Malleable Musings

June 19, 2010

Back to Africa / back to Facebook

Filed under: Facebook, International Student Recruitment — Brendan @ 9:11 pm

I’ve always had a bit of love affair with Africa.  So when I was pressured by my boss in to going to Ghana this week, I didn’t resist too hard.  Especially given that this is the year that Africa gains the recognition of hosting the World Cup.

It’s nine or ten years since I was last in Ghana and whilst I always consider Ghana as West Africa for beginners (it’s just less chaotic than elsewhere) I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

I loved meeting our students and alumni, and I caught a few moments to listen to some African drummers, who were performing outside my hotel at some sort of corporate function.

I also loved the football atmosphere.  There were signs of the world cup everywhere – from football pitches on the ground in the airport, to the flags of all of the nations involved all around the bars, to people selling football strips in the streets to cars carrying Ghanaian flags.

One of the objectives of the visit was to try and foster a better relationship with our alumni, and current students.  We had set up various events and so last Saturday during the first England game I set up a Facebook page to see if it would help promote the recruitment activities  and if it could be used to help foster an online community for students and alumni.  I had a Google Adwords voucher so I set up a few ads aimed at my target demographic and did a few Facebook ads as well.  This took a bit longer that I thought it would – primarily because the interface has changed so much on Google since I last used it via the web (about two years ago).  I ran the ads for a few days after we arrived and for a total cost of around £30 I’d had around 3/4m ad impressions and around 600 clicks through to the facebook fan page.  This meant that by the time I arrived in Ghana the following day there were already around 35 page ‘likers’ / fans.

Unfortunately whilst internet connectivity in West Africa has definitely moved on.  My personal connectivity hadn’t.  It was a bit of a hit and miss affair as to whether I could get on the internet.  When I did get online I generally couldn’t upload large files.  In all it meant that my ability to update statuses and drive interaction and traffic was a little limited.

It was therefore a bit of a bizarre coincidence that when I returned to the office yesterday that my first meeting of the day was a meeting about an official Facebook page.  Having just got in after a long flight I probably wasn’t in the best of form for such a meeting and my initial reaction was that there were far too many people in the room.  However I soon changed this view to being that some of the most important people hadn’t even been invited. I guess it comes back to the old problem of who owns stakeholder communications – and the answer is everyone.


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