Doing More with Less:
Creating an online community for accepted students




Rachel Reuben
Director of Web Communication &...
we’re all feeling the budget
crunch

• travel/conference budgets slashed
• departmental budgets slashed
• programs cut
• e...
we’re all feeling the budget
crunch

• losing positions through attrition, retirements & non-
  renewals
• temp service bu...
what can you do?

 • partner with other departments
 • share/pool resources
 • interns, existing student staff
   • OLs, R...
how social media can help


• Personal attention
• One-on-one and one-to-many conversations
• Social proofing & viral marke...
how social media can help

• Put personal face(s) to university
• Build relationships & trust
• listening - “grow bigger e...
how social media *can’t* help


 • Not another bulletin board
 • Not a place to blow your horn
 • Not a place to jump up &...
another spoke in the wheel
online community for fall 2009
      accepted students
what is Ning?
• like Facebook
• an online platform for users to create their own
  social Web sites and social networks
• ...
admissions strategy

 • Accept ~4,400 students
 • Enroll ~1,100 students
 • Accept ~1,400 early action students
 • Maximiz...
admissions strategy
 • sticker on accept packet
 • invite students (upload file from Banner)
 • early action accepts Jan 1 ...
Café New Paltz: content

• Baristas
• Regular updates (videos with custom jingle)
• Daily interaction, encouragement, conv...
Café New Paltz: results

• Members: 690
  • Paid PED: 52%
  • 70% from highest selectivity group
• Photos: 1,168
• Videos:...
Café New Paltz:
additional benefits

 • free(-ish) marketing research
 • no overhead account management - all done
   throu...
Café New Paltz: costs

 • $24.95/month to remove ads ($149.70 for 6 months)
 • ~$50 for props
 • existing resources
   • 2...
Café New Paltz: anecdotes
“I must be going. I’m definitely going to login
again though. This is an amazing resource.”

“Yea...
Café New Paltz: after May 1

• asked the community
• pitched to Student Affairs
• Orientation connection
• new baristas
• ...
what about Facebook?


• groups vs. Pages
• member management nightmare
• lack of design customization
our secrets

• answer questions promptly
• join in the conversation, encourage interaction
• show examples at group tours ...
things to consider

• loss of control
• time commitment
• information overload
• anyone can create an “official”
  account ...
measurement

• ROI --> return on influence
  • long tail effect
• Café New Paltz
  • yield more highly selective students
 ...
? ?
 questions
 Rachel Reuben
 reubenr@newpaltz.edu
 site:    rachelreuben.com
 blog: doteduguru.com
 Twitter: @rachelreub...
Doing more with less: Creating an online community for accepted students
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Doing more with less: Creating an online community for accepted students

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For SUNY CUAD & SUNY CAP conferences, June 10-11, 2009

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Doing more with less: Creating an online community for accepted students

  1. 1. Doing More with Less: Creating an online community for accepted students Rachel Reuben Director of Web Communication & Strategic Projects, SUNY New Paltz rachelreuben.com doteduguru.com @rachelreuben
  2. 2. we’re all feeling the budget crunch • travel/conference budgets slashed • departmental budgets slashed • programs cut • endowments falling
  3. 3. we’re all feeling the budget crunch • losing positions through attrition, retirements & non- renewals • temp service budgets cut • reducing print even more • relying on Web and electronic media even more
  4. 4. what can you do? • partner with other departments • share/pool resources • interns, existing student staff • OLs, RAs, student ambassadors, greeters, etc. • task variety • beware of job enlargement / workload creep
  5. 5. how social media can help • Personal attention • One-on-one and one-to-many conversations • Social proofing & viral marketing • Comfort level in their environment
  6. 6. how social media can help • Put personal face(s) to university • Build relationships & trust • listening - “grow bigger ears” http://is.gd/Nb8J • some free, most relatively cheap • reach more - targeted - with less
  7. 7. how social media *can’t* help • Not another bulletin board • Not a place to blow your horn • Not a place to jump up & down
  8. 8. another spoke in the wheel
  9. 9. online community for fall 2009 accepted students
  10. 10. what is Ning? • like Facebook • an online platform for users to create their own social Web sites and social networks • forums, videos, events, groups, personal profiles • ning.com • premium services / costs
  11. 11. admissions strategy • Accept ~4,400 students • Enroll ~1,100 students • Accept ~1,400 early action students • Maximize most highly selective students
  12. 12. admissions strategy • sticker on accept packet • invite students (upload file from Banner) • early action accepts Jan 1 - Feb. 21 • launched 1/2/09, invited 1,323 • all accepted students Feb. 21 - May 1 • invited 1,000 initially, then batches every 2 weeks • all transfer students mid-April - on
  13. 13. Café New Paltz: content • Baristas • Regular updates (videos with custom jingle) • Daily interaction, encouragement, conversation starters & joiners • “Café-shaped conversations” • personal, intellectual
  14. 14. Café New Paltz: results • Members: 690 • Paid PED: 52% • 70% from highest selectivity group • Photos: 1,168 • Videos: 22 • Forums: 93
  15. 15. Café New Paltz: additional benefits • free(-ish) marketing research • no overhead account management - all done through Banner export / Ning import • give them a place to talk & converse on “our turf” without intimidating them
  16. 16. Café New Paltz: costs • $24.95/month to remove ads ($149.70 for 6 months) • ~$50 for props • existing resources • 2 HD Sony video cameras • Flip Mino video camera • student interns
  17. 17. Café New Paltz: anecdotes “I must be going. I’m definitely going to login again though. This is an amazing resource.” “Yeah, this is a pretty great thing set up here.” “Yeah, I’ve never run across a school with something this helpful & people this nice before! It’s great!” “I am really liking Café New Paltz. It is making it a lot easier to adjust & I think between this & orientation we should be good. :)”
  18. 18. Café New Paltz: after May 1 • asked the community • pitched to Student Affairs • Orientation connection • new baristas • fall
  19. 19. what about Facebook? • groups vs. Pages • member management nightmare • lack of design customization
  20. 20. our secrets • answer questions promptly • join in the conversation, encourage interaction • show examples at group tours & general info sessions • include links in e-mail correspondence • bags • interact postcards, Web site
  21. 21. things to consider • loss of control • time commitment • information overload • anyone can create an “official” account for your university
  22. 22. measurement • ROI --> return on influence • long tail effect • Café New Paltz • yield more highly selective students • think outside the box - Ning limitations & programming • quality not quantity (# of fans/followers/subscribers)
  23. 23. ? ? questions Rachel Reuben reubenr@newpaltz.edu site: rachelreuben.com blog: doteduguru.com Twitter: @rachelreuben

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