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It's Not All About Facebook: Defining Your Own Private Community

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Facebook has been the go-to platform for institutions to connect with prospective students. Let's not kid ourselves, though; HigherEd is full of control freaks. And Facebook is out of our control. Via a coordinated content strategy across Facebook and other social platforms, there is room for a college-owned, private social network within your digital strategy. With the ability to more closely control the experience, you can better align with institutional brand, more directly tie to programmatic, business unit goals and more intimately understand your users' personal interests. But a private social network should not stand on its own. This presentation will showcase the success of past private social networks and focus on the challenges and opportunities seen within a private social network for applicants created at Babson College. As result, you will walk away with the motivation to coordinate a digital marketing strategy across multiple social platforms with intentional, distinct goals and purpose for each platform.

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It's Not All About Facebook: Defining Your Own Private Community

  1. 1. It's Not All About Facebook: Define Your Own Private Community #notyourFacebook Gene Begin Digital Marketing Director @gbegin Vanessa Theoharis Digital Marketing & Community Manager @VanessaTSmiles
  2. 2.  #notyourFacebook  University Private Social Networks  Case Study: Babson College Define You  Outcomes and Learnings  Questions TIMELINE
  3. 3. 1.15 Billion Users 699 Million Daily Active Users Average 20 minutes spent per visit $5.09 Billion in 2012 Revenue THE ALMIGHTY FACEBOOK 94% of Teens Use Facebook (Pew, 2012) As of July 2013
  4. 4. Facebook is still the most important social network for teens… 33% of 5,200 teens surveyed in Spring 2013 BUT… Down 9% since Fall 2012 In Facebook’s Words… “We believe that some of our users, particularly our younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook.” (Facebook 10-K, February 2013) YET NOT SO ALMIGHTY… 2013 E-Expectations Report While 67% of the surveyed students had visited a school Facebook page in 2012, the proportion fell down to 35% in 2013.
  5. 5. Teens beginning to value and prefer smaller, more intimate, more targeted, and more purposeful social websites. THE SELFIE GENERATION
  6. 6. You may think it’s yours. But it’s not.  Limited to no control  Pay to play  Advertising  News feed visibility (15-20% of fans)  80% of fans are current customers  Advocacy and community-building  Enrollment marketing content therefore not a focus  80-96% of fans don’t go back to a brand’s Facebook page after initial engagement IT’S NOT YOUR FACEBOOK
  7. 7. PROS  Control  Design  Data integration  Personalized content CONS  Yet another profile  Yet another network  Marketing communications plan absolutely necessary PRIVATE SOCIAL NETWORK? 75% of prospective college students think schools should provide a private community for incoming students. (2013 E-Expectations)
  8. 8. INSTITUTIONAL BRAND CAMPAIGN Case Study: Babson College
  9. 9.  Small, private business college 14 miles west of Boston  #1 in entrepreneurship for 20 and 16 consecutive years (graduate and undergraduate)  Approximately 2000 undergraduate and 1300 graduate students, representing more than 74 countries  Undergraduate program (top 25 in business)  Graduate program - MBA and MS degrees (top 40 in business)  Executive education program (top 10 U.S. and top 15 in the world for custom programs)  Babson Global, which works with corporate, university, government, and foundation partners to advance entrepreneurship education and Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® worldwide BABSON COLLEGE
  12. 12. In doing so:  Augment pride and engage our community.  Expand Babson’s application base, in turn expanding and enhancing our student / alumni base.  Generate more corporate relationships.  Create greater attention with academic institutions, foundations and grants organizations, and the policy community. Increase brand awareness, engagement, and adoption for Babson, as the educator for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. BRAND CAMPAIGN GOAL & OBJECTIVES
  13. 13.  Context video  Definition submission  Data capture (name, email, country, zip, occupation)  Interactive search elements  Liking  Sharing ENGAGEMENT HUB /
  15. 15. ADMISSION ENROLLMENT CYCLE Integrated Digital Content Strategy
  16. 16. 1) Build connections, networks, and relationships between applicants. 2) Increase yield of applicant to deposit. 3) Protect against summer melt. ADMISSION OBJECTIVES
  18. 18. www DIGITAL MARKETING PLATFORMS 90% of seniors and juniors have visited a college website within the past 30 days.
  19. 19. Awareness Inquire Apply Enroll Facebook (Main College Acct) WWW Babson Blogs Admission Facebook, Twitter & Instagram Accounts Define You Student Magazine Babson Portal Facebook Class of 2017 PRIVATE SOCIAL NETWORK ENROLLMENT MARKETING DECISION JOURNEY
  22. 22. FEATURES
  23. 23. WHAT DID WE LEARN Results, Outcomes, Learnings
  24. 24. OUTCOMES / SITE TRAFFIC  1,032 people visited this site (17% of applicants)  78% Returning Visitors  12 minute average visit duration  7 pages per visit  January 30, 2013 – Most Popular Day  Email communication to applicants » Data is from September 1, 2012 – July 1, 2013
  25. 25. OUTCOMES / INDIVIDUALS Define You: 148 Profiles Created  15% of site visitors  46% female (47% of the incoming class is female)  67 Admitted (45% of profiles – overall yield is 28%)  31 Deposits (2 from waitlist)  49% Deposit rate (overall deposit rate is 30%)  50 Denied  31 Waitlisted Data is from September 1, 2012 – July 1, 2013 Inigral School App Yield & Retention Data
  26. 26. OUTCOMES / USER PATHS & INTERESTS 1. Navigating through page results (pages 2 and 3) 2. Hellos (viewing their profile comments) 3. Profiles by Regions:  North America Region  Asian Region 4. About Babson (within 5. Define Entrepreneurship 6. Define Social 7. 8. Profiles from China COMMON WORDS USED Business Years School Friends /Family World MOST POPULAR INTERESTS Activities and Interests Entrepreneurship Athletics and Recreation Social Impact Education Abroad
  27. 27.  Focus group with 18 admitted students  Private social network would have been more widely used if integrated into existing platforms  Portal project with IT  Online viewbook site & student magazine was considered part of WWW  Integrate subsite with WWW  Did not use Facebook Class of 2017 page until accepted / deposited  Loved seeing photos on Facebook OUTCOMES / QUALITATIVE
  28. 28. Awareness Inquire Apply Enroll Facebook (Main College Acct) WWW Babson Blogs Admission Facebook, Twitter & Instagram Accounts Define You Student Magazine Babson Portal Facebook Class of 2017 Define You Applicant Site ENROLLMENT MARKETING DECISION JOURNEY
  29. 29. Awareness Inquire Apply Enroll Facebook (Main College Acct) WWW Babson Blogs Admission Twitter & Instagram Babson Portal Facebook Class of 2018 ENROLLMENT MARKETING DECISION JOURNEY  Integrate Online Viewbook / Student Magazine content into WWW Admission  Integrate Applicant Site social networking functionality into existing IT Portal  Remove Facebook Admission Page
  30. 30.  Facebook is necessary; can’t be everything  Social strategy should include your owned platforms  Align social strategy with audience behavior and expectations along the enrollment cycle  Speak to institutional brand strategy to maintain life cycle messaging TAKEAWAYS Gene Begin Digital Marketing Director @gbegin Vanessa Theoharis Digital Marketing & Community Manager @VanessaTSmiles