Strayer University - Social Media Action Plan

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Strayer University - Social Media Action Plan

  1. 1. Social Media Action Plan By: Dionisios Favatas Interactive Marketing Manager Strayer University And Pamela Dalton Online Media Coordinator Strayer University August 13, 2009
  2. 2. Table of Contents Executive Summary ............................................................................................................ 3 Strayer Social Media Action Items ..................................................................................... 4 Agency Overhaul and Social Networking Management Plan ........................................ 4 Next Steps ................................................................................................................... 4 MySpace Improvement Plan........................................................................................... 4 Next Steps ................................................................................................................... 4 Facebook ......................................................................................................................... 5 Next Steps ................................................................................................................... 5 Steps Completed ......................................................................................................... 5 Twitter............................................................................................................................. 6 Next Steps ................................................................................................................... 6 YouTube and Google...................................................................................................... 6 Next Steps ................................................................................................................... 6 Social Networking Guidelines ........................................................................................ 7 Next Steps ................................................................................................................... 7 Strayer University Blog .................................................................................................. 7 Next Steps ................................................................................................................... 7 Monitoring the Social Conversation ............................................................................... 8 Interim Solution .......................................................................................................... 8 Next Steps ................................................................................................................... 8 M|Buzz ........................................................................................................................ 8 Trackur........................................................................................................................ 8 TrueCast...................................................................................................................... 8 Overall Costs for Social Media Initiatives.......................................................................... 9 Technical Development: ................................................................................................. 9 Monitoring Tool:............................................................................................................. 9 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................... 9 Appendix I: MySpace Competitive Analysis ................................................................... 10 Appendix II: Facebook Competitive Analysis.................................................................. 12 Appendix III: Facebook Boxes ......................................................................................... 14 Appendix IV: YouTube Competitive Analysis................................................................. 15 2
  3. 3. Executive Summary As social media and social networking have emerged as dominating platforms to reach out to various groups within the Higher Education space (e.g., prospective students, current students, alumni, professors, employees, and so on), Strayer University (Strayer) must take steps to catch up to our competitors and find untapped areas where we can gain a first movers advantage. In addition, we need to develop a plan to keep information within our social spheres up-to-date and relevant for all of Strayer’s various stakeholders. The conversations and subsequent ideas that have been formulated over the past several weeks have led to specific action items that are required in order to execute our new and improved social networking strategy, and the tactics needed to support this endeavor. These action items include: 1. Agency overhaul and identification of who will assist Strayer moving forward in updating complex features within these social Web sites, and develop a social networking management plan. 2. The development of a MySpace improvement plan for Strayer’s presence on this medium. 3. The rollout of a Facebook Fan page and discovering the tabbing options that are most relevant for Strayer, as it relates to our competition, and areas which have yet to be developed. 4. How to best utilize Twitter, what type of content should appear on the microblogging Web site, and how to manage positive and negative posts. 5. Upgrade Strayer’s YouTube channel, and conceptualize what type of content will appear on this channel. 6. The development and approval of a comprehensive Social Networking Guidelines document for Strayer’s staff and faculty, and the inclusion of a policy for campuses that wish to utilize the various social platforms available. 7. Current plans for supporting StrayerU.com and the future of a “Strayer Blogosphere.” 8. Research of conversation monitoring tools that will assist Strayer in understanding who is talking about the University, in what capacity, where, and how we can best respond to the prodder. In order to implement the next iteration of our social sphere, the steps to be taken are outlined below. Agencies, social spaces, and future actions are provided in a detailed outline on what is needed and / or required from marketing, as well as action items that have already been completed. 3
  4. 4. Strayer Social Media Action Items Agency Overhaul and Social Networking Management Plan A decision has already been made to relieve Siquis of its duties in managing Strayer’s official social media platform. We currently have The Cyphers Agency (Cyphers) under retainer for the DC-Market Campaign, and they have shown specific competencies in the social media space. Next Steps Cyphers has agreed to take over the handling of complex, back-end technology related MySpace items (items currently that exists on our MySpace Web page), and assist us in developing concepts and ideas to “breathe life” back into our presence on this medium, and various others1. To view a detailed competitive breakout and conceptual ideas for Strayer’s social networking platform provided by Cyphers, please see Addendum 1– Strayer Competitive Landscape. In addition, with Pamela Dalton officially on board as the Online Media Coordinator, she will, in conjunction with Creative Services, Cyphers, and any third party entities we utilize for social monitoring, be the primary manager of all our social spaces. MySpace Improvement Plan Currently, Strayer’s MySpace page has stagnated – losing members on a daily basis – and has not received a creative “face-lift” in nearly one year. It is an important initiative for Strayer to breathe life back into our official MySpace Web page. Next Steps In order to revitalize Strayer’s MySpace page, we must make the page user-friendly, make frequent updates to content, polls, and other features, and include compelling content to our audience in order to compete effectively on this medium; please see Appendix I, page 10 – MySpace Competitive Analysis – for additional information. In addition, features we should add to this channel include the following:          Downloadable wallpapers and badges Quiz (e.g. Are you ready to go back to school?) Music Coupons (e.g. 20% off books, free registration, etc.) Blog Feed User Generated Content (UGC) – Grad Videos / Photos, Campus Events, etc. Online Hotline – anyone can submit questions2 Seed discussion topics at the Coffee Bar Add a link to Strayer’s Twitter page 1 Please note, any new technical and / or creative development we choose to implement will not be included under our current retainer with Cyphers. 2 This option will require continual Strayer personnel maintenance and monitoring. 4
  5. 5.   Twitter Feed Post Relevant Job Openings for Recent Graduates Facebook Currently Cyphers built and are managing both a Facebook “Fan Page” and a Twitter micro-blog for the DC-Market. In addition, Strayer has an “official” Facebook “Group” that is designed to reach out to all students in all markets. Being a “Group” limits our ability to brand, to customize tabs, and “Group” pages are not search engine optimized. Next Steps Strayer will switch from a “Group” to a “Fan Page”. It is most logical to convert the DCMarket Fan Page into Strayer’s official “Fan Page” as we currently have over 200 Fans. A “Fan Page” will provide Strayer with a variety of customization options, including, but not limited to, tabbing, applications, branded boxes, and the ability to inter-connect all Strayer social media Web sites in one central repository. For instance, videos posted on YouTube, or Tweets on Twitter, will automatically propagate onto the “Fan Page”. The current Facebook DC “Fan Page” contains the following tabs: “Wall”, “Info”, “Photos,” and “Discussions”. Competing schools all run official “Fan Pages” and utilize their tabs in varying ways; please refer to Appendix II, page 12 – Facebook Competitive Analysis – for additional information. It is recommended that we add the following menu tabs:       Boxes3: o Academic Programs (HTML box) o Campus Locations (HTML box) o Inquiry Form Events Photos (pull in photo stream from Flikr / Photobucket) Videos (pull in from YouTube Channel) Discussions Twitter Feed And include the following “Fan Page” items:     Twitter Icon Delicious Badge LinkedIn Badge Digg Badge Steps Completed Interactive Marketing sent an email blast to registrants of the Patriot Center commencement ceremony, on Wednesday, August 5, 2009, to ask for photos and videos to be uploaded to Photobucket as a temporary placeholder for this content. Once we are ready to go live with the “Fan Page” switchover, we will seed the photos and videos on Facebook and other channels. In addition, we will post upcoming open houses and other 3 For an example of what “Boxes” are, please see Appendix III, page 14 – Example of Facebook “Boxes”. 5
  6. 6. Strayer events on the Facebook “Events” Tab, and seed content that we currently use on Twitter on the “Discussions” Tab. Moving forward, for each event that is held (e.g., open houses, commencements, prize drawings, and so on), we will send emails prior to registration informing prospects and students that we would like them to seed content on the various channels we intend to use, and after the events have occurred. Twitter Currently, we seed content from past Strayer emails and newsletter on the StrayerUDC Twitter micro-blog, which was originally built to support the DC-Market Facebook Fan Page and other DC-based social marketing initiatives. Next Steps Since StrayerUDC has over 225 followers, and these “Followers” are quite vocal on this medium, we plan to switch the username to StrayerU – which has already been parked – as this will become the official Strayer University Twitter page; this was the ideal option because Twitter usernames have a 10 character limit. Updates to the Twitter account will be made, which include:     Tweaking the design, bio, info, and other META data to show a clear connection to Strayer.edu (Creative Services should be able to assist in this development) Post transparent news / info about the new Twitter transition Follow all users following other Strayer Twitter accounts Target and follow all users Tweeting about Strayer YouTube and Google Strayer’s current YouTube Channel, named StrayerUniv, is outdated, receives minimal channel views, and only hosts Strayer commercials. Next Steps With the approval of the YouTube Enhanced Channel we have already begun working with Google to set this up, are currently developing a new creative “look-and-feel” (with support from both Creative Services and Cyphers), and with the help of our Google team have been able to secure a new channel name - StrayerUniversity. We originally wanted to use this name, but it had been parked by an unknown individual. The Google team was able to track down this individual and was able to move the name over to Strayer’s ownership. After conducting various searches on YouTube, we found several user-generated videos taken by students and alumni showcasing commencement ceremonies, lectures given by Strayer professors, and other interesting positive content. The existing materials posted by students and alumni, and any future video we request from various stakeholders will be seeded onto the YouTube channel, and permission from these individuals to use their content on the Strayer YouTube Web site will be requested in advance. Videos from students will be a crucial part to the success of the YouTube page. 6
  7. 7. Competing schools, such as the University of Phoenix, are already using viral videos and student testimonials on their YouTube Web sites; please see Appendix IV, page 15 – YouTube Competitive Analysis – for additional information. As noted in the previous section we have sent out emails to Patriot Center graduates requesting videos, photos, and other content from previous and / or upcoming commencement ceremonies, and other events. In the interim, we will use the student videos that are currently showcased on the MySpace page as initial content to get approval by Google to facilitate the upgrade to the Enhanced Channel. Over time, other videos posted may include open houses, appreciation days, classroom lectures, other on-campus Strayer events, and future graduations. Social Networking Guidelines It is self-evident that as social networking becomes more and more ubiquitous, campuses, student groups, alumni and others will begin and / or continue to utilize social spaces such as Facebook as a method to reach out to Strayer’s various stakeholders. Currently, there are over 20 Strayer related “Groups” and “Fan Pages” on Facebook. Next Steps We are currently finalizing Strayer’s “Social Networking Guidelines” which will serve as a baseline for any employee, campus, group, affiliation, and so on to participate in the social conversation. We should encourage local participation in the social dialogue, and should these various stakeholders wish to create Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and / or other pages, they should do so with Marketing’s approval, and Marketing will facilitate the creation of such pages. Strayer University Blog Under the current social media landscape, all blog type materials have been seeded into StrayerU.com and the DC Twitter micro-blog. As instructed, a Strayer University-wide blogosphere will not be set up in the immediate future; rather this will evolve over time as we are able to get cross-departmental coordination and subject-matter-experts involved to produce continual blog material to support this future initiative. Next Steps Until Strayer is prepared to implement a blogosphere, we will continue to support the StrayerU.com Web site with content from the “Scholar” magazines and other copy sources we are able to obtain. We will support the Twitter Web site with similar copy, including articles and other news of interest found on various Web sources. Copy editing and formal approval within marketing of all materials to be posted on StrayerU.com and Twitter will be pertinent to the functionality, legitimacy, and freshness of these Web properties. In addition, StrayerU.com has become a popular lead-gen destination for prospective students, so we would like to give the Web site a proper upgrade, adding a full campus map, and creating a dynamic inquiry submission form. 7
  8. 8. Monitoring the Social Conversation All Social Media Web sites are open forums for any and everyone to post their feelings, thoughts, likes and dislikes about Strayer University. While Positive Word-of-Mouth (PWOM) conversations on social networks are what Strayer desires to achieve, occasionally Negative Word-of-Mouth (N-WOM) are to be expected. Interim Solution Collectively, we have agreed on a policy whereby P-WOM and N-WOM discussions that are manually found on our various social media properties, will require initial research into the specific issue in hand. This will be conducted within marketing and any necessary follow up will be directed to the associated RMM, campus, AO, and / or RVP as deemed appropriate. Next Steps Currently Strayer University does not have a competent tool for tracking and reporting on information that could be received from its social Web sites; let alone from the broader Web. The chatter on all social Web sites requires a tool that will report to us what is going on, what people are saying about Strayer, and what issues need to be addressed. Below are possible reporting and tracking tools that Strayer could utilize to monitor Web dialogues effectively. M|Buzz M|Buzz, powered by Meltwater – a service currently being used by Corporate Communications – is a full-suite Web monitoring tool with the ability to track over 150 million Web sources (i.e., blogs, micro-blogs, message boards / forums, and so on). The platform has a robust tracking a reporting engine, providing us access to an unlimited number of graphs, charts and reports. In addition, we would be provided with unlimited keywords per profile- track just about any kind of conversation, ranging from UL to Strayer’s key interests. M|Buzz is our preferred choice. Not only does Strayer already have a working relationship with Meltwater, but the M|Buzz platform is the most robust seen to date, and is the only one that includes the ability to scrape content from Facebook, and other social networking Web sites. Trackur Trackur is a product that allows us to monitor buzz, protect our reputation and listen to what our students, prospective students, alumni, and others are saying about Strayer. Features of Trackur include full media monitoring, RSS alerts, filter items, CSV reports, trending charts, and measures the influence of social media Web sites on corporate brands. TrueCast TrueCast provides the ability to access a broad set of metrics within the TruCast dashboards to analyze volumes, trends, changes in sentiments, identify key users and influencers [former, current and future students and faculty] as well as the ability to translate this data into actionable data to monitor and manage its different programs as well as provide business intelligence around student curriculum and services. 8
  9. 9. Overall Costs for Social Media Initiatives While Creative Services will serve an integral role in the upgrade of the many social networking properties we currently operate on, and would like to be a part of, we lack the internal expertise for technical development across the various platforms we participate in. In addition, while Pamela will be an integral part of managing and seeding content onto these social networks, we will still require external assistance for broader monitoring, optimization, and outreach activities. Below are initial costs associated with the development of the aforementioned features for each social networking property, and costs for our social monitoring tool of choice. Technical Development: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Enhancements Transition Maintenance StrayerU.com Enhancements $4,950 / as proposed $1,500 / month $6,970 / as proposed Monitoring Tool: M|Buzz $10,000 / year Conclusion In conclusion, eight action items were discussed in this plan. Those include how Strayer intends to address agency assistance, upgrades to Strayer’s MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, Strayer Social Networking Guidelines, blogging, and content monitoring. In addition, costs associated with the short-term transition have been provided. Upon completion of these action items, Strayer will be equipped with the necessary tools and content to launch the next iteration of its social media Web sites. As each Web site is updated, re-vitalized, approved, and launched, Marketing and other vested stakeholder groups will make every effort to promote the newly designed Web sites to Strayer students, Alumni, and any other Strayer stakeholders. These action items build a solid stepping stone for Strayer to “catch up” with our competitors, and find gaps in the market where Strayer can take a first-movers advantage. Over time, we hope to have a 360-degree solution, with an incorporated Strayer blogosphere, and these initial steps will lead Strayer in the right direction for capitalizing on emerging technologies, and an ever-changing social landscape. 9
  10. 10. Appendix I: MySpace Competitive Analysis MySpace brings a new world of possibilities to table for social media. MySpace has a high traffic count, a large amount of users and continues to re-build and re-vamp their Web site to stay current. This includes adding and promoting new movies, new musicians, and new music which helps it stay relevant and useful to its fan base. University of Phoenix on MySpace The University of Phoenix MySpace page is very active. It is frequently updated and includes videos, testimonials, contests, wall paper, photos, and numerous other interactive features. Their MySpace page links back to their YouTube page, as well. 10
  11. 11. Walden University While the Walden University page is not as robust as the University of Phoenix page, it does not include videos, wallpaper and badges applications, while they do include links back to their FlickR account, and their blog. 11
  12. 12. Appendix II: Facebook Competitive Analysis All of Strayer University’s main competitors are currently utilizing Facebook. Major players such as The University of Phoenix and Capella University employ a Fan Page, where they maximize the use of tabbing, and linking back to other social Web sites. University of Phoenix Fan Page on Facebook The University of Phoenix has 11,707 fans and their page includes tabbing options of “The Wall,” “Info,” “Boxes,” “Notes,” “Discussions,” and “Photos.” The Web site also includes videos, polls, discussions, links back to Twitter, and other Web sites. 12
  13. 13. Capella University Fan Page on Facebook Capella University currently has 3,929 fans. They have a large amount of content on their Facebook Fan Page, which includes tabbing, polls, videos, events, discussions, and photos. 13
  14. 14. Appendix III: Facebook Boxes Example of boxes on Facebook Fan pages: George Mason University 14
  15. 15. Appendix IV: YouTube Competitive Analysis The move to using YouTube as a branding tool is on the rise for a majority of Strayer University’s competitors. Schools like The University of Phoenix have used paid advertising with Google to become fully branded members. Other schools, like Capella University have begun using less promotional and more user-generated videos on their YouTube Channel. These videos include student testimonials, student success stories, and graduation videos of students. The University of Phoenix The University of Phoenix paid to have a branded page, which includes over 200 videos ranging from student testimonials, faculty member statements, and commercials. 15
  16. 16. Capella University Capella University has a wide range of videos on their YouTube Channel. Commencement speeches as well as student testimonial videos make up a large portion of their content. 16

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