The VPM Blog

Social Scene vs Social Media: Boosting Alumni Relations

Posted by Megan Anglin on Mar 3, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Keeping in touch with alumni is vital for colleges and universities, yet many continue to struggle fostering these relationships outside of in-person events. The introduction of social media into the world of higher education has begun to change the way universities are staying connected with alumni. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have allowed alumni and students to connect for various purposes. Although many universities are aware of the shifting networking tactics, they appear to be left in the dark when it comes to successfully using these social media platforms for boosting alumni relations.



Live Online Events

Most higher education institutions will agree that in-person alumni events are time consuming and extremely expensive. Through the use of new technology, live online events are reducing the frustration of planning a great networking event that produces lackluster attendance. Live online networking events are essentially a chat room paired with speed networking. These events offer the administrators quick access to see who is choosing to "attend" and gather detailed backgrounds of the participants. Online events are also beneficial to alumni by providing attendees the complete roster of guests ahead of time. Online participants may easily gain contact information for individuals with whom they hold conversations.

Live online events don’t promote themselves, however, and this is where social media comes into play. Having popular and effective social media platforms can help increase attendance to events that your university promotes. A great way to leverge your social media reach is to share and promote the various events you are planning.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most common platforms used to rally alumni support through a professional yet engaging manner. 

 Tying Social Media into Events

Although social media is taking the lead in alumni relations and is reshaping the way we connect, universities cannot overlook the importance of face-to-face networking. In-person events are still crucial to outreach efforts, but social media can play an important role. Use social media before, during and after events in order to better connect with attendees.

Before: Make your event easily accessible and shareable through Facebook events and send event reminders through platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Use discount codes for the event, such as buy one ticket get a second one free, this provides incentives for alumni to attend. 

During: Create a hashtag for attendees to use when posting about the event. Having an event hashtag will help you interact with attendees on their personal social media platforms.

After: Create a shareable video that highlights the event or a photo album containing all of the photos discoverable under the events hashtag. These multimedia tools can also be used to help market for future alumni events.

According to recent data, Pennsylvania State University boasts the largest dues-paying alumni association in the nation, with almost 165,000 members worldwide. They are wildly successful due to their online presence and effective alumni events. Having this kind of alumni backing allows students to access alumni from nearly every aveune available. Students can even connect with alumni through online events such as webinars and workshops like Alumni JOBSearch and Alumni CareerShape.

Keeping alumni involved is a constant struggle for many universities and colleges, however the correct use of social media can successfully rally alumni support and garner more attention for a college or university. Having the right tools for promoting your brand online is essential for marketing success. To learn more about how your university can leverage remarkable content to connect with alumni, download our FREE EBook! 

University's Tool Kit for Launching a Remarkable Campaign

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