Understanding the increased use of social media by education institutions, to not only market a university and its courses, but to actively aid student recruitment, Aston University wanted to move beyond a traditional, corporate image – to one that encompasses a modern, exciting university – but which also works to achieve the overall goals of the business. Social Media Manager, Jordan Muckley, joined the business in 2016 as part of the University’s strategy to realise the full potential of social media.
Getting to grips with how social media channels could impact several aspects of the business, Jordan worked on a strategy to shift the focus away from sharing predominantly research and academic information on social media, to a new, data-driven content marketing strategy. This centered on storytelling and providing authentic content to its main target audience, that addressed the needs of all stakeholders, including staff and current and prospective students.
Fostering a new social media culture at the University is a long-term ambition, but a solid foundation has been set, based on data and collaboration. Co-operation from various departments was needed to provide a steady stream of engaging content, which also identified the need to invest in authenticity and advocacy, over quantity. In order to do this, a series of internal workshops and educational pieces were undertaken to overcome any uncertainty about the role social media could play.
To create a digital presence that was firmly in touch with their target audience, Aston University created a team of Digital Ambassadors, delivering genuine authenticity, warmth and a student voice to their channels. The team focuses on creating vlogs, takeovers, blogs and much more to develop relationships that act as ‘activators’ in the student journey. As well as this, Jordan envisioned transforming the University’s social media accounts into functioning customer service tools, allowing current and prospective students to have their queries answered – and even be offered a place on a course via Clearing.
Jordan said; “To manage the new social media strategy successfully, Aston University needed a complete social media management platform to underpin cross-departmental social activity and inform our new, data-driven strategy. Aston University’s social media requirements included increasing engagement, demonstrating ROI and quickly producing accurate and detailed reports for all the social media channels. The SocialSignIn platform has delivered this, but also facilitated a way to meet multiple-stakeholder needs, while always being informed by data.”
Since using SocialSignIn, Aston University has noticed that their customer service response times have dropped significantly whilst experiencing a higher volume of inbound messages, particularly from international audiences. This is down to a number of factors, including using digital ads as a prompt to engage students in spaces such as Facebook Messenger, rather than clicking straight onto the website.
SocialSignIn has allowed them to track students across their social journey and is able to serve relevant content and the appropriate time, feeding into a much better digital experience than before.
SocialSignIn has helped Aston University to project their bold new brand and added value to the student journey by connecting students with Digital Ambassadors and allowing them to engage in authentic, personal conversations – ultimately increasing engagement and student numbers.
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