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Career education-review-robert-starks-jr-harnessing-alumni-communities-with-social-media

180

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Career colleges that recognize …

Career colleges that recognize
the value of managing relationships
from prospect to graduate
and become early adopters
of social media technologies,
will position themselves to
sustain a competitive advantage
in the future.

Published in: Education
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  • 1. Harnessing AlumniCommunities withSocial MediaBy Robert Starks Jr., MaxKnowledge, Inc. A lumni are the output of an insti-tution; therefore, they are the ultimate for career colleges because we see how relationships are managed duringproof of success in an institution’s the buying cycle—moving prospectiveability to fulfill its mission. As such, students from awareness to enrollment.alumni can be the greatest competitive How is your institution’s CRM strategyadvantage for an institution. Happy continued beyond the buying cycle?alumni can become brand advocates. Does it end at enrollment?We see career colleges embrace alumni Career colleges collect employmentpartners as advocates when alumni data and conduct graduate satisfactionare featured in commercials, show up surveys, but these activities are notat Hill Day to lobby against GainfulEmployment legislation, and when they Career colleges that recognizesign e-petitions in support of academic the value of managing relation-choice. It is self-evident that alumni ships from prospect to gradu-relationships are valuable and that ate and become early adoptersalumni, serving as brand advocates, of social media technologies,create a competitive advantage for the will position themselves toinstitution. Do career colleges, however, sustain a competitive advan-fully understand the benefits of main- tage in the future.taining alumni relationships? Alumni are another label to categorize representative of an alumni CRMa customer of the institution. The strategy. These surveys are simplydifference between alumni and students required activities for continued accredi-is that alumni have completed their tation. The career college sector needstraining. Should the end of training, to see alumni as a critical part of itshowever, be the end of the relationship? CRM strategy and focus on long-termNo. Career colleges need to view benefits of alumni partnerships. Perhapsalumni as a representation of their institutions that realize the importancebrand as well as a customer. Customer of engaging their alumni just don’t knowRelationship Management (CRM) is where to begin. This is where socialwhat this is about. CRM is nothing new media can be a solution.
  • 2. 22 Career Education Review • April 2012 Social media offers an amazing solu- stronger campus community, and uses tion for several reasons. First, social a virtual social platform that students media tools are designed to facilitate prefer. This type of network provides collaboration and engagement. Thus, institutions with a true SCRM infra- social media platforms are perfect for structure from which to continue building and engaging alumni com- engaging students as they transition munities. Second, social media is a to the alumni community. Alumni com- preferred platform for millions to munities can be a source for new leads, socialize as evidenced by the growth of graduate success stories, employer social networks and the amount of time relationships, advisory board member- they command in consumer consump- ship, guest speakers, mentorship tion. According to comScore’s 2012 programs, and can even act as a talent U.S. Digital Future in Focus report, pool from which to recruit faculty and social networking accounted for 16.6 staff. These are just a few benefits. percent of all online minutes at the end Career colleges that recognize the of 2011 and was on track to become the value of managing relationships from most engaging online activity in 2012. prospect to graduate and become early Finally, social media is not only per- adopters of social media technologies, vasive; it is also scalable. This makes will position themselves to sustain a social media an efficient tool to be used competitive advantage in the future. in a Social Customer Relationship The University of Phoenix recently Management (SCRM) strategy for announced their own academic social alumni regardless of an institution’s network, which already engages over size or organizational framework. 150,000 constituents. It will be interesting Leveraging social media to reconnect to see how the career college sector will with alumni is a smart beginning to utilize social media in the future and if adopting a SCRM strategy. Now, institu- alumni communities will become a tions need to consider how they can manage the relationships with their growing part of organizational strategy. students from prospect to alumni. For those wanting to learn more Academic Social Networks can be a about social media or establishing an solution to this challenge. alumni program, MaxKnowledge has An Academic Social Network (ASN), two courses on these topics including also referred to as an Academic Developing a Social Media Strategy Engagement Network (AEN), is a private, for Career Services and Setting up social network that transports the an Effective Alumni Association. postsecondary education experience Both courses are listed at www.max to the virtual space. The advantages knowledge.com. of an ASN/AEN is that it centralizes campus engagement, streamlines campus communications, builds a

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