The City London University has been using social strategies to restructure the formal way of education, trying to adopt a more diverse and innovative method to communicate with alumnus and teachers (Condie & Livingston, 2007). Despite their small social media department, the university adopted a more intensive use of social media and managed to create a successful marketing campaign that consequently attracted more students to their installations. City Univeristy of London is well established university with more than
On analyzing the case in more detail, it was clearly noticed how the principles of the four C’s (Wummer, 2013), content, conversations, community and connections, were largely applied. The idea was to use these four C’s in order to achieve the most important goals and attend the various necessities of institution through online communication.
Goals and planning overview
The principal goals related by the administrators of the university were to increase the number of quality applicators, create an excellent student service platform, frame an engaging relationship with students and establish an online voice to represent the institution online.
By following the principle of the receiver is an active processor of incoming information Donovan’s (2010). They esteemed not only a superior user related relationship among their own community of students, but also expected workers and teachers to participate in this initiative, by delivering their own content such as pictures, videos and documents for instance.
Another important and fundamental principle is to identify the right type of audience (current students and potential new ones) Donovan’s (2010) and create specific and personalized content for each of them. This leads us to a third social media principle silt listed by Donovan’s (2010) which includes formative research of these segmented audiences and pre test the different ways to approach them. Additionally, they searched for opportunities to enhance student experience, positioning the institution as committed to the academic environment in different aspects, by showcasing projects such as internal researches and generating content that impact students in their personal lives. Besides that, they used social networks to conduct customer service in order to support unhappy or inquisitive students with their claims. Consequently, the aim of their social media strategy was not only to create opportunities to attract new students but also retain the interest of the current ones. (McClure, 2013). As a result, they could encourage new students to feel welcomed and comfortable to participate in online interactions. This also leaded to more confidence in physical interactions once they have the opportunity to interact with colleagues online. The idea is to help them to more comfortable with the atmosphere of the university (Galindo, Bogran Meling, Mundy, & Kupczynski, 2012).
On her book, Social Media Principles and applications, PHD Pavica Sheldon says “Chen and Bryer (2012) explored the use of social media among faculty in the discipline of public administration in the United States. Instructors in their study perceived that the informal learning using social media could be integrated into a formal learning environment. Faculty believed that students could exercise their creativity by using images, videos, and audios.” (Sheldon Pavica, 2015, p.84)
Applying this very same principle, the university carried a very successful contest, a photography competition on diverse social media channels, to encourage and inspire students to take their own pictures. Which also brings us to the sixth principle of social media: “use multiple delivery channels and multiple sources” (Donovan, 2010)
It is interesting to observe how this tactic covers the emotional aspect of marketing communication (Flemming Hansen & Sverre R. Christensen, 2007). While providing true images of students enjoying themselves in the academic environment, potential new students would perceive a more positive image of the university, which could position the institution in a better place when compared with other ones. From the educational and social perspective, still on her book, PHD Pavica Sheldon complements “Chen and Bryer (2012) conclude that faculty should experiment with social media, and institutions should facilitate such experimentation.” (Sheldon Pavica, 2015, p.84) This encouraged students to share inspiring images of the campus the its facilities, events, selfies, in a way that helped the university to promote the life and culture of the university. They created the hashtag #CityPhoto14, which was very well accepted and received over 100 entries. As accordingly to (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012), it is a good idea to create a space where students and teachers collaborate to each other, through an online venue, and enrich their social media channels with their own content.
Key Points Of The Strategy – Action PLan
Students showcased pictures and videos of various campuses activities, including academic seminars, social events, #CityPhoto14 contents and similar postings;
There was a significant investment on a positive visual content, highly charged by good emotions, quotes, always featuring not only campus life academic information and blogs;
The social media team also keeps attention on the seasonal necessity of the university. When it is time for enrollment for example, they answer questions and publish enrollment related content;
The social media team consistently posts fresh content and search for opportunities of conversations outside the social channels of the university (comments on related blogs, posts on forums, for example);
They are also involved on event creating and coverage through social media. One very important point is to maintain the consistency and adapt each strategy accordingly the occasion;
More than events, announcements, and contests, information plays a great hole as well. They publish not only information, but also various other specific topics related to the personal necessities of the students and working team.
Accomplishments acquired By The City Of London Social Media Campaigns
Accordingly, to the social media team of the the City University London, the results of their social media campaign strategy exceeded their expectations.
Increase on their Facebook and Twitter fans and engagement
Its Facebook Page had a significant growth of 71% in one year time
Use social to deliver announcements and diverse messages about the university, events and spread news
Many students involved to the #CityPhoto14 social photo contest
Brought a new social media management to place that saved time and resources
Built a more active and engaged community of students
The campaign helped the university with visibility and they are also noticing an increase of students after their new way of communication.