By and large, colleges and universities try to use online marketing to publicize their student initiatives, events, and news in the best way possible. School websites offer the latest campus news, while emails are sent to disseminate crucial student information. The goal? To reach students in the most efficient way, but where is the student engagement?
The problem is that most schools use one-way communication, where information is available and ready for the student, but there’s often no option for the student to engage by offering feedback or their own ideas. This creates a stale atmosphere where students become apathetic to the content their schools share with them. To truly connect to the pulse of students on campus, schools should offer channels for direct student-to-school communication.
Need some ideas? Here are some essential tips for ramping up student engagement.
Periscope is an app that allows you to live stream an event and link it to your Twitter account. An individual can then view an event live, while also seeing all of the Twitter commentary surrounding that event at the same time. One great way for schools to harness the power of this app would be to host town hall meetings or debates surrounding school issues and stream them via Periscope. Students who are following the stream can send tweets to ask questions or add their opinions, fostering an instantly mutually beneficial atmosphere in the community.
Twitter chats occur when a collective of individuals meet at a set time on Twitter, on a regular basis, to discuss an issue and share ideas. The chats are defined and organized with a unique hashtag that allows participants to track all user comments. To engage students in a lively discussion, your school can create a Twitter chat based around campus-wide events/issues.
Tip: Hold your chat every week at a scheduled time, and market the chat through campus posters, the footer of emails, and all across your social media channels.
The University of Michigan has done just this with their Twitter chat, #umichchat.
Twitter chats are great for creating an environment where students can have their voices heard. Not to mention, not only does it allow school administrators to take stock of student opinion in a direct manner, but other members of the campus body can read tweets and chime in immediately.
Open Access on Events Calendar
This next point may seem simple, but it is often overlooked when colleges and universities share their events on their calendars or events page online. The public events page is often one of the most visited pages of a site, yet there are rarely ways for students to engage directly or comment under the individual landing page of an event. It’s difficult to judge the success or perception of an event if you can’t gauge the feedback.
With a platform like Localist, schools can allow their students to create a user profile within the calendar, allowing them to share their feedback on events directly within the calendar page.
Here’s an example of a Localist user profile:
This helps students spread the word about trending events, while also allowing for school admins to gain insight into the student body’s feelings about a specific event. Students can also automatically share event content and comments to a variety of social networks such as Facebook or Tumblr, igniting word-of-mouth marketing, making the event reach go even further.