Connection and collaboration are the most valuable tools for an admissions marketing team. When the aim of increasing enrollment combines with the goal of engaging alumni, you are connecting two sets of constituents and two departments in the university. While alumni relations departments often see fundraising as the primary goal of their efforts, engaging alumni more closely with the university by getting them involved with recruitment can support that goal nicely. And for the admissions team, more alumni stories and networking can only help bolster recruitment. In addition, getting alums involved is a terrific way to foster a positive wider community around your educational institution.
Alumni Stories Provide Narratives for Enrollment Marketing
One convincing way to market your institution is to tell stories that potential students can relate to and wish to emulate. There is no better story than that of a graduate who became successful in their field, realizing their dreams of using their education to land a good job and live their best life. Bringing alumni success stories to light on your website, social media, and live or live-streamed events can be powerful. Stories are more memorable than statistics, and the brain activity of people listening to a story starts to sync up with the storyteller. Hearing about the real-life journeys of graduates can be an excellent way for prospective students to relate to your institution on an emotional level.
A Portfolio of Alumni Volunteer Opportunities
Not all alumni have the time to show up to admissions recruiting events, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be a part of your team. Providing a wide range of options for alumni to participate gives more alumni a connection to your institution and your recruitment efforts. People love to feel that they are helping. When you ask alumni to do something as simple as share their stories in writing with prospective students or volunteer to talk to prospective students interested in their field, alumni can be more willing to pitch in a little bit of their time.
Cross-Functional Marketing Efforts
The organization of college departments is such that much of the marketing may now come out of the separate units, with alumni relations conducting their own marketing independent from the enrollment marketing team. Yet both departments have one compelling goal in common: increasing the reputation and reach of the institution. Teaming up to get the word out about your school can make it easier to reach a large audience. Admissions and alumni offices can combine budgets on more prominent advertising strategies to help both departments.
Social media is another way to work with alumni relations. Building the university’s brand with social media posts can be great for prospective students, but it can also be an engagement strategy that brings alumni voices to the fore. The more engaged an alumni community becomes, the more they may donate to the university, a boon to every department, including alumni relations. But the lively and positive interaction possible on social media can bring school spirit to another level. Social media can get news of campus events to alumni while also engaging them personally with the school. And social media is one more way to allow prospects to experience your school’s community so they will be more inclined to join by enrolling.
The Intersection of Alumni and Current or Prospective Students in the Career Center
Career resources and networking are great selling points of many universities. Once you graduate, you have peers who may be years ahead in their careers to help you find jobs and advance your own career. Many schools also offer career services to graduates as one of the perks of the institution, allowing them to utilize the career center for years after graduation.
While alumni networks can be a persuasive selling point for your school, you can also connect these benefits to your current and prospective students. In many fields, having an internship or summer job in the industry is not just beneficial but practically obligatory. For example, getting a good job is only possible in computer science if you have had an internship. So the career resource at your university can help current students to locate internships that will help them land a terrific position when they graduate. The career center can also be a resource to connect prospective students with on-campus or off-campus jobs that can help them to fund their education once they enroll. Connecting alumni networks to career support centers can increase the selling power of both to prospects.
Admissions Recruiting by Alumni
Of course, we cannot leave out the direct and personal ways that many schools leverage alumni in increasing enrollment: as ambassadors who spread the word about your institution. Alumni are some of the best people to talk up your university in their personal and professional networks, encouraging teens they know to consider your school as the perfect place to go to college. Some schools use alumni to interview prospective students or host information sessions in their homes. No matter how you involve your alumni in recruiting, whether as volunteers, career resources, or as part of the community that interacts on your school’s social media channels, they can be valuable assets that are worth their weight in gold.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your institution level up its digital marketing strategy.