Where do you think your university stands when it comes to student and alumni engagement? If you answered “not the best” then this post might be for you. Especially getting your alumni actively involved in your university can be a struggle—and, like most universities, you’re probably hoping that your alum will decide to become donors in the future. To state the obvious: if you don’t invest in your students and alumni, they won’t invest in you.Yes, engagement campaigns can be expensive, time consuming, and often a waste of time and resources. But the good news is there’s hope right at your fingertips in UGC (user generated content) and online engagement. Did you know that brand engagement improves by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional and user-generated content? Plus, your newest target market, millennials and Gen Z’ers trust user-generated content 50% more than any other form of media. Curious about how to make the most of your alumns’ and students’ UGC in campaigns? We’ve picked 3 universities who we think have AWESOME engagement campaigns and who capitalize on UGC. Oh, and a few tips for how to improve your own engagement strategy too.
1. Duke University
Duke University has some top tier engagement strategies, especially when it comes to their alumni. They’ve got a massive following on Instagram and Twitter, but what we really like is how they’ve expanded their #pictureduke UGC campaign to Pinterest. Broadening their reach to a new platform where they’ve gained 3,000 and growing. Their Pinterest board gets nearly 480k monthly views and they continue to incorporate their UGC throughout their boards.
Why we love it:
A post on Twitter or Facebook can be buried in seconds and hardly seen by anyone. However, on Pinterest, content has an extremely long shelf life. UGC can be shared, “pinned,” and “repined” upwards of years. Meaning it’s no problem if you haven’t shared content on Pinterest for a while because you can still be generating traffic. What’s more, featuring UGC just makes sense on Pinterest because a highly visual millennial market lives here, giving you a new opportunity to attract new students while still engaging alumni by featuring the work of fresh grads and alumni alike.
2. University of Missouri
The University of Missouri has had a variety of video campaigns in the past, but one that sticks out to us is their “Our Time to Lead Campaign.” We LOVE that they chopped up bits and pieces from their macro video and created micro content to share across their social media platforms—this is just plain good content marketing. What’s more, their video content resonates with previous and current generations of Mizzou students and alumni alike. Capturing stories from students thriving on their campus, to the love alumni have for their alma mater.
Why we love it:
Along with the great incorporation of macro and micro content, the video campaign strikes a chord with alumni; centering on the authentic experiences of real Mizzou students who value the support from alumni donations. Our tip: video is widely popular, partly because it is a great medium to show authenticity—because people can tell the difference if a message is genuine or not. Capitalize on video when communicating with your alumni and previous donors. Change things up from the email or written “thank you” and send video testimonials from the students who have benefitted from the funds.
3. Roger Williams University
Another great example of incorporating video at a macro level is Roger Williams University. On their “Roger Ready” page on their website, they have a series of video testimonials from Roger Williams University alumni incorporated into their overall recruitment and promotion of their programs.
Why we love it:
This is a win-win strategy—giving potential students an inside look at the experiences they could have at Roger Williams University, but it also includes their alumni by putting them in the spotlight and an opportunity to connect with potential students. Our tip: use content and social as a way to include alumni and students alike. It doesn’t have to be a video series (even though testimonials are pretty effective), images, GIFs, and podcast clips are all popular platforms that you can capitalize on.
Engagement is important for all schools. It helps your university establish credibility, engage future, current, and previous students, and boost your social growth. Don’t take online social engagement lightly, push your university’s marketing to communicate and connect with your target audience on the platforms they use most.
Questions about student or alumni engagement? Want to learn how to develop student personas? Connect with us at [email protected].