Finding My Student Bloggers

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Thoughts | Posted on 07-28-2008


Last year I blogged quite a bit about starting the Butler Bloggers program in a 4-part series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

In ’07-’08 it was very easy to find students that were interested in applying to be a Blogger. I just created a targeted Facebook Ad for $50 that ran for 10 days at 2,500 impressions per day (25,000 total) for a cost of $5/day. I targeted both genders, age 18-24, undergrads only, in the Butler network. As a result I ended up with a total of nearly 50 applications to choose from.

So when I went to do the same this year, I was sadly disappointed to see that I could no longer target an ad specifically to the Butler network. My options are now to send it to the 18-24 age group and then targeting by state or city. With nearly 50% of Butler students coming from out of state, it’s not as easy to target a specific geomarket like some schools might be able to do.

So now I’m heading to Plan B.

First, I have 15 students who have emailed me throughout the year about being a Blogger this year because they heard about the position from friends or they are incoming freshmen who found the Bloggers to be very helpful. I also have about 10 more incoming freshman who asked for more information via the Facebook Class of 2012 group, so my freshman base is covered.

With the Butler Network Ad out of the question, I can now turn to other resources available. Since I am the one who started the Butler University Fan Page, I can send a message to those 725 members. My Group Insights show that nearly 80% of the group now falls in the 18-24 age range.  I can use Fan Updates to target this age range (probably 18-22) and send them a message.

Finally, I will ask for recommendations from my current Bloggers. Since they have gone through 1 year of blogging, they might have friends who they think would be good for the position.

From there, I plan to do a similar process to last year. Email the app to those interested, then do a 2nd round of ~15 students and ask them to blog for a week then send it to me. From there, we will pick the 8 best. They have some big shoes to fill, but we’re excited to see how the new group pans out.

Comments posted (2)

I’m not certain of your systems, but I do recognize a Hobson’s product in your prospective students section. Assuming you have their entire CRM platform behind the FAQ tool, you may have a complete CRM system in place that should have records of all inquiries, applicants, accepted, and potentially, enrolled students.

Could you not simply do a dump of names from either Hobson’s or Peoplesoft to get a list of first year students, and then deliver your promotional email to that list? On a larger scale, Peoplesoft would be able to give you all your undergrad names.

Thinking forward, perhaps this kind of promotion might be a great communication piece next spring. When students have been accepted and you are trying to increase your yield (conversion from accepted to enrolled.) A promotion of this kind of will not only help entice some kids, but also help Butler identify students early in the cycle who actually plan to attend. Thus, this gives your enrollment team time to get on the phone with other students to entice them to attend.

….some random thoughts…

We do have a CRM, but it’s Recruitment Plus. I am not sure if a promotional email to all 900 kids would be worth it, because I know I don’t want to sort through a lot of apps! I got 40 overnight, so I should have a good pool to select from.

My thinking with promoting the Blogger position via Facebook and the BUForums is that we will be able to target kids who are plugged in and will hopefully be somewhat tech savvy.

The BUForums are a great place for me to track incoming freshmen who might be good bloggers, like you mention ID’ing students early. Some of my top freshman applicants have been active in the forums and answering questions for me in the late hours of the night, which is exactly the kind of kid I’m looking for! Haha :)

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