Malleable Musings

April 9, 2009

What have I been doing in relation to Social Media?

Filed under: Social Media Transitional Information — Brendan @ 12:31 pm

I was asked this question recently in relation to my work at the University of London for the External System.

Initially my goals were to:

Therefore my starting point was posting on discussion boards and blogs and answering the odd question on Yahoo Answers, Linked In etc.

However as the technology, and the job I was doing, evolved other goals developed including:

  • Publicising some of our courses in other ways / down new channels
  • Understanding the marketplace that we were operating in and the students we were serving / trying to serve
  • Improving the opportunities for students and graduates to talk about the University and consciously or unconsciously recommend our programmes to others (related to this is discovering and publicising student success stories to potential students).
  • Trying to improve the sense of community for potential students, students and graduates.
  • Trying to provide a better customer service to students and potential students
  • Utilising Web2.0 technologies / tools to improve the visitor experience on our own web site

In terms of where we are now we’ve gone backwards over the past year specifically, as I simply haven’t had the time to do anything properly, since we lost staff.  I’ve more or less given in trying to answer questions apart from in a few specific places and when my laptop was replaced I’ve didn’t resurrect some of my monitoring that was in place.

[In terms of rebuilding this montoring see how to search the social Web or try these tools and learn to use advanced queries on Google and Google Alerts and Yahoo Pipes.  Personally I also think FriendFeed shows a lot of potential as an agregator. Be prepared for a lot of false positives, or  building a good negative keyword list. London, LSE, UCL and Queen Mary all have their own specific problems.]

I now only actively engage potential students, students and alumni in a mainly reactive way (some proactive appraoches on Twitter / Ning) in the following social spaces:

  • Twitter (c1,250 following several accounts managed by myself and one by Gareth – the University as a whole has 30+ accounts – all known accounts are being followed by LondonUNews – the two non University accounts being followed are Camden Borough Council which has posted details of events at the university which have not been picked up elsewhere and DavidLammyMP)
  • Facebook (we mainly use as an advertising platform – we have a Facebook page with over 1,000 fans of which Gareth is also an admin, before Alice Perry left we did try to use Facebook to engage alumni, however since she left this has died a death.  There are also several student run groups – the largest of which has over 3,600 members)
  • YouTube (We’ve a limited number of videos online and a very small number of subscribers, currently 16.  We really need to increase the range of videos and brand the channel. Gareth knows about this and it is in chain.)
  • A small Ning community for alumni (Katherine already knows the basics of this)

The exception is that if the limited monitoring I have in place brings up a significant post (recognisably a national newspaper or site with high Compete, Alexa, Pagerank or MozRank) I may respond. A further post about what I think the key social tools for the External System will be contains further information about our current efforts and how these could be improved.

Useful links / Further Reading:

Nick De Nardis – position paper for IUE 2009 Social Media Panel Discussion (good explanation of why the social web is important in the context of recruiting students from high schools).

Social Media – Marketing Industry Report (shows what marketing people are doing / thinking with social web)

Expanding…

This post is part of a series of posts the starting point for which is this post. The series will probably be updated, regularly over the next few months and I’ll be very happy to recieve comments and questions.

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