LinkedIn as a connection tool (an update)

March 8, 2011

In May of last year I wrote a post titled:  LinkedIn as an alumni connection tool

The post got quite a bit of traffic and I have had a number of institutions contact me in the last year about our efforts. I thought it would be appropriate to give an update on our efforts.

Today we are approaching almost 3,000 members of the Gettysburg College Professional Network on LinkedIn. Our collaborative efforts from last spring have proved to be well worth the time and effort we put in. One of the keys to our success was the group that assembled to work on the project. We had members of the alumni office, parent relations area, career development, and marketing and web teams. These groups continue to be engaged in the project.

Our goal for the project was quite simple, to connect alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff with each other professionally.

During the last year we have seen our membership grow, the conversations on LinkedIn develop, and the Professional Network become a part of the career development business process. While we were pleased with the number of people who had joined the group we were even more pleased with the number of jobs posted, questions asked, and discussions started among our members. The network has value to all involved.

One of the success stories from this year was when a prospective parent posted a question, “Hello, Gettysburg is at the top of my daughter’s short list of colleges. Two questions: How liberal is Gettysburg? And how safe is Gettysburg College for a young lady? Thanks!” 21 comments later the question was answered from all angles, from alumni and parents of various generations, and a variety of perspectives. The value of the network was never more evident than that day.

Career Development routinely works with students and actively works to help them join and use LinkedIn as a key networking tool. Building our base on LinkedIn has also helped to fuel a new initiative at the College. Gettysburg will conduct an intensive five-year campaign to create 1,832 (the year the college was founded) new career-related opportunities for students by 2014, and we’re depending upon alumni, parents, and friends of the College to make these opportunities a reality. LinkedIn will play a role in helping us meet and exceed this goal.


Facebook vs. Homepage

February 25, 2011

The king of promotion at a college is getting your event, story, or idea on the homepage. It is the most covented space in terms of promotion and has, at least at Gettysburg, replaced even the honor of being a feature in the alumni magazine as top dog. But when will being on the college homepage be replaced? What will replace it? How about a post on Facebook?

Facebook provides campus organizations with a great chance to reach their audience in a really easy way. Users have to actually visit our website to see your promotion on http://www.gettysburg.edu but on Facebook it gets delivered right to our fans newsfeed. We know that our current students and young alumni are on Facebook each day – how often to they read the stories on the homepage?

Our average news story gets about 500 unique clicks. An average Facebook post can get up to 10,000 impressions.With the number of people who like Gettysburg College increasing each semester (Fall to Spring we saw over 1,000 people like the Facebook Page) it is only a matter of time until a Facebook post is more coveted then the homepage.

Take a look at Missouri State’s website. http://www.missouristate.edu/ The middle section on news and events is actually a pull from various Facebook accounts. Is this the future of higher education sites?


CASE District II wrap up

February 21, 2011

Super Bowl weekend I had the pleasure of spending some time in Baltimore at the CASE District II conference. I thought the conference was excellent, I had the opportunity to attend some really good sessions on social media, brand, and internal communications. The networking was outstanding and I even enjoyed my trip through the vendor area.

Josanne DeNatale who is Vice President and co founder at Cognitive Marketing begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting and I did a joint presentation titled: Synergy, Enthusiasm, and a Great Opening Line are the Keys to a Successful Integrated Plan. Here is a copy of the powerpoint for anyone interested.


Putting the product back into marketing

January 28, 2011

There are 4 P’s to marketing:

Product
–the “What” that we market
–a service, an idea, an experience, relationships knowledge (curriculum, co-curricular)
Price
–of our product
–what are our customers willing to pay?
Place (Distribution)
–where does the exchange take place?
–what does the place offer?
–how is the product delivered?
Promotion
–communicating with the customer
–about → product, price, place

Why is it that in higher education (and maybe other industries too) we so often align marketing with only the last “P” promotion. When was the last time that you as a marketing professional was brought in at the front end to talk about the product? So often we are given a final product and asked to promote it or told that “we need some PR help.”

Over the last 6-8 months my team has had the chance to have several “product” conversations with clients and have started to gain some momentum and success. It is still challenging to have product conversations – they take time. You have to really get to know your client, their goals, their organization and how your can help enhance their product.

In 2011 I hope to get involved in more than just promotion make sure we are we thinking about product, price, and place as well.


2010 in review

January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,700 times in 2010. That’s about 16 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 13 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 169 posts.

The busiest day of the year was May 26th with 138 views. The most popular post that day was LinkedIn as an alumni connection tool.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were bloghighed.org, Google Reader, twitter.com, insidehighered.com, and google.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for social media logo, academic websites, beloit mindset list, alumni magazines, and higher ed web.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

LinkedIn as an alumni connection tool May 2010
14 comments

2

What makes a good academic department website? February 2009
4 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

3

Sustaining a social media program March 2009
4 comments

4

Social media icons on the homepage September 2009
9 comments

5

About Paul Redfern April 2008
1 comment


Teams are hard…is it worth it?

December 24, 2010

As the 2010 year comes to a close and I sit at my desk in the final hours in an empty office I was thinking about why are teams so hard. Come to a few of my meetings during the course of any week and you will undoubtedly hear the words: team, collaboration, get people around the table….

I came up with a quick list of why in 2011 we should work in teams and why we should not….see what you think and see you on the flip side:

Why work in teams?

Better coordination across all areas of the institution

Better ideas (2 heads are better than 1)

The more ideas the more people involved the better the product (maybe)

The more people from across the organization on the team the more complete product can be delivered

Why not to work in teams?

My schedule is already busy and I have too many meetings working in teams takes too much time

Working in teams is hard

When you work as part of team you never get everything you want – you almost always have to compromise


New position, new focus, new goals

November 30, 2010

I decided to write a blog post today since I felt like it had been a while since I had a chance to write. And it was. My last post was June 30, 2010. I think this gives you some insight into my summer and fall.

This spring we had two retirements in the Office of Communications & Public Relations, and saw an opportunity to restructure the office in a way that would support increased national visibility.  As part of that restructure in addition to my role with web communications I have also taken on the coordination of the College’s marketing efforts.

With any new position a person takes on a new focus and new goals. From July to now I have been working on what that new focus and those new goals should be. The last 6 months has been an amazing experience for me and I am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. It has been interesting for me to begin to more fully integrate with the communications team. The word marketing has so many meanings on a college campus. I have had conversations with staff and faculty that range from the color of the fire hydrants to the name and direction of programs and buildings.

The one thing that has been truly energizing in my new role is the opportunity to have an impact on the product. Product of course is one of the 4 P’s of marketing – and in many ways it is the hardest. Building collaborative team oriented relationships with programs is not an easy endeavor. Making recommendations to change the name of a program or tweak the way the program is offered to better meet the needs of the institution and the program is tough and offers a unique challenge. But, it is a challenge that is interesting and makes certain no two days are ever the same.

So what is the future of this blog?

I hope to continue to offer insights and a perspective that adds to the conversation around marketing in higher education. Hopefully I will be able to find the time to do so on a more regular basis as we approach 2011.

 

 

 


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