There are countless blog posts about differentiation and standing out from your competitors. Rather than try to brush broad strokes about what I think schools should do differently, I think I’ll paint a different picture on this one.
Over the past two days I’ve been updating BlueFuego’s Social Web Research, which has exposed me on over 3,000 URLS for admissions, alumni, and .edu homepages of 1,000 university and college sites (400 sites to go!). I continue to see the same boring story again and again. So I decided to set up some advanced searches on common quotes and sayings that continue to pop up.
(And if you want prospective students to “Become a VIP“, there are 16,799 other URLs just like you.)
Are you really that different? Have you taken the time to look at your 10 most frequent cross-app schools to see what students see there? I’d venture to guess there are more than a few similarities. I think back to this blog post, Give Them More Than The Expected, and encourage you to look outside of the basic/expected product and give them the Wow Factor.
Yesterday was quite a day. I drove down to Louisville, KY to meet with the good people of AIKCU and do a 3 hour workshop on the social web for higher ed. For the first 30 minutes of our time together, we connected in to the Social Media Summit, presented by Mark Greenfield from the PSUWEB09 conference. I ‘took the stage’ for 15 minutes to share a few Twitter and Facebook research tidbits from our extensive 60 day data. It was really neat to be able to do this, and present at a conference from a conference. The AIKCU members got to watch the participation of over 300 other higher ed professionals in real-time, and we had a great time. (Yes, that was our laughter you heard… ) From there we moved into a lively discussion on a wide range of topics and had a great discussion.
But the coolest thing I saw all day was at Campbellsville University. When I walked in to the building, I met Katie. Her title — Director of First Impressions.
How awesome is that? How would your front desk person think differently about each visitor if they had a title like that? Kudos to Campbellsville and Katie for making a great first impression on me, and for having BlueFuego in town for the day!
When I ran across a music video on a local Ning site called Smaller Indiana, I knew it had a place on our site. The song, by Jon McLaughlin, is titled ‘For You, From Me’. The music video was made exclusively for the city of Indianapolis, and it is a great visual of the city.
When you think about it, you’re aren’t always just selling your campus to a student. You’re selling the area, the city, the location.
I embedded the video on our site on a page titled ‘Around the Town‘ and another called ‘A City of Opportunity‘. You can see it by clicking either link. Indy.org also shared the .m4v file on their site, so I plan to build a branded Butler flash player to remove the Smaller Indiana link from our site and the potential that someone will click away from our site after watching the video.
What videos are out there, either on local visitor/tourist sites, YouTube, etc., that you could embed into your site?
A lot of discussion lately has revolved around how/why/if/should Twitter be used in Higher Ed. While my recent research of nearly 300 incoming freshman shows that……..2 students use Twitter, I want to go back to a point that I made in my last post about this topic.
Does the student even need to know what Twitter is, or that they are using it?
Here’s a freebie for you.
Twitter Text Updates. Twitter was essentially designed and built around SMS, but seems to veered from that. Let’s not forget about this powerful feature. Here’s my step-by-step guide to get started. I can’t lay it out for you any more than this.
I could not stop laughing about this article. It details the process of getting a new athletic logo at South Dakota State University. If my math is correct, they ended up spending $7,000 to get the logo ($6K to original firm +$1K for contest).
At one point, the school took the designers to a field so they could ‘experience the jackrabbits’. I would have loved to see the look on the designers’ faces.
I’m not quite sure why I love working in higher ed so much. It’s always interesting, though.