Customer Service on Social Media: LIKE Your University

I read this interesting case study about Seton Hall University (SHU) in a post named: 12 digital and social media case study that proves customer service ROI. SHU is a private Roman Catholic university in New Jersey, United States. Like most private universities, the revenue of SHU relies on tuitions. That is, the more students apply, the higher the ROI. But how do you get students “Like” your university before they enroll?

SHU discovered that incoming freshmen get their first and lasting impression of a university by checking its Facebook page rather than official website. I bet you all know the next step they would take. Yes, SHU then gets actively involved in Facebook conversations to address students’ questions and concerns. And their effort is paid back.

2012 Undergraduate Open House

With more than 10,000 “likes” on their Facebook page, SHU is on the right track of student service. Recently they post on the Facebook wall a notice of undergraduate Open House activity. While current freshmen busy preparing for mid-term exams, university admission office has already started the spring semester enrollment. This is just the time to show incoming students around the campus, and timing is everything. Another take away from SHU’s case is the attitude to participate in social media customer service. Now it’s not a choice to integrate social media into existing customer service, but an irresistible trend. Further, multi-channel customer service works better than one-way traffic. On the top right of SHU’s website, there’s an icon called “social” with links to all the major social accounts.

My input to this case are some suggestions for SHU to continually improve customer service and increase its ROI. Managing social media takes time, a lot of time. Why not initiate a volunteer program to support online interaction? SHU could hire their own staff or students who have communication relevant background and want to get some real-time experience. Besides, if SHU also reaches to alumni and interact with successful graduates on a social network like LinkedIn, chances are high that the university can receive more alumni giving. Finally, always listen to what students and parents are saying, what customers want and what you can do to actually make that happen.

5 Key Points of Good Community Management

A flourishing community is not built in one day. People tend to join a community that will give them a sense of belonging, keep them informed and add value to their life. That’s exactly how I feel about NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development. Wasserman is a perfect example for addressing community management in terms of it builds an active community both online and offline.

1.    A Clear Subject

What is the community about? What is the core message of your organization? A clear subject serves as the identity of that particular community. It could be a goal like “NYU Wasserman provides students at all stages at their career the help they need.” The opposite situation of a clear subject is “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

2.    Be On Target

A common pitfall in managing social media communities is “the More the Merrier”. Actually, it is critical to differentiate your primary audience and others. For Wasserman, obviously, it focuses on NYU students. So when I asked to join Wasserman Center on LinkedIn, they required and confirmed my NYU e-mail address. This is a way to better allocate resources and achieve efficacy.

3.    Meaningful Engagement

With the first two points settled, it’s time to nurture the community relations via meaningful engagement. Wasserman, as I mentioned earlier, is proactive both online and offline. Aside from Wasserman Weekly emails, students can access Hot Job and special events updates on Wasserman’s Blog, Twitter account and Facebook page. Further, students could schedule a one-on-one career counseling and attend career fair to meet potential employers.

4.    Embrace Diversity

You can image a university like NYU is composed of students from all over the world. That’s why Wasserman organizes workshops specifically for international students, encourages them to give full play of their advantage and creates networking opportunities. They also provide different events for undergraduate students and graduate students, because diversity today has a much broader definition, including different education background. The point is community managers should respect diversity and customize messages accordingly.

5.    Keep Moving Ahead

NYU Wasserman recently launched a widget and mobile site as new channels for students to be informed. A small progress shows a big dedication. The ultimate goal for community managing is to build a mutually beneficial community. In this case, when we stand out in the job market, we bring honor to our school and career center as well.

Applebee’s Campaign: Use Social Media “Against” Social Media

With go-to case like Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, now corporations can count on social media to raise brand awareness. But does the recipe for going viral simply writes hilarious and provocative videos on YouTube? Apparently, Applebee’s multi-platform digital campaign this year missed some secret ingredients.

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This June, Applebee’s Lexington, Kentucky-based franchise and Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions conducted a “Life is Better Shared” campaign, highlighting a series of “Girl’s Night Out Goddess” YouTube video pseudo tutorials in which an abrasive woman poke fun of her female friend being online. Compared to Old Spice’s virality—6.7 million views in just 24 hours, the campaign of Applebee’s has turned out to be a controversial and limited-attention one (around 50,000 views). And Cornett had to make a statement clarifying that “We all know we spend a lot of time online. Our message is about balance.”

Still, they got some “Fantastic” reviews since they did something right. To start with, the content is original (although the idea of using fun video is not a fresh one) and entertaining. For seriously?” the Goddess would break in during the pseudo tutorials. It did bring me a good laughter when I heard something like “Are you seriously watching an online video about being online?” And the campaign is based on a survey on their Facebook page showing fewer females hang out with friends nowadays. Although the survey may not be very thorough or scientific, it is true that no great campaigns can be achieved without research on your target audience. Besides, it’s never a bad idea for corporations to outsource and hire a professional agency like Cornett.

However, Applebee’s failed to deliver a clear and convincing message mainly for two reasons. One is the use of confusing slogan, which caused many to argue we tend to share more online than offline. They didn’t bring the “balance of life” idea until they tried to appease viewers who are irritated by their condescending manner. This brings us to the second reason, which is how they said it. Audience would never like being judged, period.

It is tough to break the clutter in social media campaign for people won’t laugh at the same joke. And companies don’t want to go viral the other way, so we should always be careful of what we say and how we say it. Be creative, provocative, but not offensive.Image