Why does what works work?
We know there’s more than one “W” to consider when crafting an effective graduate student engagement strategy. We’re familiar with the role of the What. Next up: the Why.
These days there are so many social media tools, apps and resources available that it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you should be using all of them, all the time. Instead, as you craft your engagement strategy, ask why you use the tools you’re using.
As an example, take a look at Snapchat. According to a 2014 report by Sumpto based on 1,650 responses, 77% of college students use Snapchat daily — and that was in 2014. It’s still the most popular app currently in use by millennials. However, it’s not enough for institutions to use it simply because a large percentage of their prospective applicant pool does. If we don’t look at why we want to use a particular tool, we run the risk of using it in ways that aren’t effective.
It’s time to get personal
In a report by CKSyme Media Group called “Your Guide to Advanced Snapchat Marketing Strategy”, the author looked at the way the Saints, New Orleans’ football team, drove engagement with fans through calculated use of the popular app. The team’s social media manager, Alex Restreppo, points out that, “Snapchat isn’t a regular social media outlet. When you send a snap, it’s perceived as a direct message from the brand or team… if it’s a snap, they see it as more of a personal touch.” (emphasis added)
So how could this work in higher education? One great example is the University of Wisconsin, which started using Snapchat to send acceptance notifications to students before mailing their official packet. U.S. News & World Report recently highlighted the University of Wisconsin for using Snapchat to send acceptance notifications to students before mailing their official packet. Students responded with excitement, often replying back with a selfie and also sharing the news with friends.
“Of course you want the prestigious acceptance letter, but I think students also enjoy having the wall brought down and being able to communicate with the institution that they have chosen,” said Brittany Shope, the Web Coordinator at Tennessee Wesleyan College (TWC), in a 2014 Time.com article.
Next up: determining “when” to engage prospective students.