May 23, 2016
5 Things Higher Ed Marketers Should Do After Graduation
You made it! You survived the school year. You aced your final exam (covering graduation) and enjoyed some well-deserved vacation. So, after emptying out the last grain of sand from your tote bag, nursing your fading sunburn, and posting the last of those vacation pics on Facebook, what’s next? Here’s a few ideas to get your summer higher ed marketing efforts on the right track.
Remind admitted students they’re up next
The few weeks after graduation is a great time to renew your communication to admitted students and keep them excited. Connect with them over the joy of graduation and remind them their amazing journey at your school is about to begin. Many schools run “accepted” hashtag campaigns on social during admission season (free engagement and exposure, anyone?) so you could piggyback off that and keep making those connections. You’re building fans for life even before that freshman class sets foot on your campus. And you can show off how you’re preparing those classes- like Florida State’s summer orientation for #FSU20:
— Florida State Univ. (@floridastate) May 18, 2016
Show current students they’re missed
A well-placed tweet to say “hey, it’s not the same without you” goes along way. Your students are your school’s heartbeat, so maintaining a connection is another reminder of how important they are to you, and helps to retain & build lifelong fans.
— Evangel University (@EvangelUniv) May 9, 2016
— UGA (@universityofga) May 19, 2016
Celebrate the differences of summer
Summer brings a fresh set of opportunities and activities to campus. Go out and find those programs and surround yourself in them! Share the innovative work and fresh perspective, like community outreach days, study abroad programs, student volunteer trips, and campus building projects.
— Clemson University (@ClemsonUniv) May 18, 2016
Take a fresh look at your peers & competition
It’s easy to get stuck in heads-down mode during the busy school year. Once the dust settles, set aside some time to review what your peers & competitors are doing—on their websites, social media, etc. Wondering why that competitor just keeps beating you out for certain students? Can’t figure out how to grow a certain network? Look at those who are setting the standard and glean ideas. One helpful piece of software we recently discovered for social media peer & competitive review is Rival IQ. This and similar tools help save you the legwork of digging into networks and provide a clear view of the landscape.
Try out new platforms & systems
Itching to try out a new social channel or implement a new system? My guess is you have zero time to do that during a school year, or it’s too risky or involved. But when the campus takes a bit of a breather, you have an open door to try a few new things with less risk. Do your research and prep during the school year, and take advantage of a *slightly* slower time to try a few new things or implement that new CRM you’ve had your eye on.
Look back to move forward
Another thing that can provide value is take time to recap your year in marketing. Highs, lows, wins, fails, bring them all together. Organizing the year’s experiences into categories could help you take a step back. Look at what worked, what didn’t, and how this year trended versus previous years. You probably do regular recaps as you go, so look back through that data and let it speak to you. Soak it all in, and see if you can gather 5 high-level principles that will make you a better higher ed marketer moving forward.
Reach an often-forgotten group: the spring admittees
While admission deadlines vary, students planning to start in the spring are narrowing down their choices in the summer. While not usually the higher ed marketer’s #1 target, they’re still an audience you should be thinking about! You could create some spring admission-specific campaigns on social, or even create a microsite designed to help spring admittees adjust into college life when everyone else has already settled into a groove. Any effort you can put into reaching this group could pay off in the long run.
Tell Us What You Think
What do you work on first thing in the summer? What higher ed marketing efforts do you find to be most effective in the summer?