Tools of Engagement: Email to Social Media

Liz Kistner - Monday, October 27, 2014

With new technology innovations emerging left and right, like in chess “What is your next move”? The World Wide Web continues to evolve with new forms of human interaction.  What tools of engagement are you using to find, engage, and convert new students?   Social media, the modern marketing tool, has changed the way universities have engaged with their prospects, students, and alumni.   Statistics still show that most people look forward to opening their emails daily.  Email marketing is still a viable marketing channel.  Forrester Research predicts that email marketing will grow to more than $4 billion by 2012.   Engagement is critical to boosting enrollments, rankings, and publicity. 5 ways to use both email and social media to accomplish your communications goals:

-- Create opt-in forms or links on your universities home Facebook (or other social media site) page.  Capture key information such as name, email address and area of interest in order to send relevant future messages to your prospects. “Voice” your email communications using current students or peers that speak their language.  Peer to peer communication carries a lot of weight.

-- Leverage social media to convert prospects to students. Bridge the gap between social media and email by creating links within your email that enables your prospects to post messages to their profile pages. Social media continues to be a game changer with 600 million Facebook users.  Ride the powerful viral effect.  

-- Optimize your preference center in order to understand how your prospects want to be communicated to.  Include in all email correspondence a preference center that includes different channel options (SMS, direct mail, phone, and social media).  This e-mail marketing behavior will help build an integrated prospect experience.

-- Incorporate personalized dynamic content into your email.  Use technology to deliver more relevant messages at the right time and eliminate cumbersome manual processes.  Email marketing automation gives you the ability to use one cohesive and congruent turnkey solution that address acquisition, retention and nurture capabilities.  

-- Implement a unified message and brand that carries over into your email and social media strategy.  Branding is a differentiator that sets you apart from the sea of competition. Use conversation to help build social media communities that not only build brand presence but have an end goal in mind:  convert students.

With budget cuts, evolving online programs and constantly changing marketplace, it is important to seek innovative and effective ways to find the “right” student for your programs.  Understanding & utilizing email marketing and social media networks are vital communication components in the enrollment process.    Manage your communications from a strategic standpoint that is mindful and continual.