Social Engagement in education
Social engagement in education is probably one of the richest areas for consideration within a digital marketing mix. This is because most education providers these days consider their students both as clients (who might stay loyal, rebook, extend, donate as an alumnus), and also as invested, dedicated and motivated learners, who will benefit from feeling engaged to an organisation which shows it cares and supports them via a medium they value.
So many organisations will hand “social media” over to the youngest members of staff, and tell them to build engagement, or worst still “do whatever it is you people do”!
In its most straightforward form, you may well be using some of the better known platforms to showcase what your students have been doing, and hope they connect in to comment, like and share. But who are you getting that engagement from, what kind of cross-section of your total client mix does that represent? And how are you reaching the others?
In its more strategic form, you’ll need to be using your social engagement strategy to roll out bigger, more long-term pieces of product strategy. For example, if you’re going to introduce a new foundation programme, degree course, or A-level in a year’s time, who did you have in mind when you took that decision? Where are these people geographically and demographically? Where might you find them and reach out to them? What are they interested in and what do you have to say to them? What do you want to know from them? How could they shape or even co-create your educational product? Who do they currently follow and listen to?
This might seem like a lot of questions, but starting that dialogue might be easier than you think, because you will rarely be starting from scratch. This brings us to how you’re engaging with those students in your building, or studying with you remotely. If you start with the converted, those who already love your brand, your school, your teachers and courses, then you have a focus group sitting and waiting to be asked. They might not always know the right answers, and they might not always do what they say they will, but connecting to your existing students is a good start. Social engagement in education also goes further than just the conversation. If executed correctly, you can build out learning and engagement simply by being there to support your students when, where and how they need it the most. Can your students tweet you when they’ve forgotten what their homework was? Or can they jump on a forum to ask their colleagues?
Rather than helping you up onto the bandwaggon, Disquiet Dog will work with you to find your organization’s own unique place in your clients’ lives and build your relevance to them through the most appropriate channels. This will help with your profile in the present, and your profitability in the future.