Facebook Chatbots: The Social Media Game Changer

As with any marketing strategy, keeping communication lines open between a company and its customers is crucial to a successful relationship and high conversion rate. The same principle applies to social media. This is where chatbots have come in to save the day.

Thanks to some rather fancy artificial intelligence technology, chatbots operate by means of a certain set of rules dictated by the Facebook page’s administrator which allows the chatbot to be the first line of communication with a user. While it may sound as if chatbots are the opposite of open, transparent business-to-consumer communication, studies show that chatbot experiences with more engaged audiences are seeing an 80 to 90 percent response rate. Because chatbots are also still in its early phases of integration for most, early adopters have an incredible opportunity to take advantage of the low competition, free tool in a way that works best for their program. Here are a few ways higher education marketers can take advantage of this new, cutting-edge technology.

Why Higher Ed Marketers Should Care

Updated Content Strategy

With most higher education marketing plans, there is a content marketing strategy in place that often includes some kind of social media integration. That integration, however, tends to be passive and the social media user engagement tends to be rather low. Chatbots, on the other hand, give marketing managers the opportunity to personalize content, nurture relationships, and provide immediate value to any given user while driving website traffic without actually lifting a finger – no, really.

Frequently Asked Questions – Answered

Chatbots are also a great way to answer common questions prospective and/or active students tend to ask. As a social media/marketing specialist, you may not know specific university details well enough to adequately address questions without resorting to contacting student services. Rather than harassing student services yourself or complicating the user experience by merely sending the student a different email or phone number, chatbots can help to answer these questions on their own and provide further contact info should the student request it.   

Leadforms Revolutionized

Another exciting benefit to chatbots is the potential end of lead forms and expensive landing pages. While the latter might be a bit of a stretch, chatbots can do away with overly invasive lead forms that make a user feel as if they’re lighting a neon “Please All Spammers Contact Me” sign. Instead, all the information you need for the first point of contact is already there and free to use thanks to basic Facebook profiles. Should the bot need further information (i.e. email, location, phone number, etc.), the user can then provide it as needed rather than blindly subjecting their information to the whims of the internet.

Real ROI

Most importantly, you as a higher ed marketer should care about this tool because, as of right now, click-through-rates and engagement are especially high since competition is low and communication is one-on-one and not lost in a sea of news feed content. Who doesn’t want that?

Creating A Chatbot

This is a lot easier than it sounds. Yes, as I mentioned earlier, it is artificial intelligence technology, but the the process is extremely user friendly. The best part? It’s free.

Before you begin, the most important thing to remember is why your students should care about the chatbot’s information and how they can continue to gain value from it. As with any new marketing strategy, this is far and away the most difficult aspect to keep in mind, but also the most rewarding. One place to start is to find trends in your current Facebook inbox. What questions are most frequently asked? What information is most frequently requested? From there, you can then continue to expand your chatbot’s capabilities.

Here are a couple of tools to get your chatbot up and running:

Chatfuel

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This particular tool is not only free, but the interface requires absolutely zero coding knowledge. By simply dragging and dropping different “blocks” or rules for your chatbot to follow, this program promises to have your chatbot up and running in under 10 minutes (after a 10 minute tutorial, if you need it).

Botsify

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Just like ChatFuel, this service also starts for free, includes an entire slew of free integrations, offers unlimited messages, analytics, and paid plans for even more intricate options.

Using either of these sites, you can create:

  • A welcome bot for those who have just “liked” your page and an onboarding message to show the user how to interact with your chatbot.
  • A content distributing tool that sends the user exactly what they’re looking for. If they need a program brochure, contact information for student services, admissions information, links to your university’s blog or articles, or even if they wish to opt-in to a newsletter or content subscription, they can by answering a few simple commands.
  • An appointment generator. Especially if you can coordinate with your admissions team and have them create an open-source appointment page (using google calendar appointments, Doodle.com, youcanbook.me, etc.) you can set your chatbot to ask the user if they would like to schedule a call with an actual admissions counselor!

Chatbot Best Practices

Don’t forget to give people a clear and precise expectation of what you will be sending, how often, and the opportunity for them to also change those options and frequency. The user should be in as much control as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming yet another spammy nuisance that no one will want to be friends with – well, Facebook friends anyway.

Don’t forget to have some fun with it! By giving your chatbot an actual name or perhaps a bit of personality, your students are far more likely to engage and keep engaging.

If the chatbot fails to provide the information the user is looking for, make sure there are fail-safes in place to guide users to the right contact information or web page. Both ChatFuel and Botsify offers ways to do this.

And last but not least: test, test, testing 1, 2, 3. Before you make your chatbot live, make sure you and your team have tested it plenty of times on different devices. Does it work seamlessly with Mac’s? PC’s? iPhones? Androids? Different browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla’s Firefox? If yes, then let the chatbot roam free!

Thanks to the beauties of the internet and artificial intelligence, your university’s Facebook page can come back to life with the least amount of effort on your part – who doesn’t want that?

 

Tami Cruz of Circa InteractiveTami is one of our in-house social media gurus with a passion for content marketing and public relations. After earning her degree in communication and marketing from the University of California, San Diego, her dedication and multi-faceted skillset for creative marketing strategies has led her to become a crucial team member driven to expanding Circa Interactive’s digital marketing value.

A Guide To Leveraging Reddit For Higher Education Marketers

It’s no secret that social media has become a staple for modern digital marketing, but many marketers often forget to add Reddit to the mix. For those still unaware of this platform, allow me to introduce you to the internet’s most influential users. Although some might wish to write the site off as “just another youth media fad,” it’s not. In fact, since June of 2005, just two years after the origin of MySpace and one year after Zuckerberg’s Facebook, Reddit has become known by its users as “the front page of the internet,” housing over 234 million unique visitors in 2015 alone and nearly 900,000 ever-increasing mini communities or “subreddits.” This isn’t your average social media platform. While Facebook is known for integrating its news with updates from your family and friends, Reddit is a world where originality, wit, and timeliness reign supreme. The tricky part here, however, is that if a Redditor can sense even the slightest hint of click-baiting or cheap sales tactics, they will make sure you know your mistake. In an effort to help higher ed marketers avoid such an awful fate while simultaneously and successfully marketing on a site that hates marketing, here is a quick guide to leveraging the tastemakers of the internet.  

Who exactly are “Redditors?”

Before we get started, as with any marketing effort, you must first understand who it is your marketing to. According to pew research center, the majority these mysterious users are U.S. adults with at least some college education. While 47 percent of the audience is, in fact, international, the remaining 54 percent of breaks down as follows:

  • 67 percent of U.S. adults are male
  • 33 percent of U.S. adults are female
  • 64 percent are 18-29 years old
  • 42 percent have a college degree (compared to 28 percent national average)
  • 40 percent some college (compared to 31 percent national average)

As a result, it doesn’t take much to see that this audience is the perfect demographic for marketers in the Higher Education industry, especially for graduate degrees.

How Reddit Works

Finding the right subreddits to follow

Once you create an account, if you haven’t yet already, the first thing you’ll be prompted to do is to find and follow subreddits. Think of subreddits as the sections of the newspaper. Of course there is always the front page with the most important content, but everything is organized into subcategories like money, entertainment, and world news. The only difference here is that Reddit, again, has nearly 900,000 of these subcategories ranging from “Shower Thoughts” and “Explain Like I’m Five” to “World News” and “Politics.” While it’s nearly impossible to sort through each and every subreddit to find your most important content, Reddit is arguably the best way for content marketers to keep track of all of the most important news without having to read through 50 different news publications.

Pro tip: One way to discover what subreddits are trending over time is to take a quick look at MetaReddit. This site will show you to know precisely which subreddits are trending now and which have had the most growth in the last week and have been trending for the month. Although this will only give you a snapshot view, it’s a much more digestible way to stay on track with trends.

Upvotes, Downvotes, and the Ever-Coveted Karma Points

Unlike Facebook’s reactions or Twitter’s retweets and favorites, Reddit is a system entirely rooted in active voting participation. As you can see below, every post and every comment displays two grayed out arrows to the left of the text.

 

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While it’s obvious the top arrow is the upvote and the bottom is the downvote, they do not correspond with how the content is displayed. Rather the user is prompted to vote whether or not the content adds or takes away from a larger conversation. According to proper “reddiquette,” the official guidelines to participation and conduct dictates that a user’s vote should not be based off an emotional reaction but should rather be based on the importance or relevancy of the a piece of content. Clearly, voting is by no means a clear-cut science, but how you vote is important because upvotes and downvote can give or take away Karma points. Why does that matter? Because karma points determine how frequently, if at all, any given user is allowed to post within a subreddit–or how likely it is that your content or post will be view by others. So for content marketers, consider karma points your new gold.

Pro tip: Upvotes on comments are just as important as link upvotes. Not only does this encourage active participation within each post, it prompts Redditors to actually contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way. This is a perfect way for markers, professors, students, and staff to add to educated discussions and lively debates.

How To Market To Redditors Who Hate Marketers

Now that you have a good idea of who your audience is and user basics, the next step is using the right tools to successfully participate in the sometimes-too-honest community that is Reddit.

Be a Redditor first, and a marketer second

While this may seem daunting and/or time consuming, it’s important to remember that Reddit is a community first and foremost. Because Redditors will not hesitate to call a user out if they sense any foul play, it can often be difficult for marketers to find the right balance between community participation and blatant self-promotion. The first step to finding that balance is to remember reddiquette rule number one: always remember to be human. Would you try to clickbait your friends? Didn’t think so. Your one and only mission should be to become a genuine, well-rounded expert in your field.

For content marketers, this means you’ll need to limit your on-brand content to one every ten posts. This sounds tedious, I know, but in the Redditing world you live and breathe by Karma points, and the easiest way to lose them is to spam, click-bait, or self-promote. Limit yourself to legitimize yourself. No one likes a used-car salesman.

For professors or university staff, this should be quite simple to maintain. Ideally, a user profile should represent the ideas of an individual, so for professors with a wide range of research and expertise in their arsenal, Reddit is the perfect space to create and build discussions as I discuss in the last section.  

The trick to Reddit is understanding the Karma system

Especially if your account is brand new, your lack of karma points is like a college student applying to an entry-level job requiring three to five years experience, and in order to get more karma points, you need to share content. It can be a frustrating system, but it’s not impossible. What’s the secret? Reach out to your subreddit’s moderators. If you go to the front page of any given subreddit, you’ll notice that there are a set of rules for subscribers to follow and just below those rules you’ll find a box listing the moderators. These wonderful people are the creators and/or controllers of that particular subreddit. By messaging each or all of these superstar Redditors, you’ll have an opportunity to demonstrate the value of your content and build a mutually beneficial relationship while avoiding your karma problem. For digital marketing experts in the higher ed field, this is far and away the easiest way to publish your content on relevant subreddits without any time restrictions.

Where to find the best ROI on Reddit

As I’m sure you’re well aware of at this point, Reddit is not the quick fix solution to your social media marketing slump. Instead, Reddit is a space for experts to demonstrate their value and educate the public. It’s also a place for internet trolls and endless cat memes, but for our purposes all of that is irrelevant.

To demonstrate thought leadership and expertise in any field with the Reddit community, content marketers, PR professionals, university professors, and university staff members alike can take advantage of subreddits like Ask Me Anything. Just as it sounds, you simply tell the Reddit community who you are and let the conversation flow from there. Additionally, higher ed marketers can hop over to Ask Reddit to ask users direct questions as a free way to gain insight to their core audience. However, the most important way to get the most return from Reddit is to become a part of the community. Without this, you will miss out on the endless possibilities Reddit has to offer.

For more information on leveraging social media, learn how to use Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter to reach more prospective students.

Tami Cruz of Circa Interactive Tami is one of our in-house social media gurus with a passion for content marketing and public relations. After earning her degree in communication and marketing from the University of California, San Diego, her dedication and multi-faceted skillset for creative marketing strategies has led her to become a crucial team member driven to expanding Circa Interactive’s digital marketing value.

4 Social Media Stats Essential for Marketing to Millennials

As those in the higher education field know, the millennial generation–whom the Pew Research Center defines as those ages 18-34 in 2015–has essentially grown up in the age of social media and technology. As a result, it has become the job of most higher education marketers to deliver social media in a way that is organic and, of course, engaging. This certainly is no small feat, but that is why I (a product of my own millennial generation) am here to help you better understand how to most effectively reach and engage with millennials. Here are some essential social media stats higher ed marketers may not know about millennials. 

1. Forty Four Percent Of Millennials Believe Brands Are Extensions Of Their Identity And Values

Above all else, social media was created as a tool for communication and connection. How can you expect your students–prospective and current–to care about your content if your messaging behind the content is inauthentic? The truth is that millennials had the advantage of growing up with social media  and are more conscious of deceptive online practices like “clickbaiting,” the use of vague yet sensational or provocative headlines for the sake of clicks or shares. While their generational predecessors may see deceptive marketing as “just business,” millennials feel it is the brand’s responsibility to represent the consumer’s identity.

While this information makes paid social media advertising more complicated, this should be good news for universities. Simply because of the field itself, millennials already view higher education institutions as trusted advisors, but in order to see the interaction and engagement your bosses are looking for out of your social campaigns, you must establish the storyline and humanity behind the school as a whole. This, of course, is not small a feat, but the secret is creating a space for students to connect, learn, inspire, and grow in their lives and career. Whether you’re managing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, the only important selling point is the story of hope, love, and good versus bad. If you can follow these storylines, students will proudly share your content if only to connect, inspire, and grow their own friends’ lives.

2. Ninety-Nine Percent Of Millennials Prefer Brands Associated With A Cause

As you may have noticed, Facebook and Twitter have become hotbeds for social activism, but more importantly, studies and consumer reports confirm that millennials are more willing than their generational peers to spend more money or switch brands all together based solely on a brand’s alignment with a cause. Whether it’s because of the 2008 recession causing extreme economic caution, but the data still holds true. This, of course, can prove to be difficult for higher education institutions who often face red tape when faced with the decision to stake a claim on a social cause, but that does not mean there aren’t alternative ways to illustrate the positive impact a university has on the real world. So how can your team capitalize on this information? Simple: By leveraging professors and other stakeholders.

While it might not be the same as joining in on the hype of a social movement, your university or program does have professors who are working to make our world a better place, and that is something people care about. Take advantage of the resources you have right in front of you and let your students know why it matters. If you can change your messaging from, “Hey, check out what our professor is up to!” to “We’re so proud to have a professor so passionate about civil engineering and its environmental impact.” Current and prospective students alike will instantly have a reason to connect with you and your brand.  Demonstrating how stakeholders are making a difference and exemplifying how students in the program can one day do the same thing is the type of sharable content that millennials will eat up.

3. Eight-five Percent Of Millennials Own Smartphones Compared To Only 50 Percent Of Baby Boomers

This means that a millennial is always, always, mobile, but what marketers often forget is that content still needs to flow seamlessly across any and every device. With an attention span of a whopping 8.25 seconds being stretched across several different screens at a time, your content must not only catch the eye of the reader, but the text and link headline need to be impactful and genuine enough to warrant user engagement. We already know the millennials are constantly flipping from phone to laptop to tablet; therefore, your link headline and subsequent messaging must be concise and targeted for their socially active lifestyles. Gone are the days where news consumption takes place at the breakfast table before work. This means that your news and updates need to be as succinct with the mobility of a millennial’s lifestyle.

4. Sixty-Two Percent Of Millennials Say Brand Engagement Increases Customer Retention

Yes, you read that right. You may want your students to read and engage with your content, but they want you to understand and engage with them. This is at last where you will see your ROI reach it’s highest potential. Although the higher ed industry often requires more caution and red tape, the best way to connect with students is to simply prove to them that there is an actual human on the other side of your social content. The truth is that most individuals who interact with brands simply want a real connection and the knowledge that someone from your institution actually cares about their education. In return, you are much more likely to win over their loyalty. Your research, your classes, even your professors don’t matter to them unless you show your prospective and current students how those things affect not only them but the world we live in. Millennials may have a bad wrap for being flower-crown wearing, entitled hipsters, but at their core they are humans looking to connect on a personal level with you and your university. When you disengage from the social media realm, so does everyone else. Work for your students. Inspire them. Teach them. Then tell me whether or not your engagement is low.

Tami Final for SiteTami is one of our in-house social media gurus with a passion for content marketing and public relations. After earning her degree in communication and marketing from the University of California, San Diego, her dedication and multi-faceted skill-set for creative marketing strategies has led her to become a crucial team member driven to expanding Circa Interactive’s digital marketing value.

Three Common Mistakes Higher Education Marketers Make and How to Avoid Them

As marketing experts, our job is to work tirelessly to understand market habits and trends in a way that allows us to effectively position our university’s strengths to align with those very trends; however, we often forget that market research reports and conversion charts are more than just numbers. While these resources are, of course, extremely important facets when making any decisions in our field, too often we forget the humanity behind those very reports and what drives them. Using research from Chet Holmes, esteemed corporate trainer to greats like GNC and Estee Lauder, and his book The Ultimate Sales Machine, here’s what you and your team can do to make sure your messaging has the greatest impact on the right audience.    

1: Target More Than Just The Active “Shoppers”

According to Holmes’ extensive research, every program, product, and service has an ideal audience that   is broken down into 5 segments.

Prospective Students Stats

(source: The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes)

The first 3% are students who are active in their pursuit of a higher education degree. The second 7% aren’t as committed as the first 3%, but they’re open to the idea of pushing their career to the next level. The next 30% are people who A) have no idea that they need a higher diploma or B) are unaware your university or degree program exists. This group is your “unconscious” market. Then, there’s the next 30% that knows both that they need a degree to get where they want in their career and that you offer that program, but the need isn’t their top priority. It’s simply something they want “sometime in the future.” And finally, we have the 30% who will just never be interested. Unfortunately, pursuing the final 30% would result in a colossal waste of time and money, but the good news is that the remaining 70% is free game.

SOLUTION: Even though 3% have made it their priority to actively seek out a way to change their lives for the better, every other university is angling to enroll those same students into their program as well. This is precisely why the remaining 67% cannot be neglected, but the challenge will not go without struggle. Awakening the unconscious will take more than a nudge. Mobilizing the aware but uncommitted will take more than a suggestion. Solving this is, of course, much easier said than done, but this article will guide you to find new ways to mobilize your otherwise inactive 67% of potential students to enroll.

2: Hone in on only one Student Profile for each Targeted Campaign

When setting the various targeting parameters for any given ad campaign, you’re usually given a set of checkboxes or drop-down lists. First, they start out fairly generic: location, check; age, check; gender, check. Then, the good stuff: education level, check, check; profession, check, check, check; interests, check, check, check, check, check. The problem with this strategy typically stems from the crippling desire of not wanting to miss a single community that might be interested in your school. What’s worse is that this same strategy is likely forcing your ad copy to fit the needs of a broad set of compiled personalities and interests. Not only does this approach water down the extraordinary features your program has to offer, but it robs the potential student of the intimacy and inspiration they crave to push their career to the next level.

SOLUTION: Strive for intimacy. To achieve this, you need two things. The first is an effective egoic label: a label demonstrates both what a person identifies with and role they serve within that label. For example, the strongest egoic label is “mother.” Not only is it a word that many women intensely identify with, but it also demonstrates their role and function within a family. Egoic labels can come from a number of different categories like vocation (entrepreneur, professional women, doctor), nationality (American, Canadian, Mexican), relationship (mother, married, single), or even ownership (homeowner, dog owner, mac owner), but what’s important is that only one is chosen per campaign.

The second thing you’ll need is your egoic label’s symptom. For example, working mothers who struggle to make ends meet with their hourly job tend to have “symptoms” like the following: not enough time, don’t make enough money, or, the most common symptom of any egoic label, hate their job. You can use simple verbiage that taps directly into these symptoms.

Take Snickers for example. They may not have names on every candy bar, but when you see “Grouchy,” “Feisty,” “Sleepy,” or “Rebellious” written on the wrapper, the candy bar is no longer selling the chocolate inside; it’s selling a cure to the symptom the consumer self-identifies with. By turning Snickers’ “grouchy” into “mom who hates her job,” your marketing will allow your reader to self-select themselves. Rather than tirelessly working to get your prospective students to say “okay, I’ll check out your university,” you’ll have marketing that allows them to opt themselves in by inspiring them to say “this was made for me!” All too often, it’s easy for us as marketing professionals to forget to look beyond the analytic reports and trending topics and see our job for what it is – inspiring and motivating people to better their lives, their jobs, and their happiness with the knowledge and expertise you know your university can provide for them. Which brings me to my next point:

3: Show Your Prospective Students Value Immediately  

All too often I see ad campaigns float across my Facebook feed begging their reader to “check them out!” The reality of this rhetoric, however, is that the reader, or a prospective student in this case, has little to no incentive to need what you’re offering. By not presenting an immediate value that your hopeful student can both immediately benefit from and use, a much too large margin of error can occur. Campaigns should never be a space for bragging about how excellent your university is; it should create a space where working professionals can A) recognize that they have a “symptom” that needs to be solved, B) understand clearly the long-term benefits in pursuing your degree program, and C) show them what service or resource they can take advantage of immediately which can change their “maybe later” answer to an outright yes.

SOLUTION: Several simple ways of accomplishing this could be a free consultation from one of your university’s advisors, a free (easy-to-grasp) whitepaper, or perhaps an exclusive free webinar. The point here is that your potential students will see, perhaps unconsciously, that your university is willing to put in as much effort in educating them now as they will be when they’ve enrolled and started classes.  

What we, as marketing professionals must remember is that marketing materials aren’t just a compilation of research. It’s a message to an individual that they don’t have to be unhappy with their job, boss, or even their career path all together. We must remember that enrolling a student isn’t just another tally to add to the books, it’s an individual who has committed to creating the change they crave. It’s those 2AM problems that keep us awake at night that should be the forefront of any marketing strategy. If we can recognize these problems and effectively illustrate how we can help solve them with our services, then we’re much more likely to break through the clutter and speak to the audience who wants to listen.

Tami Final for SiteTami is one of our in-house social media gurus with a passion for content marketing and public relations. After earning her degree in communication and marketing from the University of California, San Diego, her dedication and multi-faceted skillset for creative marketing strategies has led her to become a crucial team member driven to expanding Circa Interactive’s digital marketing value.

 

4 Ways To Boost Your University’s Social Media Engagement

It’s no secret that the race for social media success is on, but making sure your program has the edge to engage both current and prospective students does not have to be a guessing game. At any given moment, your prospective students are bombarded with an endless tsunami of online content demanding their attention; so how do you break through the pack? Here are 4 crucial tips influenced by Facebook Queen Mari Smith that help higher education digital marketers stay ahead of the competition.

1. Don’t just sell the story; find the story’s inspiration

Everywhere you look online, there is someone spitting out analytics to prove that adding an exclamation point or choosing a video over an image will get you more engagement, reach, etc., but the real value lies in authenticity. Yes, exclamation points, videos, and images are great ways to convey emotion while drawing attention on social media, but what can any of those add to your online campaign if the message itself is an empty one? There is no formulaic box of tricks to follow when trying to revive a struggling Facebook page or campaign. Instead, you must discover the connections and values that encapsulate your program and the audience that you’re trying to engage. Of course, targeting via profession or educational history is an invaluable starting point, but what ideals do your candidates hold? What dreams do you have the power to help them accomplish? Rather than looking at your social analytics as just another file of numbers to throw together a signifying trend, make it your mission to understand why those trends are emerging. Finding the igniting core behind story can give way to an endless amount of creative opportunities instead of blindly following what the data says to follow.

2. Tell students what to do, but make it quick and painless

Now that you know the core of who it is you’re looking for, tell them what to do. As you may have noticed, attention spans seem to dwindle as content continues to exponentially grow, so if your Facebook post leads to a website page where 10 steps must be completed, you likely aren’t seeing much engagement or follow through. Especially for the millennial generation, if participating in your campaign requires more than a 3-click process, it more than likely you won’t be successful. The trick here is to make your call-to-action as simple as possible. This does not mean that you must sacrifice quality for a lesser quantity, but it does mean you’ll need a creative strategy to draw in and engage your perfect target audience.

Since you’ve already dug into their core values in the previous step, it’s time to apply that legwork to quantifiable data. Using a simple “Learn More” call-to-action campaign requiring either an email or a phone number, there is a perfect opportunity to collect data for future outreach opportunities to offer more information or counseling. As a result, using a more succinct call-to-action will not only boost your engagement, but your older recruiting campaigns may also reap the benefits of the vital collected data. Social media is certainly not a game for the weak of heart, but it’s an essential tool. In the last two years alone, social media has revolutionized how content is consumed and sold, but finding your edge in the online jungle will take knowledge, a poignant strategy, and, of course, finesse.

3. Reimagine your content game

Did you know that less than 5% of your Facebook followers actually saw the story you posted this morning and even less followers saw your tweet? As discouraging as that may initially sound, allow me to explain why this is a major social campaign opportunity. When more than 95% of your following has no idea you just shared how incredibly bright their future could be if they knew how your phenomenal program is, then the potential for content creativity is endless! And the best part is you can reuse and repurpose the same textual content you used before. The text on its own, as Facebook Queen Mari Smith would say, should always fall into 3 buckets – information, entertainment, and call to action – but nowhere does it say that presentation should ever be the same. If you have a story that hit a particularly successful wave with your followers, do it again! You can use the same story and present it a new way or bring in a similar story with the same spin, but, either way, why fix what isn’t broken? And on the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have a vital piece of communication that seemingly fell by the wayside, reimagine it. Bring in someone else’s expertise, turn it into a social media contest, build a hashtag campaign around it, or turn the text into an image, infographic, or video – these are just a few of options at your disposal. Just because a campaign flops once, doesn’t mean it’s dead; it just means you need to re-approach it with a new strategy.

4. Be consistent!

This should go without saying, but reinventing your content’s presentation should by no means equate to reinventing your university’s image. Whether you’re promoting a specific program, department, or the university as the whole, your online content should mirror your school’s mission statement every single time. As it is, your university’s existence on social media likely pales in comparison to the history of the institution itself, so why compromise or water down your institution’s long-standing traditions? Instead, take advantage of today’s vast array of digital insights to tap into the precise arena of active, relevant, prospective students that will not only appreciate your message but interact with it and promote it.

As a Social Media Specialist myself, I know that no two days on Facebook, Twitter, etc. are ever the same. The content of course is always changing, the software and structures are never stagnant, and another university is always waiting just around the corner to steal your potential students, but what will never change are the people themselves. If you can tap into the essence of your students and faculty and relay that to form a substantial connection with your audience, then your engagement will not only improve, it will flourish.

Tami Final for SiteAs a recent UC San Diego graduate and one of Circa Interactive’s newest additions to the Content Marketing team, Tami’s theoretical and hands-on social media expertise adds new insight into Circa’s marketing strategies. Her passion for social media and emerging technologies allows Circa and its clients to always stay ahead of the online curve.