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Ezines in Action

Leveraging Social Media to Increase Enrollments



Monday, April 06, 2009

According to Wikipedia, "Social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content".  With the rapid adoption of social media, there is a growing focus on social networking services like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Why should academic institutions build social networks?

  • Build a community that is meaningful and engaging.  A community allows your school to reach out to a diverse audience, engage in collaboration and information discovery, and find people in the same role or industry. Community members are more willing to listen to their peers.
  • Leverage social networks to build a presence/branding through a large population that exists with wide and unbounded reach:
    --> "Twitter- 20 million Americans twitter daily (The Twitter Revolution by Michael Malone- WSJ April 18, 2009).
    --> Facebook- 69,151,000 visits per month(Nielsen Online April 14, 2009).
    --> LinkedIn- 39 million members in over 200 different countries (LinkedIn.com).
  • Build an e-list based on community interests:  establish email lists of your communities, then use multiple touch follow-up campaigns to engage prospects.
  • Collaborate with your audience by providing relevant value through blogs, podcasts or videos.  Build your community around listening, understanding current conversations, needs, usability, and sociability.
  • Build purpose and enthusiasm using different messages to connect.  Social media messages are from the first person perspective, promoting an experience of openness with your school, and gives the prospect, alumni, or current student another way to become part of the community.
  • Keep it relevant to the audience by stimulating a conversation with a purpose they can influence and control.  Remain real and unfiltered.  Create two-way dialogue.
  • Develop your relationships with benefits such as testimonials, recommendations or links.
  • Cross leverage your social media profiles to maximize ROI.  Community members typically use multiple social media websites.  Increase your points of possible interaction by setting up multiple profiles.  Recommendation:  link to other blogs and websites.
Social media allows your school to use networking as a marketing and communication tool.  It provides social power through real time information.  What are you waiting for?
 
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