Alumni can be powerful brand ambassadors for your college or university, and are a direct extension of your institution’s values and voice in the community. But are you utilizing them enough to accentuate your education branding? A recent report from Alumni Access found that 85% of alumni in a professional field believe that universities and colleges are coming up short when it comes to engaging alumni—particularly those of the younger generation. So here are a few ways to engage with and use alumni to build your brand.
Find Your Ambassadors
To avoid alienating your alumni, ensure you are targeting the right people with the right message via a CRM that integrates information across departments. This not only allows tracking, but can help you personalize your communications for a greater response rate than a one-size-fits-all approach. This personalization is important because according to Educase, “of students who received personalized communications, 87 percent said that those communications were an important factor in their enrollment decision.” Then, reaching out to alumni with a personalized message via a survey—both active and lapsed—can provide your team with key insights about which alumni are most prone to engagement. Prioritize the most promising respondents to become part of an ambassador program with the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge with you and potential students.
Share Your Alumnus’ Success
Whether they’re an ambassador or lifelong fan of your institution, proud alumni are happy to speak glowingly about their college years. And it means more to your potential students if it comes from your alumni. As DMI found, millennials trust user-generated content 50% more than other media, and 86% report that it’s a good indication of the product. So asking for and then highlighting key alumni success stories across newsletters, social and collateral can not only serve as great testimonials for your institution, but can also rekindle relationships with past alumni who may want to but don’t know where to share their successes.
Organize Meet Ups
While social media, and especially LinkedIn, are a great way to connect with alumni, there is no substitute for relationship building through in-person contact. And this goes well beyond reunions. Organizing alumni travel groups, interest groups, community causes, inviting alumni to judge competitions, meet ups based on areas of study and even guest speaking roles are all great ways to reconnect with and reengage alumni.
Make a Lifelong Partnership
According to Educase, the key to alumni engagement is relationship building. And keeping your alumni informed can help foster a lifelong partnership with graduates, college and university leaders—ultimately leading to countless opportunities to advance your programs. Just as we’ve noted before “An updated alumnus is an engaged alumnus. So provide them with consistent and fresh content that keeps them in the loop with their alma mater and then invites them to share their resources such as their time, career insight, pro tips from their time as a student and more.”
For more on how Push can help with your education marketing efforts, contact us or here or call 407-841-2299.