Let’s put it into contxts.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Integration Week, Recruitment, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 03-10-2009


After yesterday’s post on integrating web based tools or social media into your recruitment strategy, I figured it’d be helpful to follow up with an example of a way to do so!

Let’s use the web-based tool Contxts.com.  Launched in November 2008, it is a site that allows you to create a ‘business card’ that’s available via text. First, let’s look at how the site works.


Pretty straightforward. You create an account by inserting your First and Last Name, or University Name. Create a username, enter a mobile number and email address, and you’re done.  (Note: I used a land line number here and it worked fine because there is no authentication or account approval.  So theoretically, I could create an account for anyone whose number I knew. Just an FYI, and I would expect this to change in the future.)

Next, you create your txt card. Notice your limit of 140 characters. Use them wisely! You can also get notification of when your txtcard is requested, assuming you use a mobile phone in the above registration. If you use a land line number, leave this box unchecked.

Business Card on Contxt

So now your txt card is complete, and you’re ready to use it! The way for someone to request this information is simply by sending a text message to 50500 with your username.  So if someone wanted to get information from BlueFuego University, they would txt BlueFuegoU to 50500. Your txt card is instantly delivered to their phone.

So let’s integrate this into some things we are currently doing, both online and offline.

First, note the URL that I included in the txt card, http://bluefuego.edu/txt. This URL will allow us to track how many people are texting for our info and will also serve as a landing page for them.  We know they are looking for more information and also that they are savvy, so we can customize this landing page with information (contact info, maps, etc) as well as social media callouts/links to other web efforts. Now, here are a couple of suggestions.

  1. Offline: When you send a visit confirmation letter, include the info.  ‘Text BlueFuegoU to 50500 to have our address on your phone!’
  2. Offline: Use Contxts.com for something other than contact info.  What could you say in 140 characters? Got a tidbit or fact about your institution you want to share in a different way? Put it as a PS on your postcard or on a viewbook page and see how many kids respond. The back side of contxts.com will show you how many people request the txt card.  (Note: Don’t be disappointed when students don’t respond to your offline campaign callout.  Chances are, they didn’t even see it.)
  3. Online: When a student tweets that they are coming to visit campus:
    You could respond: “@leanne_curley See you soon! If you need our address phone # or directions just text UMassAmherst to 50500.” Not every person is going to forget to bring the sheet with your address, but most offices get enough “where am I and where are you?” calls that you can be sure someone will benefit from this.
  4. Online: Keep an eye on your Class of 2013 group on Facebook and a day or two before one of your visit or early registration dates, post your quick message: ‘Don’t forget to text BlueFuegoU to 50500 and we’ll send back our address and phone # in case you need it for the visit!” (Note: If it’s a Saturday event and you’re using a land line number, make sure someone is actually going to be there to use it.”

Just a few ideas, but I’m sure you can think of many more potential applications.

Now get out there and enhance their experience! Be accessible and be awesome.

Comments posted (14)

Wow, great idea, Brad.

I’ve started to do research for an upcoming column, any of your clients using (or going to use) these tactics?

Thanks Karine! I’m going to throw it out there to a few this week and see if anyone is interested in implementing. It’s another tool that’s relatively easy to set up and maintain, and should be effective as long as it’s promoted!

Wow, what a fantastic way to promote a new university mobile website . . . we’ll definitely go for it once we have one, ha!

Very, very cool. However, it does not seem to work with Unicel subscribers. Not a huge problem since Unicel is done by the end of the year (bought by AT&T), but still something to consider if you choose to use this.

Very slick. Great idea!

Well, keep me posted if any of your clients implements the idea, I have a bit of time for this column.

Fantastic! I was just looking for this information.

Brilliant app. Thanks for sharing.

Wow, definitely good stuff.

I find a lot of these technologies interesting and innovative. This is a great time of year, seeing what is coming out of SXSW.

Contxts is innovative not in concept (SMS autoresponders have been around for some time), but in the ease of implementation and current no-fee status due to a shared number.

That said, I’m not sure I’d want to rely on an unknown and untested third party solution due to potential longevity and uptime issues. There’s cutting edge, then there is bleeding edge. If a prospective student sends a text and receives none, that reflects poorly on the school promoting the option.

Re: the viewbook idea, college viewbooks can persist in school guidance offices for years, and during that time this free service could easily shut down. Etc. This past year has seen a number of Web-based services shutter, including some owned by big names such as Google.

For some of the more short-term ideas (visit confirmation letter), perhaps this free solution would be adequate. Still, I’d worry about uptime issues. (Even AT&T fell prey to iPhone usage at SXSW, crippling their data service. And they are hardly a startup.)

There are more trustworthy ways of implementing something like this. As I mentioned, fee-based SMS autoresponders, even available with dedicated virtual numbers, have been around for quite a while.

Regardless of the ease of implementation and no fees, there is still time and effort involved in implementing this. Call me a naysayer, but the same amount of effort could likely yield better returns elsewhere.

is there a sort of internet bookmark for Mobile Webistes?,’”

mobile websites will surely grow in the following years..-

hmmm, i would love to browse mobile websites from now on, ‘,~

Another Title…

I saw this really good post today….

Write a comment