.com, and CollegeBound.net were on hand to share insight as well. Among the resources offered by The CollegeBound Network in their role as “Expert Twitter Guest” at the #GNO event was a landing page dedicated to “Moms Back at School”. The informational page presented a number of related articles, along with an area to monetize potential student traffic via request-for-information forms. Additional areas were also delineated for Partner branding. T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 4. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION SUBJECT MATTER Participants in this informational and motivational event included a variety of women, including: • a 42-year-old woman who recently received her degree summa cum laude • a mom who got her master's degree while her husband was in Iraq (she even finished early!) • a mom who went to law school at night while working full time and now wants to get a master's degree in public health online • many moms contemplating going back to school and others dealing with their kids getting into college, changing majors, and transferring schools. Interspersed with tweets about caring for their kids, job hunting, making dinner, learning HTML, knitting, and just supporting each other in the details of their lives, moms of all ages and stages encouraged each other in their educational endeavors. They re-tweeted and bookmarked shared links to digest at their leisure, including URLs to the robust resource area on CollegeSurfing.com that provides career education articles and blogs, as well as CBN's free school search functionality. Moms agreed that if they could handle such a busy #GNO, they're techie enough for online learning! T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 5. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION INTERACTION During the unique event, panelists fielded education questions as they streamed in. QUESTIONS POSED BY GNO PARTICIPANTS: • When is a good time to seriously be looking into scholarship opportunities? • Can you do a master's from home? I did not know that was possible. • Is there an easy way to sort through the online master's programs? • I'm hoping to go back to school; any resources for military spouses? • What types of certificate programs do you offer for those folks that have been out of school for a while? • Do you know anything about HTML/CSS classes online? • Online courses vs. being a student on campus? Pros and cons for moms? • I am interested in working with folks to help change their lives physically and mentally. What do you recommend? • I want to take graphic design courses; is a certificate program worth it? • Do you ever address homeschoolers getting ready for college on your site? • How do you weed out the good colleges from the bad? • My son is 6, is he going to have to be a Mensa member with tons of extracurriculars to get a scholarship? Layoff makes saving hard. • Can you really do online massages classes/Reiki, or [should you] just go to the local schools? • How [can I] know for sure whether a degree is globally recognized or not? • Is it possible to get an MSW online? • Health care seems to be in demand; what else do you foresee? • Any advice for transfer students - admissions, scholarships? • What would be considered a nontraditional student? • What kinds of classes are no-credit classes? ADVICE AND MOTIVATION FROM NICOLE RUSSO, MOM AND CURRENT STUDENT AT CAPELLA UNIVERSITY: In my classes, there are lots of moms and the great thing is that we are all a support system. Being on Twitter or other online networking prepares you for the experience. Time management is key. Learn to incorporate your child in the learning experience, such as having them read while [you're] reading. Pursuing an education makes you feel better about yourself because you are doing something for you. Plus your kids benefit, too. T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 6. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION MEMORABLE GNO PARTICIPANT QUOTES: If you are not learning, you are dying. [I] seriously think my need to learn new things kept me sane during the early years of motherhood. I balanced a baby and books with motivation. He had to understand that Mommy had to work; [he] was on my lap a lot! Read to them, read with them, read around them. Share your sense of curiosity about the world. Let them “teach” you. [I] wish online classes were available when I went to school. [It] would have been so much easier than finding a sitter. It's so awesome for moms to go back [to school]. My mom did and it encouraged me to go to graduate school. My mom went back to school after a 25-year hiatus. It was hard for her, but she's glad she did. She's a great example of life[long] learning. My mom got her BA when my first baby was 1. We went to her MBA graduation this past fall. Great example to us all. My kids loved it! I feel like I need to get my master's degree to be an example to my kids. I'm planning on starting when my youngest is 3. I think that some form of continuing education needs to happen regardless of [the] economy. Lifelong learners perform better. I think [that's] why so many of us are drawn to social media - you're constantly learning. For me, to live is to learn about all things - mind, body, and soul. A friend has the opportunity to go for her Ph.D. or get a job and I told her forget the job. She has a lifetime to work. I'd approach school much differently [the] second time around. I love this quote: “Those who are willing to learn will inherit the earth; those who aren't will inherit a world that no longer exists.” For a complete transcript, see http://jazzychad.com/twitter/gno-march03.html T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 7. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION DEMOGRAPHICS Although Mom It Forward does not currently have all-inclusive user demographics (the nature of Twitter.com is that #hashtag events like #GNO are ever-evolving), this informal TwitPoll presents some highlights of the group's participant base. T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 8. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION VALUE The value in this type of social media project is truly realized in terms of relationship building and networking collateral. School partners were able to forge a very valuable (often hard-to-acquire) bond from a few minutes of interaction with a number of potential students. T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 9. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION VALUE T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 10. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION VALUE T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 11. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION TESTIMONIALS “Partnering with CBN to promote lifelong learning through tradi- tional or, more realistically for moms, alternative educational options, is one way Mom It Forward is achieving its mission to change the world one mom at a time. The greatest thing about supporting moms in their educational endeavors is the ripple effect it starts, resulting in their ability to strengthen their families as well as give back to their communities.” ~ Mom It Forward Co-Founder Jyl Johnson Pattee. “The CollegeBound Network did a tremendous job facilitating this and I also believe it was a success. It is a very interesting plat- form for success. Thanks for including me!” -Stuart Finkelson, Enrollment Supervisor, Capella University School of Education, Ph.D., Ed.S., Certificate Programs “Participating in the Moms Back at School through Girls Night Out on Twitter was an empowering and inspiring experience. Being able to communicate with hundreds of amazing women and listen to their passion and drive was simply remarkable. The Twitter forum provided an exceptional opportunity to share my experiences of pursuing a master's degree at Capella as a single mom.” ~ Nicole Russo, Capella student “We used Twitter and the associated Tweetgrid tool as a platform to quickly reach a large group of geographically- dispersed individuals that share a common interest or situation. Our effort here finally helps to deliver on the original promises of the Internet, and helps to highlight the real power one can have within a social networking context.” ~ Keith Bourne, CEO, Adaptive Campus T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net
  • 12. SINCE 1987, CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION FUTURE INITIATIVES Future Twitter initiatives will include Twitter “conferences” organized around a topic and for a specific audience. These “virtual conferences” will be facilitated via Twitter.com’s stream of conversation, enabling The CollegeBound Network to assemble a targeted audience to discuss specific college-related topics: • Financial Aid • Earn and Learn • Back to School T: 718.761.4800 | E: info@collegebound.net | 1200 South Avenue, Suite 202 | Staten Island, NY 10314 www.collegebound.net