Keeping in touch with alumni is necessary for colleges and universities, but many struggle with connecting with their alumni and wonder if they need to change how they are reaching out to former students. The creation and popularity of social media outlets have caused the traditional tactics of alumni relations to go out the window. Gone are the days of alumni magazines and newsletters, recently colleges and universities have been leaning more on social media to find their alumni. Outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn have helped alumni groups form, old students reconnect and universities find their alumni, but many are wondering how exactly to use each of these outlets successfully.
While many feel Facebook is losing its pull it is still one of the best ways to reach alumni through social media. Whether, it be through university pages or ‘Class of” groups there are hundreds if not thousands of alumni groups where former students are sharing their information and getting in touch with each other. On Facebook the audience is easily accessible and all universities need to do is consistently update their pages. Alumni who are updated on campus news and changes are much more likely to donate to the college. The best way to rally alumni support for a university on Facebook is to share and create events for alumni to connect whether it be on or off campus. Alumni love meeting fellow alums and creating alumni meet ups is a great way to get a university’s name out there and remind alumni how much they love their alma mater. Another great tactic to garnering alumni support through Facebook is running contests, regardless if it is a photo contest of who has the best school spirit or a naming of a new statue alumni love to prove they still have school spirit and a contest is a great way for them to show it off. Facebook is the best way to get alumni support in a more fun and social sense, but professionally alumni and universities should look to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is another great social media platform for universities to rally alumni, but it is more for checking where past graduates have ended up than for updating them on campus news. LinkedIn is best used for alumni support for a universities current students rather than the campus itself. LinkedIn has great alumni tools for connecting current students with graduates in related job fields or towns and universities can rally both alumni and current student support by acting as a middleman. Universities should invite students and alumni to join LinkedIn and tell them how can find possible mentors and mentees as well as professional support through alum. Universities can also utilize LinkedIn by taking information from past graduates to give to current students to help them see where they can eventually go after graduation. On LinkedIn universities should consistently share stories and articles about the more professional and academic aspects of the university to keep alumni in the loop with their schools. Professionally, LinkedIn is a great way for colleges and universities to keep in touch with fellow graduates and current students and to keep the tabs on what their alumni have achieved.
Both Facebook and LinkedIn are the two best social media platforms for rallying alumni support for both current students and the university. Keeping alumni involved is a constant struggle for many universities and colleges, but if they utilize social media correctly they can successfully rally alumni support and garner more attention for their college or university.
Author: Katie FitzGerald is our Fall Community Manager here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.