Higher Ed institutions are always searching for ways to connect students and alumni. Alumni relations are incredibly important to your universities success by engaging students and being a vital part of university fundraising. Social media is helping higher ed institutions better alumni and student relations every day.
Social Media for boosting Alumni Relations:
Universities are increasingly looking to social media to help connect students and keep alumni involved. Universities like DePaul and Michigan State are having incredible success in using LinkedIn to connect alumni and students. LinkedIn can be used for networking with alumni professionals in your field as well as sharing job leads. Higher Ed institutions are also looking to social media to assist with fundraising. Alumni giving can range all the way from 60% down to single digit percentages. Alumni giving is a vital part of many universities and finding a way to fundraise efficiently is crucial.
While using social media as a way to encourage alumni to donate is still an up-and-coming idea, schools like Brown University are experimenting and having incredible success. Brown used a Facebook page to encourage alumni to donate during their annual fundraising event, even offering bonuses such as dollar-for-dollar matching and posting frequent updates on the status of the campaign.
We may not be far from receiving tweets encouraging alumni to donate instead of generic letters or emails. Social media campaigns aim to make fundraising more personal. Alumni and student relations should begin from the moment a student is accepted and alumni relations should be apparent to prospective students.
In order to engage alumni and newly accepted students, universities can look to hashtags to aid in connections. When a student is accepted, they often post to various social media platforms about their accomplishment. Encouraging students to celebrate their acceptance with a specific hashtag and encouraging alumni to respond to new students through tweeting or commenting begins to foster relationships from the beginning.
Stanford’s law school is a front-runner in successfully connecting students and alumni through social media. Stanford’s success stems from providing resources and information that aren’t available anywhere else. Within their site, students and alumni share notes and advice for success in the classroom. The class-specific advice and wealth of learning tools sets their social media strategy apart. Stanford’s success highlights the importance of alumni-generated content.
Incorporating Social Media into Events:
Although social media plays a huge role in alumni and student connections, you cannot disregard the importance of hosting events that allow students and alumni to network face to face. Offering free food or bonus points for classes are tried and true ways to make college kids show up to an event, but finding other ways to encourage alumni relations can be tricky.
Having alumni host events such as a send off party for new students or hosting a going away party for new graduates can help incorporate alumni in every aspect of the college journey. Students often look for real life applications of the things they are learning in the classroom and how successful individuals are using their major. Having alumni guest lectures allows for alumni and student relations while simultaneously helping students grasp the bigger picture.
SUNY Geneseo uses “externships” in order to connect students and alumni. Externships pair students with alumni in the field that they are interested in. These externships allow students to cultivate relationships with people who have followed the path that they intend to follow. Alumni student relations are vital to your universities success.