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  • signaltonoise 1:13 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , social marketing, , twitter   

    How are you measuring social marketing tactics? 

    It’s no surprise that in uncertain times higher education marketers look to more cost-effective tactics to help them fulfill their strategic marketing objectives.  One of the reasons why social media has seen such widespread adoption by colleges and universities is that it’s perceived to be cheap, if not free.  As you probably know, this is one of the major myths associated with social media marketing…a point highlighted recently by our own Kate Malone.

    There is a cost associated with marketing to constituents on social media.  And while that cost may not always be monetary, there’s almost always a resource/labor cost associated with your initiatives.  This is why measurement matters even in social media.  However, one of the pitfalls of social media marketing is the difficulty in measuring your impact on the social web.

    As MarketingSherpa points out this week, “Marketers are under constant pressure to measure everything they do. The result is often a default to tactics that are more easily and accurately measureable, regardless of their effectiveness. This is especially true in social media marketing which often requires qualitative measurement rather than quantitative metrics that are more familiar to online marketers.”

    While advertising on social networks and blogs ranks high in terms of measurability, social networking profiles rank low on the list.  As the MarketingSherpa article points out, this is because “The value is derived not from the quantity…but from the quality of the…”  Still, as more institutions begin to invest time and resources into building out their presence on the social web, some measurement of these quality interactions will be required to justify the effort.

    This is precisely why goal setting is so important prior to launching any social networking initiative. Internet marketing blog Dosh Dosh suggests the following goals, that could be applicable on both an institutional use as well as a personal/professional networking:

    1. Increased brand awareness. You’re interacting with others on the social media channel in order to build awareness for your personal and business brand. You’re increasing your visibility in the right areas and trying to stick in the minds of others through active interaction on many different levels. From this perspective, networking also works to drive traffic back to your website.
    2.  

    3. Improved reputation. You want to improve how others think about your website so you hang out in forums or networking sites, in order to respond to feedback. You want to keep the communication channels open on all social media fronts. You may also want to improve your reputation as an expert by being consistently involved in discussions on topics that are relevant to your business or website.
    4.  

    5. Personal Development. Networking with the right people will keep you in the loop on industry happenings and will also improve your knowledge levels. A big part of networking is observation. Seeing how others reflect or participate in conversations is a great way to improve your own experience in the field. (**NOTE: This is one of the great benefits of Twitter)
    6.  

    7. Relationships with benefits. One can network with others with the aim of extracting future benefits such as testimonials, links or recommendations. Others are more likely to provide you with a benefit when you’ve taken the effort to interact with them. Networking is a way to build relationships that can be mutually beneficial.

    What are your goals for developing your presence on the social web?  How are you measuring against those goals? 

     
    • 40deuce 3:42 pm on September 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      All four of these goals should be what every brand (professional or personal) should be striving for through the use of social media.

  • signaltonoise 1:12 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , twitter   

    Tuning in to social media as a channel 

    During an email exchange about social media the other day, a client asked me a seemingly simple question, “I now have the Facebook Fan page, we have a Twitter account, we have the old Facebook Group, we have two Linked In Groups (one grad, one undergrad), we have RSS and we have the electronic newsletter campaigns, SO HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO SEND WHERE?”

    My general thinking here is that content trumps channel. In other words, regardless of the social network, you want to make sure the content you’re sending out is relevant to your specific audience. Some content may be more relevant to alumni, other content may be more relevant to current students and prospects.

    Social networking tools let you get very segmented populations since members can self-select when, where and how they want to interact with your institution. However, with content that’s relevant to all of your constituents…why not broadcast that across all of your web properties? 

    This question also prompted us to further explore the notion of social media as a channel. It’s no doubt that a ton of attention is being given to social media these days as a marketing channel (we obviously believe it its power to help develop relationships with constituents). But does this mean that you should abandon your traditional channels as this Mashable article suggests some brands are doing? Not yet.

    The reality is that we’re still living in a multi-channel world. Many consumers now view social media simply as additional channels of communication, and they opt-in (or out) of receiving information on their preferred channels much like they do with email.

    The key is finding the right balance to make sure your social media presence complements your other marketing channels without cannibalizing them.

    The first key is to build a solid foundation: Ron Bronson examined this topic a few months ago where he wrote, “The institutional web site has fully arrived as a ‘marketing tool/ on many campuses and the uneasy balance between trying to reach the students of the future, while connecting to their parents, alumni and pretty much anyone else with a rooting interest in the school can be a difficult task at times, especially for smaller schools and community colleges.” According to Bronson, the institution’s website should serve as the hub for the online brand while social media tools serve to extend that brand.

    The second key is figuring out goals for each of your channels: Brad J. Ward took this concept a step further by suggesting a social media recruitment funnel.

    He cautions that his funnel is not meant to be all inclusive (and others have commented that some of these social media tools can be used outside of the categories Brad assigned), but the general concept is pretty straight forward: Seek. Engage. Retain.

    It’s a great illustration that really helps to make sense of the social media landscape. But at its core, the message that Brad is trying convey is not all that different than what you’d expect from ANY marketing initiative. Here I’ve broken it down into 3 stages. You begin with lead generation and qualification (stage 1), continue with lead nurturing (stage 2) and move to analysis (stage 3) to hopefully improve stage 1 and 2 the next time around.

    Now, what matters here is not necessarily the channel but the action. Can you figure out ways to leverage social media to help you at each of these stages? If so, great. If you’re looking for inspiratoin on how to use social media to supplement your other marketing efforts, here are six tips published recently by DMNews.

    If not, you better make sure your other channels are working for you.

    Ultimately, you want to focus on finding the right channels to address these stages and help students move through another funnel that we’re all familiar with already.

     
  • signaltonoise 1:08 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , tweens, twitter   

    Tweens on Twitter 

    As usual, Brad J. Ward offers some interesting insight today on his blog about Twitter trends in higher ed. He finds that more than 400 institutions of higher education now have some presence on the micro-blogging site. However, he also notes that “Admission offices usually have the lowest # of followers out of all types of accounts.”

    This made me wonder why this might be, so I did a quick search on Quantcast to see what the demographics are of Twitter users. Not surprisingly, there were very few teens (approx. 1%) currently using the site and more than 2/3 of users do not have children between 12-17 in their household.

    This could mean Twitter may need some time to develop before it has a big impact on traditional undergraduate recruitment.

    So why haven’t teens embraced Twitter yet?

    Youth Marketing blog YPulse offered a sound explanation recently stating that, “As long as teens can update their status via MySpace and Facebook for their friends as well as IM and text, Twitter doesn’t really add to the existing technology.”

    Does this mean Twitter won’t ever catch on for teens?  YPulse suggests that as more pop icons begin to build their Twitter presence younger audiences will follow in time.

    However, until that happens, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  Twitter’s growth, as Brad alludes to in his post, is a force to be reconed with. There’s still a role for Twitter in higher ed recruitment, admissions and marketing to constituencies besides prospects…just look at how may young professsionals are on there.  Might be worth cultivating your alumni groups or even building a following for your graduate and executive programs.  

     
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