Social media icons on the homepage part II

October 8, 2009

Wow has it been an incredibly busy start to the school year. It seems like we never let our foot off the gas from commencement to convocation and we are speeding right through the first semester.

My last post on adding social media icons to the homepage received a number of comments asking me to elaborate on the negative comments I heard.  So I thought I would provide the community with some insight.

I think at lots of places there is probably  a reluctant acceptance of social media. What is this reluctant acceptance? The understanding that it is important to some audience but it can’t really be here to stay and it can’t really be worth the time that web guy puts into it. Of course maybe they said the same thing about that world wide web thing in the 90’s.

I think Nick was correct in his comment that the  introduction of new colors called attention to the icons instead of other elements on the page. Most of the comments had to do with the “look and feel” and I think people reacted to the blunt promotion of these sites. Every once in a while I still have to answer the question on campus – why are we spending time in facebook?

I did get some links showing me how other schools handle social media icons and a few people wanted us to move them to the bottom. But I think Travis makes a really good point in his comment that if we are going to put time, effort, money, and resources into social media we better be ready to promote them. But that promotion doesn’t just happen on the web. If you have a collaborative integrated marketing team cross promotion in the alumni magazine and other venues are equally important.


News school year = new opportunities

August 27, 2009

Like many institutions we are gearing up this week to welcome the Class of 2013. The new school year brings with it lots of new opportunities. Many schools are trying to figure out how to use social media and new technology to enhance their communications efforts. I encourage you to use the new school year as a way to try something new in your coverage of opening activities. Dive-in and give it a shot.

Are you wondering what to do with that institutional twitter account that just has your RSS feed? Tweet move in day. Use a hashtag and pull the search results to your site. Maybe some of your followers will be engaged and contribute to the hashtag with their own memories and recollections.

Are you wondering how in the world you can provide videos on your site? Go out and buy a flip video camera (they start at about $150). Go out and ask the incoming student and their parents why they chose your school? With Microsoft movie maker (which comes on our machines at my institution) you can quickly edit the video and load it right to YouTube.

Move-in day and convocation along with other opening day traditions schools have is a great opportunity to engage visitors to your website. You have a captive audience who will love to see photos, videos, and anything else you have to offer. This year make sure that you are not having a conversation with your boss after the fact about how “we’ll have to try those things next year.”


Pump up the jam or maybe just the incoming class

August 24, 2009

Last week I was spending some time getting through the hundreds of items in my Google reader. One of the posts I came across wason a blog called  The Old College Try: Marketing Higher Ed. The University of Toledo had done a video (in-house) designed to pump up the incoming students and get them excited about starting at the school.

I thought the video was really well done but did more than just pump up students. It did a really nice job of getting a group of salespeople (new students and parents) excited about the institution. What is the top question parents of new students are going to answer in their communities, at dinners, and other events back at home in September.

Where is Johnny headed to school again? How does he like it?

What better way to get a group of your best brand advocates to be excited and engaged about the institution. Well done -



Survey Results on Use of Web-based Technology to Support Communications and Marketing at Educational Institutions

August 20, 2009

In March 2009 in preparation for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Communications, Communications, Marketing & Technology Conference, Cognitive Marketing, a brand development firm, developed a survey to gauge the level at which Internet‐based technologies are incorporated into the marketing practices of educational institutions. The range of technologies, from basic websites through to fully integrated social networking programs, was explored.

For those interested the full report from the survey can be downloaded.


Make the brand easy

August 13, 2009

I often hear these phrases in higher education:

“We can’t make our logo easy to download. Then people might want to use it”

Isn’t this exactly what social media and web 2.0 is all about. User generated content. Social networks. Social Media is word of mouth marketing for this generation. Our communities are going to start groups and conversations using our names why not give them the tools to do it right?

There are 2 examples that I think are really good. One from higher education is Skidmore Interactive. Skidmore does a nice job of bringing all their social networks together and maximizing their brand on the sites.

http://cms.skidmore.edu/interactive/

One from the world of politics is the Obama campaign.The downloads section of the site is extremely impressive. You can get everything from a background image, to buddy icons, to posters.

http://origin.barackobama.com/downloads/


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