Keep Your “Class Of” Classmates Close
Alumni association departments across the nation and even throughout the world work hard to keep their graduates connected. And that’s for good reason, because often it’s alumni who are the most likely to donate when the university or college is in need of funds. But it’s not just about mailing out a mass of letters or indiscriminate email marketing anymore. Today, it’s about staying connected online, through social media, and making those all-important email marketing connections.
The typical college has thousands of living alumni. That’s a lot of potential connections! There are almost endless tools available alumni offices can use to keep their graduates not only connected, but engaged. The main thing to remember is that it’s not simply about making the connection. You should be actively engaging your audience if you want to see your alumni group blossom and grow.
The good news: no matter where you are in your alumni outreach, you likely still have room to grow.
Stay Connected Through Social Media
Any college alumni association that isn’t using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with, engage, and grow a following is most certainly missing out on keeping their alumni base active and encouraging donations. Since those two things are the most important components to building a community of loyal alumni, there’s simply no reason not to do it.
More than 90 percent of adults access social media at least once a month. Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to create groups dedicated to alumni outreach and engagement. In the tech era, some people prefer to stay connected through social media, and it’s up to alumni associations to catch on and harness that potential.
If you’re wondering what to post on your alumni page, we’re here to tell you the possibilities are literally endless. Of course, you don’t want to just have at it free-form.
Here are some great ideas to get you started:
- Most people, including alumni, love videos. Use that to your advantage. Post videos showcasing success stories of alumni whose hard work has really paid off, share tutorials on relevant subjects, or host webcasts of school-related events.
- Give your alumni the upper hand by searching and posting job openings relevant to popular majors in your university. Graduates will be eternally grateful if you provide help and guidance to advance their careers.
Picking Up the Pieces
Inevitably, some alumni may slip through the cracks of your marketing strategies, through no direct fault of the alumni network. At the end of the day, it’s up to the alumni association to figure out just how to reach out, contact and then connect with as many stragglers as humanly possible.
Facebook can be an incredibly convenient and helpful way to do this. For starters, their graph search allows you to search out graduates from your school, and from there you can send messages, request they like your page, or invite them to join a specific group you’ve created. In addition, you can run competitions or offer special discounts to newbie alumni who’ve just “liked” your page.
Segmented email marketing can also be a dream come true when trying to connect with unengaged alumni. This type of email marketing allows you to target your email to specific lists, such as those within a certain city or town, those who graduated in a particular year, or those who graduated with a specific degree. Not only is there a better transaction rate from personalized emails, but even thanking someone for joining your alumni email list results in a response rate that’s 15 times better than the norm.
The lesson here is simple: use social media and email marketing to your advantage when trying to build your alumni network. It’s prevalent and it’s effective, so get out there are start connecting.
But be careful! You certainly don’t want to appear as a stalker (gasp!) or annoy the very people you want to engage with.
Take the time to cater your approach to the people who matter the most: your alumni. Offer them information that’s helpful, and they will reward you by spreading the word about your school and being enthusiastic (unpaid) advocates.
Image via Shutterstock
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