I was recently invited to run a session at the Eastern Canada Leadership Retreat (ECLR) annual conference. The main goal of the conference is to bring business students together to network and learn from each other. I was invited as a student and to run a session on using social web tools to promote student councils and groups. My session was divided into these three sections: using the tools, listen and learn, and putting it all together. Here is a summary of what I talked about.
Using the Tools:
It is very important to utilize social web tools when promoting your council or group. One principle in marketing is that you have to go where the people are. With students, their main hangouts online are Facebook and Twitter. With the right tools and communication strategy, your website can become one of these hangouts too.
The first thing I showed the group was this slide:
I showed this because many students are still not aware of the potential that Facebook has for utilizing their already existing networks. But there are rules. Using Facebook as a promotion platform can be a tricky thing. You shouldn’t just start inviting everyone you know to your Facebook page and send them updates if it’s not relevant to them. You have to be careful and find your target market; is the content relevant to them, or is it just another way to get your crops fertilized, if you know what I mean.
After you have established your target market, the next step is to grow your network. Luckily there are many ways to do this. One method that I have found to be very effective is giving stuff away. You can turn your communication strategy into experiential marketing by giving away your product or service. Let people try out what you’re selling and let them talk about you.
A creative way to get traffic on your Facebook page is to tell people to upload their best pictures from the last event you hosted and then share them with their friends. The picture that receives the most “Likes” will be deemed the winner and will receive a prize. This will encourage engagement on your page and will show you the best pictures to post on your website.
Last thing to remember with Facebook is to communicate with your members on a consistent basis. Marketing is no longer a one way conversation; members of your network will engage you in conversation if you let them.
Similar to the first section, I introduced Twitter with this slide:
Twitter is not only people talking about irrelevant events that occur throughout the day, it is also filled with experts and interesting people that love to share entertaining and valuable content. Even though Twitter does not have the adoption rate among students that Facebook has, it can still be an effective tool for providing your members with quick, efficient updates. It’s a great tool for connecting with potential partners for your council or club.
Another benefit of using Twitter is the knowledge you can gain by following the right people. By mining the right conversations and listening to influential people you can aggregate valuable information and pass it on to your followers. By sharing this information you are providing valuable content to your followers, which encourages them to stick around and listen to what you have to say.