For social media specialists in higher ed, the biggest challenge is not just finding content, images or videos, but also figuring out ways to create dialogue with alumni through these sites. Social media’s main advantage is the ability to share and converse, not just publicize.
Certain corporations offer some tremendous examples of how to create more dynamic campaigns, that both stimulate interaction with fans, but also deepen the connection between fans and a brand or create more awareness regarding a brand’s best attributes. These campaigns can shed light on just what higher ed institutions should focus on when creating their own social media campaigns.
What does all this mean for higher ed alumni relations?
The key takeaway is to find ways to create engaging social media content that connects alumni back to the institution. While certain posts wishing alumni a Happy Thanksgiving or telling everyone to cheer on the team may get a lot of likes, the truly engaging posts are those that make alumni think back to their time on campus or create an opportunity for alumni to interact with the institution.
Here are a few things to think about:
Did you use your social media outlets over Thanksgiving to give students and alumni an opportunity to share what they are thankful for about their school on Facebook or Twitter?
Graduation provides an opportunity for alumni to share advice they would like all graduating students to hear before moving on to the next part of their career.
How do alumni display their pride? Alums use license plates, basements, pets and their children to show off where they went to undergrad. Social media campaigns asking alumni to showcase these displays can be very popular.
Students also love to show off their school, especially when travelling, and take lots of pictures in iconic places wearing their school gear. Unfortunately, a lot of this is often not captured by the institution. But institutions can help to facilitate these photos and make it easier to capture them, by providing travelling students with some school swag. Many schools have had success by providing students with a school flag before they go study abroad and asking the students to use a certain hashtag whenever they post pictures.
Each institution though also has unique aspects that can be utilized in a social media campaign. A great way to showcase what makes your school unique is through video. Georgetown created a social campaign where various students are asked to document their lives as Hoyas. These videos then go up on Georgetown’s website and on Youtube, and are categorized based on the topic. Visit www.georgetownstories.com to check it out.