Applying the Scientific Method to Social Media: Five Actionable Strategies Based on Facts
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Applying the Scientific Method to Social Media: Five Actionable Strategies Based on Facts

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Thinking of students as natural brand ambassadors is by far the most effective communication strategy your college can use to build enrollment and student engagement. This session shares five ...

Thinking of students as natural brand ambassadors is by far the most effective communication strategy your college can use to build enrollment and student engagement. This session shares five successful social media strategies – based on research on student behavior – being used at Cloud County, Surry, and Columbia State Community Colleges to triple student engagement; build a student marketing team; uncover out-of-the-box social media strategies with built-in metrics; showcase the campus experience and have students promote it; and turn traditional and non-traditional students into engaged, enthusiastic, measurable marketing assets.

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  • I’m Jenn Connally. Customer marketing leader at readMedia. I’m a Hudson Valley CC alumni. <br /> For those of you paying close attention to the program, you may have noticed what appears to be an error on this slide. [CLICK] <br /> The program says Jenny Acree is presenting. Before we get started - I have a backstory about this title slide… <br /> I initially teamed up with with Mark Parfitt, Director of communications at SUNY Adirondack, a community college in upstate NY. <br /> The proposal we submitted was based on the methods Mark used to turn students into engaged, measurable marketing assets. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • When Mark and I were brainstorming we had, what we thought at the time was a really lofty idea. <br /> We’d use science as the framework of our presentation. We were going to tie the process used by scientist to [CLICK] <br /> developing a successful digital communications strategy. <br /> Which in the end, is really just a glorified communications campaign designed to achieve institutional goals. Probably something you’re doing already. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> THEN Mark left SUNY Adirondack. Actually, he left higher ed all together to start a marketing agency of his own - and I was on my own. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • We work with more than 500 higher ed institutions, many of them community colleges. So I had to reach out to a few that had a really good story. [CLICK] <br /> I found that story and I asked Jenny Acree, Director of Marketing & Public Information at Cloud County Community College if she was willing to partner up with me. <br /> Her story and it didn’t completely align with SUNY Adirondacks story, but Jenny’s experience is just as valuable as Mark’s. <br /> Jenny built an Integrated Marketing Communications plan (IMC) - literally from the ground up. And that was an experience worth sharing. <br /> After fleshing out the details of her efforts at Cloud, we realized that outlining five strategies with a series of supporting tactics would take way more than an hour, so we had to switch the format up a little bit. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Introducing the new and improved: Cloud County Community College story. <br /> Applying the scientific method to social media building a digital communications strategy: Five Three acitonable strategies (and a series of tactics) based on facts. <br /> Let me hand it over…. (to Jenny) <br />
  • I’m Jenny Acree, director of marketing and public information at Cloud County Community College <br /> Introduce yourself, possibly: <br /> Background experience (journalist) <br /> When you started at Cloud <br /> INSERT High quality logo, image of you, or school <br />
  • CCCC Profile. <br /> Let me tell you a little bit about our school… (decide what’s relevant) <br /> Founded in 1965, we’re 49 years old <br /> FTE: 1,525 and a HC of around 2,600 <br /> We have 16 Career Programs of Study and 48 Transfer Programs of Study - about 60% transfer and 40% desire school to work <br /> Proud to have a student enrollment from more than 30 countries around the world <br /> We have a strong residents life program with 364 residents <br /> still experiencing a large first time generation college student population <br /> Athletics - 13 sports <br /> Talk about our campuses and options <br /> [Transition] Cloud County Community College main campus, where I am based, is nestled in Concordia, Kansas… [CLICK] <br />
  • …and for those that aren’t familiar with Concordia KS you could Google it and find a lovely description of Concordia along with a shout out to Cloud County in the Urban Dictionary, definition 2. Here’s a teaser, <br /> Concordia is a village in the state of Kansas that has probably the most conservative, shallow-minded, bigot people ever...seriously. There is absolutely nothing to do and the people there usually have to adopt the ways of people around them and what they see on MTV in order to &quot;stay cool&quot;. <br /> The definition goes on to talk about trashy chicks and tramp stamps. <br /> If you ever need a reality check or you want to explore what one audiences’ public perception of your brand is, just go to the Urban Dictionary. While I’m not making any marketing decisions based on the opinion of the people that contributed to this description, I am going to walk you through the process we are using at Cloud to engage and build brand affinity with specific audience segments through the use of digital communications. <br /> [Transition] <br /> And of course, every good story starts with a ridiculous set of challenges… <br /> [CLICK] <br /> Source: Google Maps <br /> Source: Urban Dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=concordia <br />
  • I’m going to dig in on each of these immediate challenges, but let me set the stage. When I first came into the Marketing position in January 2009 … <br /> …we were too Decentralized. We all know dispersing authority and work can be very effective, but only when everyone is working together toward a common goal. <br /> I was also a one-main show and it seemed that with each passing day I picked up more and more responsibilities. <br /> Our 2003 looking, HTML-coded Website needed an overhaul. <br /> (Audience & content) It’s safe to say we were doing more brand-broadcasting than segmenting, and… <br /> …we were definitely more media than social. <br /> Finally, we weren’t really measuring our performance so there was really no way for us to improve it. I felt like I was firing out a lot of bullets and hoping that I was hitting some targets. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> After I got a handle on where we were with marketing communications initiatives, it was pretty clear what our short term, high-level goals should be for longterm success. This includes … <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • sWhen I started in 2009, our digital strategy consisted of: (MAYBE MAKE INTO FIVE SEPARATE/VISUAL slides?) <br /> A website that was house in and controlled by the Office of Information Technology; and to top it off, it was coded in HTML and the IT code monkeys were the only ones who could update the site. The entire process was very inefficient. That was the problem on the backend. As for our public facing presence, cloud.edu (DO YOU HAVE A PICTURE of the OLD SITE?) Our web presence was static and unengaging. <br /> Content strategy: Our content strategy consisted of one way broadcasting of self-serving messaging that successfully promoted our brand but failed to promote conversation and engagement with key target audiences. In fact, we ended up learning that we not only effective messaging, we didn’t have a real understanding of our audience segments in terms of where they were and what channels they were using to connect with us. <br /> Social Media: Our department was focused on traditional media not digital (online and social).We had a novice understanding of social media tools. Our social media presence included a Facebook “Group” that barely had a pulse and a local newspapers live streaming of our home basketball games from their website. The one place for authentic conversations and engagement was complete void of the. (PICTURE OF FACEBOOK GROUP?) <br /> Decentralized communications: The marketing and public relations office consisted of one person, me. There was very little collaboration, support, or input from other internal stakeholders like admissions, academic affairs. And we’re leveraging some of our most valuable assets either, our activity coordinators, students, and faculty. These stakeholders hold our most valuable brand messaging and we weren’t communicating with them nearly enough. In being so decentralized we were missing a lot of great opportunities to strengthen our brand. <br /> And…It becomes increasingly difficult to manage a communications plan when you’re not measuring anything… (transition to next bullet) <br /> Measurement: We really didn’t have a process or tools in place to measure our office’s efforts. While we seemed to be effectively measuring our output, i.e., press releases sent, placement, posts to Facebook, and web site updates, we weren’t measuring the value our efforts, i.e., mROI. We didn’t even have baselines to compare our performance. We really had no idea how we were doing because we had nothing to compare it to. <br /> [Transition] By taking the time to understand where we were, we could then take a step forward to straw man where we wanted to go. [CLICK] <br />
  • Centralizing internal communications making it easier to improve external communications and therefore increase our ability to promote Cloud&apos;s quality and values while distinguishing it from other schools. (this speaks to your efforts to bring the website into your office, move to a CMS, teach others to contribute, and how all of this improves external messaging) <br /> Deepen our digital footprint to build brand affinity with key target audiences through strategic messaging and content creation that enhance our institution&apos;s quality and values. (this speaks to your efforts to grow your social media channels, identify target audiences, create content hubs for these audiences, & develop relevant, student-centric messaging) <br /> Support enrollment and retention by increasing program awareness and student participation(this piggy backs the previous bullet, expanding your digital footprint and content strategy, by engaging students and keep them engaged through promoting student success, building ambassador programs and creating more shareable content) <br /> Improve measurement across all distribution channels to evaluate effectiveness and improve performance. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> After conducting a considerable amount of research and gathering feedback from internal stakeholders, I … <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • …push these strategic goals through the the digital communications mill and ended up building marketing strategies around: <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Improving our website: b/c we know it’s the key hub for discovery, updates, and communicating distinctive qualities. <br /> Identifying audience segments and generate meaningful content for each targeted segment <br /> Building a social media strategy was as important as improving our website b/c it’s where key audiences go to ENGAGE with us and each other <br /> Focusing on students and expanding upon word of mouth marketing and help them tell their stories while promoting the institution <br /> Adopting and implementing effective measurement tools would be essential and the only way we can tell 1) what’s working, 2) what isn’t, 3) what we’re getting for our time and money, and 4) how can we be more successful. <br /> Once we determined our areas of focus, WE HAD OUR HEADING (hence the Pirates of Caribbean compass image). But as you know, there is not clear path to achieving your goals in higher ed. There are several steps, approvals, and red tape to work through. And more importantly, I came on halfway through the fiscal year, when half of the year’s budget was already spent. This worked out because I was forced to really think about how every dollar would be spent and determine whether or not it looped back to supporting one of the four strategic goals: <br /> Centralize internal communications <br /> Deepen our digital footprint <br /> Increasing program awareness and participation <br /> Improve measurement <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> Here’s where we started… <br /> [CLICK] <br /> image source: pirates.wikia.com <br />
  • I decided to focus time and resources on three areas that would help us achieve our goals: <br /> 1) our website [CLICK] <br /> 2) social media <br /> 3) student ambassador programs… <br />
  • Website Challenges: 1) Decentralized Management <br /> Before I talk about our web experience, I want to survey the crowd. <br /> How many of you have a CMS? <br /> How many of you have a website that is housed and controlled by your office? <br /> How many have websites housed and controlled in IT? <br /> You can make an assessment as to whether the crowd will be able to learn from you or empathize with you. e.g., Those of you that have websites housed in IT you know my pain. Those of you that have control of your website and content - I envy you. <br /> [CLICK] <br /> We had a few big challenges to over come with our website. On the back end: <br /> We had a very decentralized way of managing content. <br /> We had very little interaction and input from internal stakeholders. Getting information stories from anyone on campus can be lengthy, but the process was extended even further by having to request someone else to update the site. <br /> The website was HTML coded which made it virtually impossible for anyone else but IT to add and update content. <br /> And if we were lucky enough to get an update from faculty, program directors, or activity coordinators, by the time our office received the information and we handed it off to IT and IT updated the site, it was old news. Which would discourage internal stakeholders from taking the time to feed us content. <br /> It was a vicious cycle of inefficiency! <br /> To make matters worse… <br /> …cloud.edu, our public facing presence was more of an information dump than a web experience. Our website lacked content structure and strategy. There was no interactive/multi-media component driving visitors to explore a program or learn more about cost or more importantly - affordability. <br /> If prospective students and parents can’t easily identify what programs and unique opportunities our school offers, they will move on to the next potential school on their list – which means we just lost a potential applicant. This is why our website was a primary concern/focus. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Website Challenges: 3) Content <br /> And I’m only assuming we’re losing potential applicants or our bounce rates are through the roof because… <br /> I had no real metrics to prove it. We weren’t really “measuring” web traffic. <br /> [CLICK] <br /> image source: www.in2communications.com <br />
  • Solutions - Analytics <br /> A website reorganization was in the works, so I felt it was crucial to set up Google Analytics - we needed to start measuring traffic <br /> Learn more about our audiences’ needs. Understand who’s coming to visit the site, what they want, and what we want them to do. Having this information would drive our homepage content. <br /> We put a plan in place to move any static web and print content online, making it accessible and shareable. e.g., viewbook <br /> Understanding the who and the what would help us in our reorganization efforts and <br /> CLICK <br /> Learning more about the audience visiting our site (who) <br /> Understanding what this audiences was coming to the site for - and just as important - what we wanted them to do when they came to the site (what) <br /> Understanding the who and the what would help drive our site map and the content we featured on our Homepage (content) <br />
  • In October 2009, we rolled out a reorganized website that looks very similar to what our website looks like today, which, on a side note, is currently being adjusted to take a more “landing page” approach for the targeted audiences and the website experience that we are building for them. <br /> The improvements to the website were well received by internal an <br /> d external stakeholders but as I said, it is still and will always be a work in progress. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • The next area that I really began to focus on what improving content. <br /> We still use these platforms today - some in the same way and some in a different way, but I’ll talk about a few of those in a little bit. <br /> CLICK <br />
  • Website: Solutions <br /> After the arrival of a new College President in July 2010, I decided that it was time to stake marketing’s claim to the College Website. As I mentioned in a previous slide, somewhere along the way, we lost our Director of IT and my web guy became the Interim IT Director and STILL IS TODAY. So my plea was heard and supported. So, what did I do? <br /> With the support of the President, <br /> Transfer ownership of the website to marketing and public information and <br /> Researched the options and we approached the college board to get approval to Invest in a CMS <br /> We didn’t just ask for a control of a new website, we had to sell it - hard. We had to convince the college board that a website is a marketing tool. <br /> We had to prove how we would save time and be more effective with a CMS. So, I stood in front of my BOT in August 2011 to plead my case. <br /> Give examples of how you convinced them, what did you say… <br /> “Developing and maintaining a high-quality web site should be a priority for forward thinking institutions. The web site is the first, last, and best opportunity to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. <br /> Our web site must intrigue prospective students, answer their questions, and encourage them to return again and again for more information and interaction.” <br /> Adopting a CMS would allow us to spend more time creating content and less time coding <br /> We could use our web developer to build a more engaging and interactive experience for visitors <br /> CMS would make it easy for other departments would be able to contribute and update information (efficient) <br /> They approved this and agreed to pay for the CMS through Student Tech Fees for initial costs and then yearly subscription. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • We went from no measurement to Google Analytics. It allowed us to try new things and measure the effectiveness (i.e. seeing how many clicks we had on an “Apply Now” that we’d put on the homepage. My Admissions staff can also see where traffic is coming from and see if there is any relationship to where they are traveling and visiting high schools. <br /> Change the perception of the purpose of the website and brought the website under Marketing and Public Information <br /> Invested in a new CMS - the only are still designed by code is the athletics web site - Currently fighting the fight to get an Athletic minded CMS to manage that area - open up possibilities for its own domain name - <br /> Static to more dynamic content - still not perfect and always a work in progress. But as we add the content we are able to push people to the website from social media and vice versa. <br /> And that idea of connecting the website and social media leads me to the second area I tackled….. <br /> CLICK <br />
  • [TRANSITION] <br /> We had no social media presence when I took the Director of Marketing job in 2009, so where did I start? <br /> …and select the right tools to reach our target audiences, and create engaging content that audiences will remember and likely share. <br /> (Three Ships Media did a good job of explaining the various social media channels using something we all love and relate to, donuts) <br /> I made it my goal to ensure that we’re not going to adopt every new shiny SM tool. We would learn how to effectively use the ones we have – the start small expand slowly approach. <br /> image source: websearchsocial.com <br />
  • Social Media: Facebook <br /> So we started with Facebook - I wasn’t personally using Facebook at the time, so I handed over the task of the Facebook account to a work study student. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Facebook <br /> Learned about Facebook Audience <br /> After the transition to a Fan Page we learned high school students were not using Facebook to connect with us, it was current students and alumni <br /> Now that we had a better understanding of our audience, we could generate content that was most relevant to them. EXAMPLES of the type of content and who you were targeting?? <br /> Major events with photos - The powering up of our on campus wind farm <br />
  • Other ways to build audience: <br /> Student life type posting - with pictures ALWAYS! <br />
  • Spend time on Facebook - share links from others <br /> Tag when you can - anything to increase post views. It is amazing how posts spread when friends of friends of friends like and comment and share. <br />
  • Sharing control <br /> In understanding more about our audience segments, we realized our second campus was not as engaged as the main campus. Attempting to make our second campus feel more connected to the main campus, I “gave in” and assisted them in created their own Facebook page. (discuss process of handing over control) <br /> Expand on this and also the problem you ran into with the off-campus FB admin posting too often and how you were able to create more structure around these posts. <br /> Eventually, to distribute the workload of managing multiple Facebook pages, we would create and assign new admins. These new Facebook pages were deliberately added to promote extracurricular activities and programs. Like Cross Country and Wind energy. (LIST MORE) <br /> This was beginning of creating content hubs for audience segments. By doing this we would also be able to monitor audience behavior and engagement. However, I knew that there was another social media students were using and I wondered if I could pick up a new audience segment by using it. That’s when we began with Twitter. <br /> CLICK <br />
  • Communicating with students <br /> Interact as much as you can. With college Facebook page - we don’t reach out. But I encourage the specialized page admins to interact and respond to students. <br /> We found Facebook can actually be the first touch point for some prospective students, like international students. They don’t communicate with us by sending and email <br /> This was beginning of creating content hubs for audience segments. I realized Facebook wasn’t the only channel we could use to communicate with students, I knew that there was another social media students were using and I wondered if I could pick up a new audience segment by using it. That’s when we began with Twitter. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Twitter <br /> I created @CCCCNews in 2011 and, I just tied it to Facebook. <br /> Had no idea how to use Twitter, I had never logged in until I went to my son. I set up and account and started to learn how to use it <br /> If I wasn’t rehang them on FB I thought I could reach them on Twitter. It was the same info going to two areas. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Twitter <br /> I really wanted to see how I could better use Twitter, so this past summer I went to a focus group of students (RAs).I learned quickly through those students that they want to follow us but don’t want us to follow them.I still do follow some students and worked on a new strategy to find “tweets” that I could retweet <br /> Started to learn what kind of content to post to Twitter and not Facebook <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Twitter <br /> Different Twitter accounts is good because it allows you to create hubs for subsets in your community. <br /> As the institutional body, I’m able to pull from other admin tweets and add them to the institutional account instantly. <br /> Great way to broadcast specialized content to twitter audiences that might follow track and field or wind energy but also follow the institutional Twitter account <br /> You can’t be there for every event, but by keeping tabs on the Cloud community and following key members, you can stay up-to-date and repurpose their content for your larger following <br /> Knowing who to follow is as important as having followers. Especially if you have a small staff like I do! This is where you can talk about how effective it is to get information from people you follow. There are natural content generators in your audience. By following these social media ambassadors, you can stay informed on new conversations, events, and news, and then repurpose their content for your institutional newsfeed. Give the example of: <br /> The mom that posted the picture of the team after they won (you would have never had access to that photo) <br /> Hashtag is a great way to unite Cloud Twitter participants behind something, It’s a great way to create a stronger sense of community and unity. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> Twitter was becoming a great place for student generated word of mouth marketing. The most valuable kind of advertising and endorsement. Twitter is still a work in progress. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Be strategic about content and developing a hashtag & conditioning people to use it. It didn’t happen all at once, but it is catching on. <br /> Using a hashtag is a great way to monitor tweets and find out what hashtags perform better. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> This prompted me to encourage other campus departments to have a Twitter account. <br />
  • Goes back to making it easy to 1) creating content and 2) and for segmented populations to interact with content that’s most relevant to them. <br /> Pulling content from others. <br /> [Transition] <br /> CLICK <br />
  • Social Media: Video (YouTube) <br /> We were working with two video formats: <br /> Video recording and posting onto YouTube <br /> Audiences find the multimedia video experience more engaging and there’s a low barrier of entry <br /> Choosing YouTube for video sharing was a no brainer because it was free and video on YouTube were easy to link to, access, and share <br /> Video streaming: Local Newspaper <br /> Our school is known for it’s athletic program. It’s a strong driver or enrollment and engagement.Streaming events always drew a crowd. <br /> To save time and money, we outsourced the live coverage of athletic games to a local newspaper <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Video (YouTube) <br /> Just Sent a student. <br /> Play one of our first videos. For us, the next order of business was video. 69 views - not so great <br /> The we started looking at the analytics. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> But through experience and research we learned from our early years… and we were able to turn things around. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Video (YouTube) <br /> More strategic: <br /> We knew the views were low so we started researching places content that we could get us views off of. <br /> Here’s where the website metrics came in handy: We looked at the website to find athletics is really popular, so we decided to try athletics videos. <br /> We decide to take the time to do our own video highlight and audio. (did you bring work study on for this? If so, tell story) <br /> Results: We’ve been able to increase views by 1,700% from 69 views to sports related videos that get an average of 800 - 1,800 views. <br /> This year we’re dedicating more time and resources to videos that are more academic in nature. (explain why) <br /> YouTube worked great from us - for three years we were streaming online. <br /> We decided to expand our focus to content that’s academic in nature <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> As I mentioned earlier, with trying to making our web experience more multi-media, we adopted Picasa. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Video <br /> We discovered that athletic coverage really engages our audience and at the time we were having a local newspaper stream our home games, the downside was <br /> The newspaper was only streaming our home basketball games. No other sports were not covered. <br /> All of the output and input was through the newspapers website. After the game, the link was posted on local newspapers website, not our own website. We were helping to drive audiences away from us. <br /> Not only were we driving engaged audiences to someone else&apos;s website, we weren’t promoting the games internally on our own channels. <br /> By having these links live outside of our analytics so we had no information about registered viewers, shares, or other activity. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> These observations forced us to make a really great decision. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Picasa (‘12): <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Picasa (‘12): <br /> Adopted in 2012 <br /> Because Picasa was free and eliminates storage issue and it’s easy to access and share. <br /> At the time, why not Flickr or Pinterset? <br /> Strategy (Free and easy to use): <br /> We started using Picasa as a service to students and parents. It was initially athletic in nature. <br /> How it was used: I used Picasa to quickly and easily create a slide show that I could embed in our institutional website without having to use code to create a multimedia component in our website. <br /> Leverage photo sharing to promote our campus culture and create greater affinity among prospective and current students. <br /> Engagement: <br /> Prospects want to see what college life at Cloud is like and current students want to see pictures of themselves. (They like to share them too). <br /> We’re trying to build our social presence using content that student will find engaging and more importantly share with friends and family. <br /> Analytics: <br /> Another reason we adopted Picasa as our photo sharing platform was for the analytics. Picasa allows us to track and measure views and shares (does it give you any other analytics?) <br /> Analytics informs us what kind of content students like and engage with most and what gets shared. Maybe showcase improved results on next slide (RESULTS). <br /> Looking ahead <br /> The idea of pictures has moved into Instagram. <br /> We are actively researching Instagram. We are thinking about implementing it as a purely student driven platform. We think our students don’t want staged photos by the school, they want the students perspective. <br /> The project would include a strong student driven “day in the life” component <br /> Status update. Where are you with implementing Instagram. <br /> Who generated and curates content? <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • NEXT <br /> INSTAGRAM <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • [TRANSITION] <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Explain about using their stories, successes to help market your brand. <br />
  • Social Media: Merit <br /> Here are some example of that authentic WOMM by our students with key target audiences…. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • With one click, we can email it to the student, share it to social media, and send it to the students hometown newspaper. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> The analytics is what makes this achievement strategy so valuable. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Social Media: Merit <br /> Local - newspaper reach <br /> Online Activity: email open rates <br /> Social media engagement <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Loop back to where you started and where you are now! <br /> We’ve come a long way in 4 years! <br /> Yes. Yes. CMS! Fully implemented. <br /> Content strategy driven by students input and needs, maps to audience segments <br /> Successfully managing Five social media channels and plans to add more <br /> Focus on two-way communication and student success <br /> League with several teams (Distributed workflow) <br /> [More] effectively measuring everything <br /> Most exciting additions for me is what I am able to with Merit and WOMM social media marketing of our institution through our students’ achievements. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • We’re not done &lt;&lt; we have CMS enabling us to add more multi media - reviewing it &lt; reorganizing it, keep improving upon it. More focused on tailoring website to student and experience they want to get out of the website. Pushing them to right area &lt;&lt; areas where we made improves and vision for the future. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> It’s been an great five years. We continue to learn and grow. We continue to gain internal support and buy-in. And we’re getting into a great habit of setting goals, developing strategies with supporting tactics, and measuring our efforts to see if we were successful. <br />
  • Jenny closes talking about where she sees Cloud going in the future, i.e., using our students and stories about their success. <br /> I want to bring your attention to three key strategies Jenny uses to support her digital marketing initiatives at Cloud: <br /> shifting from being institutional centric to student centric - instead of you telling your story let student tell your story and I think this really underpins what JAMES CARVILLE talked about yesterday - <br /> Building brand affinity through web and social media content <br /> Centralizing communications - so that you can be more effective and efficient <br /> These strategies are working for Cloud and they worked for SUNY Adirondack and they’re working for hundreds of other community colleges across the US. <br /> Let’s look at how these strategies have been implemented by other community colleges. Starting with some of the content that Mark from SUNY Adirondack was going to present. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Mark and team at SUNY Adirondack give content about new programs and student success top billing on their homepage. <br /> This is part of a student-centric strategy to build brand affinity, increase enrollment and web traffic. <br /> SUNY Adirondack is bring students to the front of their online marketing activities, and like Cloud they continue to work on internal communications, bridging the gap between campus content and external distribution channels. <br /> To do this, Mark leaned on IT to help create an inbound content hub <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • In less than a day, IT built this simple online form that made it easy for department chairs and activity coordinators to submit student-centric news, stories, and events from within the SUNY Adirondack&apos;s website.  <br /> Mark was able to get buy-in by going on a campus tour and building excitement around promoting events and programs through the success of their students. <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> Mark was able to successfully 1) centralize communications and 2) distribute the workload. <br /> It’s also important to mention that, i this form helped standardize they way <br /> Discovering how to make a single content idea work across traditional media, social media and the web is a windfall for communicators that have limits on the time and resources they can allocate to content creation. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • SHOW EXAMPLES FROM HINDS CC, COASTAL, SURRY CC. <br /> Students share, spread the word and reaching target audiences with valuable word of mouth recommendations. - These students feel a stronger connection to SUNY Adirondack and that connection helps them retention students and get them of successfully to the work place or four year institution. <br /> SUNY adirondack students are becoming brand ambassadors and the institutions most valuable marketing assets. <br />
  • Mark would take the content that was sent to him and 1) create a traditional PR. 2) then he would repurpose that content and create a personalized, ready-to-share version of that story for each student that participated in that program event, award, or campus activity - and email it to those students. <br /> [CLICK] <br /> Students were thrilled that SUNY Adirondack, personally recognized them. These stories made students even more excited about what they did or accomplished - that they naturally wanted to share them with friends and family in their social networks. <br /> Creating personalized stories about student success was another way SUNY Adirondack was able to showcase the campus experience and have students promote it. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • ACLICK <br /> Here we have examples from Columbia State CC - Northeast Mississippi CC. <br /> These students shared their achievements with family and friends on Facebook and it resulted in 63 and 25 likes. CLICK <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • NEMCC - examples <br />
  • It’s not just about students sharing your brand, it’s about creating conversations around your brand. <br /> Surry CC turned their enrollment welcome letter into a personalized shareable story - and students like Daniel, posted it to Facebook, and you can see it started conversation about a program offered at SURRY. <br /> &gt;&gt;&gt; What are you going back to school for - &gt;&gt;&gt; Computer Information Systems. CLICK <br /> This is just one way that SUNY Adirondack and dozens of other community colleges are transforming qualitative tactics into measurable results online and in social media networks. <br /> CLICK .. FACTS <br />
  • [CLICK] <br />
  • Part one of today’s presentation was how Cloud ”Building a digital communications strategy” - <br /> [CLICK] <br /> I want to close the loop on second half of what this presentation promised – that’s outlining actionable strategies and tactics based on facts. <br /> …and we’ll talk about the takeaways we learned for each. Starting with… <br /> FACT 1: Media landscape has changed. Move to online & social media <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Target audiences have moved away from traditional media to online & social media. <br /> We know this is true, we read about it practically everyday. Based on this fact alone, you should… <br />
  • It’s essentials to invest time and resources in digital presence <br /> Online & Social Media. <br /> Website is a huge cost and undertaking but it’s one of your most valuable marketing tools <br /> Even if you’re not investing dollars, allocate the manpower to evaluate your content, reorganize it, and experiment <br /> Be strategic about selecting social media channels <br /> Fewer channels - higher quality content and engagement. <br /> Focus on engaging current and prospective by using content and platforms that are most relevant to them <br /> Generate and sustain engagement with shareable content <br /> Optimize your content for digital sharing! <br /> Try and repurpose your content in a ready-to-share format <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> You want to make it as easy as possible for your students to share their stories and experiences at your college with their friends and family - because……Word of mouth marketing is the most trusted source of advertising. This is Facts #2. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • Fact: 84% of audiences say that word-of-mouth advertising or testimonials from people they know—is the most trustworthy. <br /> 69% trust what they read on branded websites, again, another reason to invest in your web experience, <br /> and 68% trust the recommendations of other consumers. But I believe this is something that we intrinsically know from our own experience. <br /> Based on these facts… <br /> CLICK <br />
  • You should start thinking of students as your most effective (WOM) communications strategy <br /> Communicate with students at the same level as external communications via PR and website <br /> Build a content strategy around student success** <br /> Focus on creating generating content for students that’s easy to share with family and friends - students are your most valuable brand ambassadors (e.g. from Jenny) <br /> Spin campus occurrences into compelling content <br /> Like turning a dean’s list achievement into a <br /> Valuable content is likely hiding in plain sight! <br /> Build brand Awareness vs. Preference <br /> Traditional and digital marketing such as sponsored links on Google can build brand awareness, but they’re not going to resonate in a way that builds brand preference. Earned media <br /> Deliver content to audiences that are likely to care, engage, and share it S <br /> [TRANSITION] <br /> And what kind of content is engaging? Personal stories. Personalized communication. <br /> [CLICK] <br />
  • FACT 3: Personalize communications & tailor messaging <br /> http://chronicle.com/article/Digitally-Savvy-Students-Play/134224/ <br />
  • FACT 3: Personalize communications & tailor messaging <br /> Understand your audience <br /> Build segmented online content hubs to appeal to each audience - to create low barriers of entry for these audiences to join in and share <br /> Identify ways to deliver personalized content to audiences that are likely to care, engage, and share it <br />
  • FACT 4: Do more with less <br /> Centralize communications: <br /> I think you saw enough examples earlier in the presentation to run with this one. <br /> This is an institutional imperative, if you want to save time, money, and increase content creation and curation, you must centralize communications. <br /> Repurpose content: <br /> Make a single content idea work across traditional media, social media and the web. <br /> Leveraging students comes up again. <br /> Create student ambassador programs <br /> Tap into your most abundant resource - students. Not just for promoting your brand to external audiences or building WOMM marketing campaigns. But use them as labor! Use them for feedback. It’s a win-win. <br /> I have an awesome requisition you can use as a template: bit.ly/smreq <br />
  • Read quote - &gt;&gt; then facts <br /> Sometimes it’s not enough to <br />
  • FACT 5: Track. Measure. Report. <br /> Align content development with social media metrics and strategic goals. Bullet all of your marketing efforts: <br /> posting to Facebook, Tweeting, writing a press release, redesigning your website <br /> Consolidate - your distribution channels, your social media channels, your content - <br /> Don’t employ tactics you can’t measure <br /> If you can’t measure these activities and show mROI and if they don’t directly map to institutional goal - AXE them - plain and simple. <br /> Create clear paths to analyze and report data <br /> hold yourself accountable, own the wins and learns from the losses <br /> It’s never too late to create a baseline and start to measuring. <br /> Measurement doesn’t have to cost money, they’ll cost you time, you don’t have to purchase a tool, there are plenty of free ways to measure your efforts <br />
  • session - <br />

Applying the Scientific Method to Social Media: Five Actionable Strategies Based on Facts Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Applying the scientific method to social media Five ACTIONABLE strategies based on facts Mark Parfitt @parfittmark Jenn Connally @JennConnally
  • 2. Low program enrollment?Low program enrollment?Low program enrollment?Low program enrollment? What weWhat we’re doing/trends’re doing/trendsWhat weWhat we’re doing/trends’re doing/trends Invest in digital strategyInvest in digital strategyInvest in digital strategyInvest in digital strategy Goals, Tactics, ImplementGoals, Tactics, ImplementGoals, Tactics, ImplementGoals, Tactics, Implement MeasureMeasureMeasureMeasure Report/ReviseReport/ReviseReport/ReviseReport/Revise ObservationObservationObservationObservation ResearchResearchResearchResearch HypothesisHypothesisHypothesisHypothesis ExperimentExperimentExperimentExperiment AnalysisAnalysisAnalysisAnalysis Report/ReviseReport/ReviseReport/ReviseReport/Revise Lofty idea. Science!
  • 3. Jenny Acree @JennyAcree Jenn Connally @JennConnally
  • 4. Applying the scientific method to social media Five ACTIONABLE strategies based on facts and a series of tactics building a digital communications strategy Three
  • 5. •2002 - Moved to Concordia, KS & teaching HS English/Journalism •2005 - Began my employment with CCCC - Curriculum specialist •Fall 2008 - Switched to full-time faculty and academic advisor •January 2009 - Officially took over as the Director of Marketing Jenny Acree, Director of Marketing & Public Information
  • 6. QUICK FACTS about CLOUD:
  • 7. • Decentralized • Website • Audience & content • Social media • Measurement tools
  • 8. Focus time and resources Image source: http://kathoderay.com/wp- content/uploads/2013/05/ContentMarketing.jpg •Website •Social Media •Student ambassadors
  • 9. Website Challenges • HTML based website housed in IT • ONLY ONE person could add and update content • More of an informational approach; not engaging • No understanding of the type of content needed or agreement of where it should go
  • 10. Website Challenges •IT was tracking page visits, but they were not really sharing that information or looking at it regularly •No way of gauging the usefulness of the site because there were no “real” analytics in place •Lost our Director of IT and the web developer took over many of those responsibilities
  • 11. Website Solutions - ANALYTICS •Learning more about the audience visiting our site •Understanding what this audiences was coming to the site for - and just as important - what we wanted them to do when they came to the site •Understanding the who and the what would help drive our site map and the content we featured on our homepage
  • 12. Website Solutions - CONTENT •Create an engaging and multi- media web experience •Issuu - print materials (viewbook) •Picasa - photo albums for athletics, public downloads •YouTube - to begin putting very simple video pieces on the website
  • 13. Website Solutions - CMS •Transfer ownership of the website to be under marketing and public information •Convinced the College Board of Trustees to invest in a Content Management System to maintain the website - we selected Percussion CM1 •Allows for other departments to contribute content. They can add and update new content without having to have html knowledge
  • 14. Image source: websearchsocial.com Tackling Social Media • We had no real social media presence when I began • So many, where do I begin?
  • 15. • We started with a Group Page (March 2009) that was created and maintained by a work study student • Not really generating likes and experiencing some frustration with the lack of success, so I researched a little and we went from being a Group Page to a Fan Page (May 2009) Facebook First
  • 16. EVALUATING THE AUDIENCE: Who was USING FACEBOOK? •After the transition to a Fan Page we learned high school students were not using Facebook to connect with us, it was current students and alumni •Now that we had a better understanding of our audience, we could generate content that was most relevant to them
  • 17. •Variety of postings - including more “Student Life” to bring in the current students •Constant monitoring of postings and experimenting to see when we have success
  • 18. •Make sure to spend time on Facebook and share links from others •We see a lot of success from tagging people in pictures as well
  • 19. Sharing Control •Develop a strategy for posting, especially if there are multiple administrators for your page •Share others’ links and spread the love across the institution •Encourage entities within your institution to have their own presence on Facebook •Make sure to promote those pages and connect them to your “institution” page
  • 20. Channel to communicate •Facebook can be the first touchpoint for students •Interact with users as much as you can!
  • 21. •Introduced @CCCCNews •Just tied to Facebook account •Had no clue how to use Twitter Twitter, where the students are
  • 22. Twitter Lessons Learned •Relied on student focus group •Learned about what type of content to post on Twitter vs. Facebook •Don’t follow us, we’ll follow you!
  • 23. •Video record & share: YouTube More engaging web content Easy to embed in your website Free storage Easy access •Our earliest attempts to use YouTube was for more engaging web content Not strategic Point > shoot > post Very few views Video easy and engaging
  • 24. Video record & share: YouTube • More strategic • Website analytics says athletics • Increased views • Expand focus
  • 25. • Free and easy to use • Engage and promote T-bird culture • Analytics Picasa: Online photo albums
  • 26. Picasa: How it’s used
  • 27. •The Future •Staged vs. authentic point of view
  • 28. Our students are the face of our institutions.
  • 29. Using Social Media to Promote Student Success
  • 30. We’re Not Done Yet •More multi-media on our website •Continue to focus on the student experience •Continue to learn and grow, set goals, develop new strategies and ALWAYS MEASURE to see success •Leveraging Mass Comm students
  • 31. Key Strategies >> Leveraging students >> Building brand affinity >> Centralizing communications
  • 32. Actionable takeaways FACT 1: Media landscape has changed FACT 2: Personalize communications FACT 3: WOMM is the most trusted FACT 4: Do more with less FACT 5: Must track, measure, and report
  • 33. FACT 1: Media landscape has changed
  • 34. FACT 1: Media landscape has changed >> Invest in your digital presence >> Be strategic about selecting channels >> Generate and sustain engagement with shareable content
  • 35. 69%69% websiteswebsites 69%69% websiteswebsites FACT 2: WOMM most trusted advertising 84%84% recommendationsrecommendations 84%84% recommendationsrecommendations 68%68% OpinionsOpinions 68%68% OpinionsOpinions
  • 36. FACT 2: WOMM most trusted advertising >> Turn students into brand ambassadors >> Identify ways to turn everyday campus occurrences into compelling content >> Build awareness AND preference
  • 37. FACT 3: Personalize communications “Blast e-mails are too impersonal. People want to know you’ve thought about them.” – Kenneth Elmore, Boston University “Blast e-mails are too impersonal. People want to know you’ve thought about them.” – Kenneth Elmore, Boston University
  • 38. FACT 3: Personalize communications >> Understand your audience >> Build segmented content hubs >> Deliver content directly to students
  • 39. >> Centralize communications >> Repurpose content: Make a single content idea work across traditional media, social media and the web >> Create student ambassador programs >> bit.ly/smreq FACT 4: Do More with less
  • 40. FACT 5: Must track, measure, & report “It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.” – Winston Churchill “It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.” – Winston Churchill
  • 41. FACT 5: Must track, measure, & report >> Align content development with social media metrics and strategic goals >> If you can’t measure it. Don’t use it. >> Create clear paths to analyze data
  • 42. Thank you! Questions? Comments? Shares?