Tag Archives: marketing

China’s Social Media Channels

Learn about the top social media channels and how to begin implementing a social media strategy to reach and recruit international students from China.
Presented at the 2014 Annual NAFSA conference.



Best Time to Post Facebook and Twitter Content

From: Raka Creative

6 Best Practices for Universities Embracing Social Media

Content from: Hubspot
Original article posted at Mashable

This article breaks down a few important tips to help educational institutions develop their social media strategy.

Their 6 point best practices are as follows:

1. Develop a Strategy and Set Goals

2. Pick and Choose Your Platforms

3. Empower and Support Individual Departments

4. Put Guidelines in Place

5. Develop a Consistent Voice Across Platforms

6. Communicate Across Campus

Some key take-aways from the article are to consider what audiences you’re attracting (prospective student vs. current student vs. alumni) and to choose your platforms accordingly.  There is also a lot to be said for choosing a few key platforms and providing a consistent presence on them rather than spreading your office too thin on every social network, but failing to provide regular content updates and engaging with the online community.

One of the biggest challenges we often face is communicating across departments within an institution. Many of our departments have different goals (obviously admissions is looking to recruit new students while the program offices are more focused on disseminating information to current students), but see if you are able to connect with one staff member within key departments across campus in an effort to unite on the social media front.

If even 4-5 departments band together it will generate a much stronger online presence, create a consistent voice (to Hubspot’s point #5), and increase your reach. This endeavor may take a significant time commitment upfront and may require quite a bit of scheduling to have some sit-down face-time meetings with department representatives.

In the beginning of this process you may find that the topic of social media does not even make it on the agenda. Be patient. Focus on relationship building and provide examples of how your office can support their department’s goals. Also keep in mind that many university officials didn’t grow up in the Web 2.0 generation, and still many think it is not important as an “official channel of communication.” Once you have developed their trust you can present your united social media concept and showcase how it will deliver benefits to their office, as well as yours. Think of this process as an investment that can provide long term benefits for the institution as a whole and ultimately greatly help with your recruitment and retention efforts.

Read the full article here

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Higher Education Social Media Strategy

Source: Fathom

Higher Education Social Media Strategy (PDF)

This is a helpful white paper on social media strategy specifically focused in the higher education field.
A few key take-aways:

  • Communication now often occurs in small bits of information posted online frequently; ” social media is perfect for posting snippets of information [on a daily basis] that would otherwise go ignored.”
  • People prefer personalities to brands, so have a real person behind your Facebook, blog and Twitter posts sharing their opinion and perspectives
  • Know your audience and choose your social networks based on who you are trying to reach and what information you want to share with them
  • Use social media as a vehicle to achieve your customer communication goals. Create a strategy that incorporates using social media to connect with your customers. Don’t just be online because “that’s what everyone is doing.” Have a plan of engagement and genuine interaction.

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How Twitter Can Increase Your Website Traffic

Twitter and microblogging have definitely been embraced at a much slower pace than some of the “full” social networks. The demographics of Twitter users are limited to fewer countries than ubiquitous sites like Facebook and YouTube and generally isn’t as popular among the higher education target market of 18-22. 

Yet microblogging can be very effective for blasting short messages of information as well as links to content on the web.  Since we all want to post on a variety of platforms to ensure our message is heard wherever our students might be virtually “hanging out” many people now use social network aggregators, such as TweetDeck or HootSuite, that allow a user to send one update to multiple social networks simultaneously.

At my institution we generally recruit students from Asia for undergraduate programs. This market is definitely not classified as a top user group amongst Twitter but I still find having a microblogging content stream to be very useful.

What we have done to take advantage of the Twitter platform, while not necessarily having hundreds of followers, is added our Twitter feed to our Video & Media website page.  Our IT department created a feed box that shows our 3 most recent tweets that appear on the page in chronological order. For basic search engine purposes this allows the content on this page to continually update and change, two keys to increasing hits to your page. This feed box feature allows realtime message updates (and active hyperlinks) on a static website.

Check out the screen shots below.

Content is King: Video & Viral Marketing for Recruitment Success

The following content is from our NAFSA 2011 annual conference presentation on video and viral marketing. 


Online video is a great way to:

  • Inform
  • Educate
  • Elucidate
  • Entertain

Students, who are now considered digital natives, expect to be simultaneously, informed and entertained. Video is a great way to make content dynamic and informative.

Some video content is inherently viral. In recent years there has been a huge increase in the production of “organic” video content. We define this as video shot on a small, handheld consumer device by a participant or active observer, then edited (or sometimes not) and loaded onto a social network or online video website. Several of our case study examples showcase videos that have naturally gone viral due to their fun and entertaining content (such as the lipdub that was created by UBC students). Yet there is an important place for the professional overview video featuring an institution and their programs & services.  These type of videos generally don’t go viral on their own as they are more serious in nature, focusing on informative content showcasing the institution. This was the case with our example of Coventry University. In this example we explain how a corporate campaign was created and implemented to increase viewership to over 50,000.


There are a distinct set of steps to getting a produced video viewed at a level that meets the aims and objectives of any campaign. These steps are as follows:

Stage 1:   ‘Social Network Leveraging’

  • Upload videos to all relevant video social networks
    • e.g. YouTube.com, MySpace.tv, Yahoo video, etc.
  • Once video is placed on these networks they need to be actively promoted across those social networks, also referred to as ‘on site marketed’
    • For example: YouTube allows for ‘video comment posts’ in response to other videos and ‘recommended related videos’
  • After the video has been posted on video sharing networks it should then be placed on the standard social networks that allow video uploading
    • e.g. Facebook
      • With promotion of the video to very specific groups of users

Stage 2:  Placement on Video partner sites and ‘syndication’

  • Video placement on web publishing sites and industry specific partner sites
    • e.g. internationalstudent.com, globalcampus.com
      • These sites allow embedded videos to drive traffic to their own sites
      • These partners are usually interested in hosting videos relevant to their audiences for free
  • The advantage of this type of video hosting is that a clickable overlay and syndication tools (‘embed in blog code’, ‘forward to a friend’, etc) is available
    • Audience can share with others using their own social network profiles
  • This type syndication is a vital element to the viral element to the campaign

Stage 3: Paid or free placement of your film

  • Placement on industry specific websites with high traffic and a strong user base to ensure wide exposure of the video
    • Approach relevant blogs/forums and portals
      • Paid placement is important
    • Current students should be encouraged to place the video on their own networks
      • Facebook, Twitter, personal blog
  • Extent of this stage of the campaign is dependent on the budget available
    • Positive results can be achieved with even a conservative of budget

Stage 4: Monitor results and take remedial action where required

  • The results of any video campaign should be monitored and, if required, further interventions may occur
    • Responding to video comments, re-posting, etc


  • In a 2010 report from Cisco, 30% of Internet traffic is currently video. By 2013, 90% of Internet traffic will be video.
  • According to ComScore Video Metrix, in February 2011 the total U.S. unique video viewers on the Internet was 169,646 with an average of 816.4 minutes per viewer.
  • U.S. online video consumers watched 4.3 hours worth of video on average in the month of June 2010
  • By 30 seconds into an online video up to 33% of viewers have moved on; at 1 minute 44% have left (regardless of the clip’s length) and almost 60% have abandoned by the 2 minute mark.
  • According to Visible Measure’s Matt Cutler, “if your online video campaign has 10 million viewers, 2 million of them saw less than 10 seconds of it. Ouch.
  • Video E-mail messages generate 2-3 X higher click-thru rates compared to static E-mails.
  • Roughly 66% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2014.
  • Catching the e-tail trend, 55% of online retailers used video on product pages in 2009 but this technique increased to 73% of retailers in 2010.
  • According to Internet Retailer, an April 2010 report stated that consumers who watch product videos are 85% more likely to buy products compared to those who do not watch.

Top Online Video Brands by Unique Viewers

Video Brand                                Unique Viewers (000)       % Change in Viewers
YouTube                                       111,860                                           3.6%
VEVO                                             33,253                                             3.0%
Facebook                                     31,885                                              0.6%
Yahoo!                                          26,016                                              11.1%
MSN/WindowsLive/Bing      15,972                                              7.1%
Hulu                                               12,315                                               3.7%
AOL Media Network               11,215                                                13.7%


  • YouTube holds about 40% of the online video audience each month
  • On YouTube, over 13 million hours of video was uploaded in 2010 and 35 hours of video was uploaded every minute. That is comparable to 150,000+ full-length movies
  • More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the 3 major U.S. networks produced in 60 years
  • Only 30% of YouTube traffic comes from within the U.S.
  • YouTube is confined in 25 countries including 43 languages


University of British Columbia
Type: Lipdub
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpp3quce1Vo

A Lip Dub is a type of video that combines lip syncing and audio dubbing to make a music video. It is made by filming individuals or a group of people lip syncing while listening to a song or any recorded audio then dubbing over it in post editing with the original audio of the song. Now very popular with University students who like to use Lip Dubs to showcase an institution in a fun and engaging manner.

Using a popular song the students dance and move around the university in various guises whilst lip syncing the words. This Lip Dub is longer than the usual type of its kind.

Why it is successful as a viral video:
Loaded on April 8, 2011. As of May 13th it has been viewed 1,055,017 times. Making it YouTubes: #39 – Most Viewed (May) – Entertainment – Global & #103 – Top ‘Favourited’ (May) – Global

That’s Why I Chose Yale
Type: Independent Collaboration | Current Student/Alumni in Admissions Office
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGn3-RW8Ajk

An introduction to undergraduate life at Yale College. The film is roughly 15 minutes in length, using the concept of a musical story to portray the experience of undergraduate studies at Yale University. The project was an independent collaboration between Yale undergraduates and recent alumni working in the admissions office. All filming, editing, and vocal recording was done on Yale’s campus exclusively by Yale students.
Over 900,000 views on YouTube

Why it is successful as a viral video:
The video was developed by current students and alumni so the message is one of heartfelt student testimonials rather than a stoic, professional video featuring university officials talking about the benefits of the institution. On the heels of popular films and television shows such as High School Musical and Glee this video uses a pop culture and student testimonial marketing approach to attract prospective students.  Due to the prestigious ivy-league brand, producing this type of video shows prospective students a more intimate, real perspective on the school featuring Yale students singing, and telling a story, about their experiences as a student at the world-renown institution.

University of Ohio
Type: FlashMob
Video Link: http://youtu.be/HDNOB6TnHSI

Students and staff break out into a choreographed dance routine to Don’t Stop Believin’ in the great hall of the new Ohio Union. The beginning of the video shows normal activity occurring in the Union building and then suddenly students come in from all directions to start dancing to what is obviously a pre-coordinated effort. By the end of the video students, faculty, the mascot and the institution president all join in on a celebration of the student body’s excitement about the institution.

Why it is successful as a viral video:
The video was developed by current students using the popular culture concept of flash mob. Ohio University students took the popular social concept and created a dance routine to music that was performed in their main student union space. The fact that even the institution’s president was involved shows that, while the concept was student driven, there was buy-in and support from even the highest level administration. Showing students that the president was willing to be a part of this further promoted school pride and unity. One YouTube comment even said: “Such awesome president you guys have there xD If we ask ours, she would prolly be like *what? nope, you cant do it*….. xD”

Coventry University
Type: Corporate Campaign
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=F34K3jGn_xc

Synopsis: Coventry University International Office had produced a good 5 minute promo film for the university to market itself to international audiences.  The film once completed was placed on the university website and left in a ‘set and forget’ situation. By the end of the first year it has been watched only 1000 c. times.  The University’s media agency (MJD) was tasked with making the number of viewings ‘increase dramatically’ in as short a space of time as possible.

The campaign plan and roll out:
In conjunction with a specialist film marketing company (Geocast), MJD developed the following solution:
The marketing of the Coventry international video was focused around four separate areas that generated increased visibility for the film across a varied array of viewers from around the world for a sustained period of time.
The four key areas of placement for the film were:

1.   Video social networks

2.   Blogs

3.   Partner websites

4.   Social network discussion boards

This film marketing or viral marketing plan ensured maximum exposure whilst maintaining exposure to a targeted audience. This is called NARROWCASTING not BROADCASTING and was in three distinct stages:

Stage 1: ‘Social network leveraging’.
Stage 2: Placement on Video partner sites
Stage 3: Paid placement of film

The entire campaign cost: £2850 ($4560)
The total (monitored) viewings by the end of the campaign was 51,000

Presented By:

Chris Price, PFL International

MacKenzie Hizon, Technology in International Education  | @mhizon | @intledtech

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Your Institution on Wikipedia


Most likely you’ve visited Wikipedia when searching for basic information on the web. It is one of the most visited sites on the Internet and has become successful in part due to the collaborative community development style of the content. Users create an account with Wikipedia and are free to edit information on any entry (assuming it’s accurate, sited when necessary, and relevant to the entry topic-or it will be taken down).

There are many people, especially in academia, who do not consider Wikipedia a credible source of information on a topic because the contributors may not be considered “experts.” Yet in this increasingly social world there is great value in collaborative information and putting the monitoring and editing privileges of that content into the hands of the users. While Wikipedia is usually not the most complete source on a topic it can provide an introduction and overview as well as external links to related content.

If you haven’t already looked up your institution on Wikipedia I can almost guarantee that a page already exists. It’s a very good idea that you visit your institution’s Wikipedia entry, if you haven’t done so already, to ensure the information posted is accurate. You can also add basic information, program offerings, demographics, and the official website address if it is not already included.

What you want to keep in mind is that you don’t add significant and specialized content especially if you are an official institutional representative. Wikipedia seeks for un-biased entries crowd-sourced from various users and does not appreciate officials from the organization adding marketing messages, slogans or any overtly promotional content to related pages.

It is said that Wikipedia actually monitors IP addresses for content contributors and if they see a large amount of content coming from a single user, or group of users on the same network, it sends a red flag to the developers.

Having said that, it is always important to monitor and manage the content related to your institutional brand and Wikipedia should definitely be considered part of your online portfolio presence.

Here’s a related article on this topic from eCampus News.


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