Who’s Linking? Research on Social Web Callouts.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Analytics, Callouts, Embedding, Facebook, Flickr, Higher Education, Integration Week, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Web, YouTube | Posted on 13-03-2009-05-2008

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This post wraps up Integration Week at SquaredPeg.  Be sure to check out the posts from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday!

Today I’m lending the platform over to my partner and co-founder of BlueFuego, Joe Gaylor. Joe has spent the last week working on some very interesting research.  Over the past several months we have noticed that some schools are very up front with their social media efforts, other bury their hard work deep in a 3rd level text link.

While we don’t have specific research on this, we can tell you one thing:  To your target audience, the Facebook ‘F’ is probably just as familiar as other ‘brand name’ logos. So why not put it where they can see it? If you have a great Facebook page with tons of quality content and engagement, brag about it!

BlueFuegoAnalysis of Social Web Callouts on .edu Sites

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Make your email work harder.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Integration Week, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Web | Posted on 12-03-2009-05-2008

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This 4th installment of the impromptu ‘Integration Week’ follows 2 examples of integrating social media into your current tactics and a brief discussion on Monday about the topic.

Today I want to share a simple, effective way that you can drive traffic to social media efforts on the web.

Yesterday I received an email from Nancy (@nancypricer on Twitter, as you may know!) about her registration for the upcoming Twitter for Higher Ed webinar. What I love about the email is how she has linked several social media sites of her University in the signature!

(click photo to enlarge)

webinar

We all send email.  A lot of it, actually.  So why not make it work harder for you?  This struck me as an extremely easy example of a way to drive traffic and get some eyeballs on your hard work.  If you’re an admission counselor, think of how many students/families you email with in a typical recruitment cycle.  You’re bound to get some clicks and some new fans/followers.

Tomorrow, to finish up Integration Week, I’m excited to share some research that Joe has been working on for over a week, dealing with social media integration.  It’ll be a great end to the week, and you won’t want to miss it.


Want to join @nancypricer and @tarletonstate and learn more about Twitter for Higher Education? Sign up for the upcoming webinar on April 9th or 10th!  Only $99 to attend. Learn more and register at http://twitter-higher-ed.eventbrite.com.

Integrating Twitter into the Application Process

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Integration Week, Recruitment, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 11-03-2009-05-2008

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Maybe this week should just become Integration Week at SquaredPeg?  Monday we talked about some theory of integrating social media and yesterday I showed an example of using text + traditional media to reach an audience.

Today I want to chat about an example that I found while doing some client research for BlueFuego.  Davidson College has put a twist on using Twitter in Admissions. They pull 140 characters from student applications and tweet them, then mark the student on a  Google Map to show how far their app pool reaches across the states. The project is nearing completion, with 3 weeks to go.

From their site:

Twice daily throughout January, February, and March we’ll update our Davidson Admission Twitter feed with a quotation, shared anonymously, from an actual applicant to Davidson College.  We’ll also plot that applicant on a Google Map of the world — to show you just how far-reaching these student perspectives actually are.

We hope this project — at the very least – will help showcase the power of the Davidson applicant pool.

Google Map

@DCAdmission

Here are my 3 suggestions to make this work better:

  • Since you have some international applications, share tidbits from them too! Currently the map only shows students in the States. Truly be ‘far-reaching’.
  • Since Davidson isn’t too interested in conversation on Twitter (following zero people), embed both the Twitter updates and the Google Map on the Davidson site. This provides the Twitter and Google Map experience directly on the page and doesn’t require click-throughs.
    • Note: Twitter started providing new embed badges several months ago.  You can see one in action on the BlueFuego Blog. There’s even a red one that would fit Davidson’s branding VERY well!
  • If you are going to require visitors to click to Twitter or Google from your site, use target=”_blank” links to pop up a new window.  Otherwise, your site is gone in their browser and you’ve lost your visitor.

Overall, an innovative way to use the Twitter platform to demystify the app process and show the breadth of applicants!  Well done, Davidson.


Want to learn more about using Twitter for Higher Education? Sign up for the upcoming webinar on April 9th or 10th!  Only $99 to attend. Learn more and register at http://twitter-higher-ed.eventbrite.com.

Let’s put it into contxts.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Integration Week, Recruitment, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 10-03-2009-05-2008

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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.

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Have you checked your foundation lately?

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Facebook, Higher Education, Integration Week, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 09-03-2009-05-2008

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This great post by Ron Bronson wanted me to talk a little more about a slide I use in several presentations, dealing with your .edu website vs. social media. One line in particular that stood out to me in Ron’s post is:

But using social networks can’t be viewed as a panacea, instead, we need to establish why we’re using them and adhere to that purpose.

Before you establish why you’re using social networks, I’d encourage you to first take a look at your foundation.

As a homeowner, you want to make sure your house has a solid foundation.  If you build on a bad one, you might be alright in the short run but you’re as good as done over time. No one wants to build on a bad foundation, and your social media efforts should be no different.

FoundationI always use this slide in presentations before diving into the ‘fun stuff’. Why?  Because without a solid website, you’re like the homeowner who’s building on sand.  Schools are using social media to essentially have new avenues to reach out to people, connect with them, be a part of the conversation, and build that relationship. But are they applying to your school there? Are they asking for more information? Are they giving a donation?  For most schools, no (and I would say… not yet, but soon). For most colleges and universities, you are using these tools, but the end goal is to get them to take action on your website.

Here’s the point: You can do the coolest stuff on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube, but if the student gets to your site and can’t figure out how to apply or get more information, you have failed. Make sure your .edu website is solid. In most cases, it is… but a little usability testing can go a long way. (PS – you can do it with $10 and 10 minutes.) Do the little things now and you’ll succeed in the long run.

How’s your foundation?