Strategies for using Facebook Groups and Pages to Yield Students

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Recruitment, Research, Speaking, Webinars | Posted on 14-01-2010-05-2008

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I’m really excited about my upcoming webinar, Strategies for using Facebook Groups and Pages to Yield Students, on Thursday January 28th from 2-3:15pm!

The webinar is $199, and half of the proceeds are going directly to Hope for Haiti, a 501(c)(3) organization that’s using 100% of all  donations to help those affected by the recent earthquake.

We’re going to be discussing all of the changes that have been made to Facebook since the Class of 2013 came through.  Learn more about how you can leverage the updates to Groups to build community and help yield students for your incoming class.  Get informed about the recent changes to Pages that will help you segment and target your messages better, and what trends are coming out of BlueFuego’s research of over 1,200 higher ed fan pages.

I have many key learning objectives for participants of this webinar, including:

- Learn the key differences between Facebook Pages and Groups, and which you should use.

- What to do when students (or spammers!) have already started your Class of 2014 Group or Page.

- How to successfully join and contribute to the community and discussion on Facebook.

- Measuring outcomes: How to track and gauge success of your yielding efforts.

- Targeting messages:  Why the kids in Wichita don’t care about the yield event in Cleveland!

- Social Web Callouts and .edu Integration: How schools are promoting their presence on Facebook.

- Q&A Time: Get specific with your institution’s situation!

Learn more and Register today! Click here.

The Anatomy of #WatchItSpread

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Research, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Viral, Web, Webinars | Posted on 06-08-2009-05-2008

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A few weeks ago, while preparing for a webinar on Twitter (Missed it? Here’s your 2nd chance.) With nearly 75 schools in attendance, I thought it would be cool to actually show off the power of Twitter. Little did I know it would become a trending topic and travel all the way around the world in 24 hours!

The Anatomy of the Tweet

As simple as the update seems, there is quite a bit of strategy built into it. First is the core of the message on Twitter, “What are you doing?” Well, I am showing a webinar audience how quickly a message can spread on Twitter. Sounds fun, right? Next is the call to action: Would you please RT? According to Dan Zarrella’s The Science of the ReTweets, the four most common words in a retweet are:  You, Twitter, Please, and ReTweet.   (Check, Check, Check and Check! Was not planned, but interesting to know.) By asking someone (You) to RT (Retweet), I was asking for a simple moment of their time, and nothing more.

Finishing the tweet is the #watchitspread hashtag.  Any viral effort on Twitter should include a hashtag, because people know what it means and it helps organize the results/answers. Finally, the length of the update.  By leaving enough room for RT @bradjward I made it easier for people to RT the information without having to cut/shorten words to make it happen. Easier = better. And a final thought on retweets.   You’ve surely seen people (maybe even me!) send an update “I’m showing twitter to my boss/friend/wife/dog, say hi!”.  Effective, but nowhere nearly as viral.  Why?  Because if I send that message, it stays rather limited to my network.  On Twitter, if I @reply to someone and you don’t follow that person, you won’t see my update in the message.  So after the initial people say hi to me, it does not spread past me into their network.  Very limiting.

Sending the Tweet Out

During the webinar, I shared my screen, let them watch me type the message in to Twitter to show how easy it is to update, clicked Update and resumed the webinar. I planned to come back to a live screen share at the end of the webinar to show the spread of the message on Twitter. I figured anywhere from 30-60 retweets would be cool enough for the audience to see

About 30 minutes later, I paused to ask if there were any questions.  One school replied ” I want to see how our experiment is going.” Excited that they were into it (webinars = talking to yourself for 90 minutes and wondering what the 200 people on the other end are thinking/saying/doing), I decided to pull it up then.   To my surprise and excitement, there were nearly 750 retweets in the first 30 minutes. Wow!  I think the audience was sold on the power of Twitter at that point.

The Tweet Spreads

By the end of the webinar, Search.Twitter.com was showing around 1,500 updates in the first hour. (I incorrectly said 1,500 in 90 minutes in a twitter update after the webinar because I subtracted from the time the webinar began (1pm), not the time I sent the tweet (1:21pm). From there, it continued to spread. Quickly

Mistake #1: For this social experiment I should have put a timestamp on it. (Before 2:30pm EST, etc.) Then again, that would have limited the viral spread of the tweet.  But for the next 2-3 hours, my @mentions was rendered useless due to the volume of tweets coming through with @bradjward in them.

From there, the tweet evolved.  I eventually got dropped off of the tweet as people retweeted people who retweeted people, other @names because the original @RT.

Tweets containing #watchitspreadstarted taking on social issues such as AIDS and Swine Flu, Urban Etiquette and ‘underage girls having too many babies’. Another great point: You don’t control the message. You just share it. :)

The Results

By the end of it all, the total numbers of #watchitspread tweets totally nearly 10,000.  It bounced across the US, down to Australia, up to Southeast Asia, across Europe, and hit back on the east coast the next morning.  As a result, I was ranked #2 on ReTweetRank.com, above everyone on Twitter except @TweetMeme. With RT’s definitely playing a role in the algorithm on twitter.grader.com, I bumped up to #796 of 2,844,018 ranked people on Twitter. (I’m usually in the top 1,500.  Interestingly, I went on vacation the day after #watchitspread, and was silent on Twitter for a week.  It affected my rank greatly, going all the way back to nearly 40,000. I’ve since bounced back to around 1,500.) I also picked up about 200 followers in the 24 hours, a nearly 10% increase in followers.

The best part: @RainnWilson later that night posted a simple update: “DO NOT RETWEET THIS.” It instantly shot to #1 on the Trending Topics list. Why? Because everyone retweeted it.  Irony, gets me every time.

And no, I won’t be doing this for future Twitter webinars.  Instead, I’ll point back to #watchitspread as the example of how something can spread so quickly across Twitter.

Update on Facebook #2013

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Web, Webinars | Posted on 21-12-2008-05-2008

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There is a lively discussion on the comments of my previous post as well as many other posts in the blogosphere about the situation and implications surrounding it. 11,000 hits in 24 hours… thanks for spreading the word.

In an effort to continue my mantra of ‘educate and inform‘,  I wanted to post separately to highlight this. On Monday I will host 2 free webinars (or more if demand warrants it) to briefly touch on the situation, offer suggestions and advice, and answer any questions that you have about Facebook or social media in general.

http://facebook2013.eventbrite.com

The webinars are limited to 20 connections.   If your school connects and has a projector, you can have as many as you’d like in the room.  You must register with a .edu email address or I will ignore your request for a ticket.  Just want to make sure that the proper people are getting the seats! :)   If you are already a social media maven, please consider leaving a spot for someone who might need the help.

Thanks again.  Keep the discussion flowing, I’m enjoying all of your thoughts and comments.

Brad

eduWeb 2008….. now what?!?!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, RSS, Social Media, Speaking, Thoughts, Twitter, Webinars | Posted on 25-07-2008-05-2008

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It seems like nearly everyone has arrived home from eduWeb 2008 after travel issues plagued the trip back (I’m still waiting on my luggage…). So today you’re getting settled into your desk, fresh with ideas and energized to change the world. You’ve got notes, resources, new connections at universities and colleges across the map, and you’re ready to rock.

So where do you go from here? Most of the time, someone who attends a conference follows a graph like this:

You get really excited at the conference. Your enthusiasm for your job is renewed. You have faith that things can be changed. But as soon as you get back to your office, confidence starts going down. Things start to return to business as normal, and before you know it you’re right back where you were before the conference.

Let’s do better than that.

Here is a quick 10-step plan to help you get the most out of your conference experience from eduWeb 2008 if you’re just getting your feet wet in a lot of the topics you heard about this week.

10 Steps to Maximize Your Conference Experience

  1. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor/boss/direct reports/team. Right now. Come prepared with a short and sweet summary (no more than 1 page) of key takeaways and implementations that you want to move towards. Have a discussion about each, and what steps you can take to get it done. Proceed.
  2. Reflect on resources other than yours. Use Matt’s post of eduWeb2008 content that we have all created to refresh your mind or to catch up on sessions you might have missed.
  3. Watch presentations again, or share them with your co-workers. Point out specific segments they should watch. Here are the streams:
    1. Email’s Role in the New Media LandscapeGreg Cangialosi
    2. Email Marketing for Higher EducationKyle James
    3. Head in the CloudMike Richwalsky and Josh Tysiachney
    4. eduWeb Closing KeynoteKarine Joly
    5. SkoolPool Facebook AppMelissa Cheater
    6. Blogs: The Many Voices of a UniversityHeidi Cool
    7. 1st Annual eduStyle AwardsStewart Foss
    8. eduWeb Opening Keynote (partial) - Mark Greenfield
  4. Join Twitter! Stay connected with others that you have met and continue to have conversations revolving around what you’re doing at work and the trending topics in higher ed. After joining Twitter, head over to Kyle James’ blog and start adding other higher education tweeters from the extensive list.
  5. Start using RSS. A few months back I did a quick how-to on getting started with RSS. Watch it and begin subscribing to blogs so that you can keep up with the information better.
  6. Start a blog. Head over to WordPress and start to type out some thoughts about what you’re working on. Be sure to email me your link at bradjward(at)gmail(dot)com so that I can add you to my RSS feeds.
  7. Try something new.  I personally am going to play with cloud computing to see how it works first-hand.  Think of one thing from the conference you’ve never heard about or used, and try it out.
  8. Book another conference for yourself or a co-worker. Karine Joly has an event calendar of upcoming conferences. Two to note are HighEdWeb 2008 and Stamats. Don’t have the budget? Try a HigherEdExperts.com Webinar.
  9. Read a book.  Check out my list of eduWeb 2008 Book Titles here.
  10. Join the Conversation. It’s not just the title of my eduWeb 2008 presentation, it’s something you can do to become more connected with others. Start commenting on blogs or posting in the uwebd forums. BlogHighEd.org is also a great place to start, but there are many more great blogs out there. Check blogrolls of others to find many more quality blogs in higher ed.

I hope that you can take a few of these steps to get started towards better work and amazing projects. You can do it; be persistent and make change happen in your organization.

eduWeb 2008 was great. The conversations and connections that took place were so much richer and in-depth than any conference I’ve been to before. Kudos to the vendors for providing multiple networking receptions for us to gather at. The BlogHighEd.org Meetup was also highly attended, with approximately 75 people joining us through the hour. I was glad to be a part of the event, and look forward to keeping in touch with all of you.

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Check out TeensTalk

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Technology, Webinars | Posted on 26-11-2007-05-2008

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Stamats has a webinar coming up a week from Friday (Dec 7th) called TeensTalk, and you should definitely check it out. Steve Kappler from Stamats does a great job pulling all the vital stats together for a very informative presentation. Here’s a little blurb from their site:

Using Stamats’ proprietary TeensTALK® (Trends, Attitudes, Lifestyles, and Knowledge) nationwide study, we’re able to segment, analyze, and interpret the data to help you understand what’s important to teenagers at specific decision points in their college selection process. This presentation will provide you with a bedrock understanding of how teen perceptions and preferences affect the national landscape, the big-picture issues, and, most importantly, the context for understanding the continually evolving preferences of your prospective students—from start to finish of their college selection process lifecycle.

I’ve listened to this presentation a few years now, and it is always great information. Not only for you to hear and know, but to have and be able to share with others. I can’t count the number of times that I have pulled out hard statistics from this survey [which is culminated from ~1000 college-bound juniors and seniors] when trying to get buy-in or approval on projects such as bloggers, use of media, email design, etc. There are all kinds of questions and statistics that sum up the incoming classes and what they expect/want/know.   Check it out!

Link: [Stamats TeensTalk Webinar: http://www.stamats.com/events/webinarstemp/teenstalk3.asp]