Orientation and Week of Welcome are by far the most important times in terms of capturing the mindshare of incoming students. Their attention is at its highest peak when they come on campus for the first time and ensuring you can start a relationship with their social media accounts ensure that you’ll hopefully have a strong 4-year relationship with them.
We developed our eBook after building some of Canada’s strongest higher education digital communities and understanding that 90% of students are on at least 1 social media channels and over 92% go online daily. Knowing that many students value their online relationships as much as they do their in person relationships, giving them an option to connect and start following you online is paramount in ensuring you can spread your message to as many students as possible throughout their lifecycle.
Here’s how we break down our strategy:
Phase 1: Start With Why
Understanding where your students are and why you need to engage with them on their field is paramount to any successful campaign. The marketing world has changed, the brand no longer owns the conversation and the tactic of put it in front of their faces enough till they “buy” doesn’t work with the amount of noise and access to information that we have. Being where they are is key and having that understanding at the core of your marketing strategy will set the stage for everything else. This is their customer service platform so making sure they get the right information from the right account (yours!) will make everyone’s life easier.
Phase 2: Plan
The first thing to understand about social is that if you have the resources then you can be on all the platforms but if you’re limited with people and time, choose a few channels and do them really well. Although it works in almost every circumstance, especially if you have a brand new account, consider physical activations and contests to help build some followers and spread the word about your accounts.
Phase 3: Build
Our suggestion here is get started early as possible and start developing your content and assets in advance. One big tip here is get student feedback during this process. Find out if your graphics resonate, if the blog posts are worth reading, etc. Testing the campaign with your target demographic and using their feedback to perfect it before it goes live goes a long way.
Phase 4: Launch
The best way to scale the campaign fast is to have institutional buy in, meaning help other people spread the word for you. Contact your website administrator and see if they can get your campaign or your accounts on the front page leading up to orientation and throughout the week.
Phase 5: Monitor and Pivot
Like any good marketing campaign, measuring it’s success the whole way through, not just at the end is what will ensure maximum engagement throughout the week. Check which blog posts are performing well and make sure it’s reposted more often or put some money behind it through social media ads to help increase readership. Find out who the most engaged students are and make sure you shoot them a retweet or two! Monitor your channels daily and use whatever insights you can pull to help scale good content and remove underperforming content from your calendar.
Phase 6: Reflect and Report
At the end of the campaign, build out some full length reports to look at the numbers at a macro level and ask yourself a few questions:
– Should we do this again?
– What went well and should we repeat it?
– What didn’t go well? Can we improve it or should we scrap it
Also consider telling your campaign story to other colleagues and how they can build similar campaigns internally to keep student engagement high through online channels throughout the academic year.