Wondering why you’re not finding great success with your alumni social media marketing? Well, wonder no more because we’ve done some digging, and figured out just how you can revamp your social media behavior for the betterment of all. In this blog, we’ve broken down your alumni into three groups based on age and interest because a variety of alumni means a variety of tactics for social media inclusion. The results may not be what you would expect (and if they are, Bravo!). Take what we have to show you today and stop wasting your time. Start creating impactful relationships with your alumni via social media.
First, let’s begin with the basics: Facebook is primarily used for updates; Instagram is used to give a peek into everyday life and events; Twitter is used to break news quickly and effectively to reach mass audiences; and LinkedIn is used for professional networking.
Now that you understand the basic functions of each social media site, let’s discuss how to cater to the social media needs of your alumni. Not all alumni are the same. Chances are, you have alumni ranging from their early 20’s to senior citizens. It’s important to realize that your alumni are all very different, and are at various points in their lives. You need to capitalize on such differences. This will ensure higher alumni participation on your university’s social media, and will hopefully increase alumni donations, too.
Here’s what was found to work for the age groups of alumni from the ages of 20 - 35 years old, 35 - 60 years old and 60+ years old.
Being the most youthful of alumni (literally), this group is home to the Instagram junkies. According to “Business Insider,” over 90 percent of the 150 million Instagram users are under the age of 35. So, this is a great way to communicate with your young alumni. Update followers with what’s happening at the university that they once called home. Snap photos on game day of students participating in campus tradition or a newly hired coach to keep these followers feeling connected with their fellow (insert mascot name here) lovers. This is also a group that you may not want to waste paper on, as they are unlikely to take to traditional mail marketing methods.
35 - 60:
This is a very diverse age range. In recent years, Facebook has hit the backburner among teens and young adults, meaning that this outlet has become a primary way to communicate with your middle- aged crowd. “The Pew Internet Project” found that from 2005 to 2013, Facebook users in this particular age range grew a whopping 72 percent. And good news for you, Facebook users of these ages also tend to have only 75-200 “friends.” This relatively small amount of “friends” means that you are more likely to show up on their newsfeed when they log on. This crowd looks to Facebook as a means of finding out what’s happening on campus, and to receive campus news (we’re talking upcoming events, donation opportunities, student successes etc.) so give them what they want.
Chances are your alumni on the older end of the spectrum don't spend near as much time online as other age groups. Implementing more traditional marketing tactics will be the most successful when trying to reach these more seasoned life livers. The 60+ group’s social media presence isn’t much to worry about because even if they do have profiles, they are unlikely to check them often, and will probably only be interested in photos of their granddaughter at high school prom when they log on. If there’s one demographic you would want to spend money on mailing information and updates to, it’s this one! They are likely to check their mail more often than their news feeds. I’m not just referring to literal mail either, email is one of the most popular ways to communicate across the board.
Hold up, what about Twitter and LinkedIn?!
Twitter is primarily used to give minute-by-minute updates of news to mass audiences. Only about 40 percent of Twitter users have earned a bachelors degree, and a measly 16 percent of US adults have their own Twitter profiles. So what does this mean to your university and alumni relations? Well, let’s just say it won’t be the best tool for engaging your graduates, but don’t dismiss it completely. Continue to give updates about your school and I promise they won’t go entirely unseen.
LinkedIn is used in the business professional world to connect people with future, past and present employers, coworkers and other professionals. While it should not be your primary focus with your university’s social media, do not sweep it under the rug. Post an interesting blog or news articles to your college’s LinkedIn page to keep your alumni connected.
So there you have it, alumni aren’t all the same, and you certainly can’t behave online as though they are. Take the info we have provided above and begin your path to perfection in alumni relations today.Joe Shlabotnik via photopin cc