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The Complete Novice Guid to Social Media.

The Complete Novice Guid to Social Media.

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Published by Mark Quaile
Some SimpleTricks to make Your Site More Social Media Ready. http://comchief.com

Some SimpleTricks to make Your Site More Social Media Ready. http://comchief.com

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Published by: Mark Quaile on Jan 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/19/2012

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 ==== ====Hi. Social madiahttp://comchief.com ==== ====Social media has become the buzz-phrase of the marketing world; the must-have solution to allmarketing challenges. It's cheap, fast and has reached near saturation in some age groups. But leveraging social media marketing - the art and science of getting your message out using thisonline ecosystem - isn't as easy as setting up a Facebook page. The ability to shape opinions ofprospective students, current students, and alumni in this online world is largely determined by thesocial authority that your message carries. In other words, successful social media marketingcampaigns depend on the trust the market places inyour messenger. This should come as no surprise. It's the same trust process we, as admissions professionals, usewhen we visit high schools, engage college counselors and have alumni-sponsored events indistant cities. The differences are simply the delivery channel and the types of trusted sources. Forsocial media, the delivery channel is web-based (via a social media site) and the trusted sourcestend to be students and peers, rather than adult authority figures. In this playbook we outline how colleges can leverage their existing resources to build an effectivesocial media marketing strategy. We will also give some guidance on "do's" and "don'ts" forinsuring that your message is heard, while also enhancing your brand identity. Why should you care? So why should college admissions officers care about all of this social media business? Becauseyour prospects care - a lot! According to a recent EDUCAUSE study[1], social media use has reached near saturation levels,with 95 percent of 18 to 19-year-old college students using social media sites regularly. Facebookstill leads the way with 80 percent of 18-24 year-olds checking in several times a day. Socialmedia touches virtually every facet of these students' lives. It has become the primary way thattoday's students stay in touch with each other and the world. It is where their attention is focusedand where they first look for information, including details about colleges. These trends have a direct impact on college admissions because high school students areincreasingly turning to social media, rather than a college website, as they begin looking for aschool. Today's college searches begin on sites such as collegeprowler.com or Facebook (withenhancements such as Campus Buddy). Mash-up sites with titles like "Ten ways to use socialmedia to pick a college"[2] are the new equivalent of the college section at the local bookstore. In a recent study by Noel Levitz[3], 74 percent of college-bound high school seniors said they thinkcolleges should have a presence on social media sites. Eighty-one percent of these students
 
admitted that they rely on official and unofficial online content about colleges during their searchprocess. Yet, despite this obvious shift to social media content, college marketers have failed to keep up.The study also showed that only 26 percent of private four-year institutions were intentionallyusing social media resources in their marketing efforts. Marketing must reach its target audience to make a difference. To be heard you need to meet yourprospects on their turf. Social media is the foundation and future of modern college recruitmentand marketing precisely because it is their turf. The ultimate goal is to have your messagespicked-up by the marketplace and passed on spontaneously - and often exponentially - by trustedsources. You want your message to go viral! ("Going Viral" refers to when an image, video or linkspreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared with a number of individuals;social media makes this sharing easy to do.) So now, a little background. 3 Parts of Social Media From the earliest days of the Internet, folks have looked to online communities as a source oftrusted peer-based information. It started with the original dial-up systems of the 1970s -remember "moderators"? - and then evolved into web-based communities in the 1980s and 1990sthat were packed with "collaborative filtering" websites. Although the tools and technology toengage in online conversations have certainly evolved, the underlying process is much the sameas it was 30 years ago. Similarly, its effectiveness and ability to shape opinion are still based onthe credibility of the people who serve as online key opinion leaders (KOLs). Fast forward to today. Modern online communities have exploded into an ecosystem bursting with millions and millions offan pages, blogs and tweets. Facebook alone claims more than 700 million users, with more than50 percent of those people logging in every day. This growth has turned an Internet niche ofobscure hobbyists into a marketer's dream - a vast audience of consumers that can be reached innear real-time at a very low cost. Social media is a particular form of online conversation held among a group of people with ashared interest and is mediated by a "reputable" source. (But remember, on Facebook a"reputable" source might be a 17-year-old college freshman!) To successfully capitalize on thisbusy world of social media, admissions officers must understand its three core components:channel, reach and credibility. Teenage experts aside, these three components determine the ability of a particular social mediaoutlet to impact the market and influence the opinions of its participants. More Than Just Facebook Although Facebook is the most popular social media site in the history of the world, the bulk ofsocial media marketing efforts don't have to be focused there. Now, that's not to say that every
 
admissions office should not have a Facebook page - they should. But your Facebook page iswhere prospects will go after they are already interested in you (probably after they decided toapply). Once students are admitted, they will likely become daily visitors. A Facebook page isn't ideally suited to be a recruiting device, it's meant to be a yield device, bestused after admission offers go out. In this playbook, however, we are more concerned with social media marketing as a means ofbuilding your brand identity - and building your prospect pool. So we're going to focus on recruitinghigh school juniors who are just starting to think about college. Facebook is great for keeping"friends" - but how do you find new ones? 4 Steps To Making New 'Friends' The first step to making new friends on social media is to think like a digitally connected highschool junior - minus the gossip and other baggage, that is. Today's students are much moreactive seekers of information. Remember, today's students: Use their social media network to stay connected to friends Use search engines to find relevant blogs, mash-ups and helpful websites Visit college websites and college content on social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube andothers. Want the "inside" story right now! The second step is to do some research. Before attempting to directly enter any social media conversation or friendship, survey the "buzz"that's out there about your institution. This can be an onerous and time consuming task but it'sworth it. You will learn quite a bit about how your school and its culture are being portrayed andperceived. You are also likely to come across a range of misperceptions and falsehoods that youcan begin to alter as you move forward in the process. The third step is to use social media aggregator services and analytical tools such as Radian6,HubSpot and Twitalyzer to help you monitor the ongoing conversation and make adjustments toyour messaging as your market perceptions change. While there are definite costs involved withthis monitoring, it's the only way to really know what's working for you and what isn't. Finally, and this is only after you understand the lay of the land, move on to step four: enter intothe conversations and begin to disseminate your own content in ways that make sense to youryoung, connected audience. Colleges can send their content directly, which means content is "produced" by official offices orpersonnel of the school, or indirectly, which means content comes from people familiar with yourcampus, but who are not acting in an official capacity. These indirect senders of content areusually current students, former students and "fans." Both types of content - direct and indirect -

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