Staying in touch with alumni and keeping them involved is an important part of any school’s community relations. When happy alumni are an active part of a school’s image it makes everything from fundraising events to new student relations that much easier.
With so many social media and communication tools available to everyone, creating and maintaining real and vibrant connections with past alumni is not optional. It’s an essential part of showing the value that your institution holds for its students, both while they are attending and long after they’ve gone on to successful careers.
The key is producing content that speaks to and inspires your alumni as well as effectively promoting that content so that it is seen and shared by students past, present, and future.
First, Create Personas For Your Alumni
One of the most effective ways to find the right type of content for any audience is to simply put yourself in their shoes. Think about the interests of past and present students. Answer some basic questions and you’ll start to form an image of the people you want to reach with your content.
- What do they need from the school?
- What will they need when they move on?
- What age are the majority of the most active graduates?
- Where do most past and present students live?
- What are their most common occupations?
- What activities or hobbies are they most likely involved with?
- Are they more likely to listen to 20 minute podcasts or read 2 minute articles?
Content is king, data is queen. So when you have those personas ready, it will be much easier to structure your content production and messaging. The more specific you can be, the more effective you will be. Initiatives like surveys, looking at social media mentions, and platforms analytic section as well as other data sources will help you zero in on your target(s). Follow all the data trails you can find and use it to your advantage.
Highlight Alumni Accomplishments And Talents
It’s no secret that people like talking about themselves. The same holds true for groups. Past students will love to see what their peers and current students are doing with their education and their lives.
Creating content that shows off special accomplishments or talents—or better yet, letting alumni submit their own, with what we called user-generated content gets everyone interested and engaged. Even if it’s not about them personally, alumni will be more likely to consume and share content about their former schoolmates.
Share University News
Alumni, without a doubt, love to see that their alma mater is not just alive and well, but showing continued growth and relevance. Let them know when there is something to celebrate or remember.
Most graduates love to see the name of their school up in lights for events such as:
- The university team won a championship
- Images showing the opening of a new hall or theatre
- The school ranks among the top 5 in the country
- Former students doing great things
- Or even just happy holiday greetings
Again, these types of announcements also give them the opportunity to show off their pride by pushing your content out to their friends on their own social media accounts.
Create Personalized Email Messages
It’s all too easy to blast out generic emails to everyone on the alumni list. This isn’t a very effective strategy, though. It won’t take long before your generic greetings are seen as just another of a thousand mailing list messages that get archived, never opened and never to be seen again.
An industrial designer, for example, probably isn’t going to have much interest in a generic message about a networking luncheon with a subject that says something like “Come mingle with your fellow design graduates”. A message and subject that offers a “Unique networking event for our top industrial design graduates”, however, would get a completely different reaction.
Maintain Engagement On Social Media
Social media makes it easy for real conversations to happen between the school, the students and the alumni. It's also incredibly easy for their users to share the things they like with their own friends and inner circle, giving more credibility to your content as well as expanding its reach. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you should be taking advantage of all of them.
Having a community platform that can pair user accounts with the major social platforms will help to leverage your social media efforts.
Hopefully, with these pieces of advice, you won't be stuck anymore when the time will come to build your content calendar!
Hivebrite is a leading provider of branded community management platforms and helps all size institutions grow and engage their community - Feel free to visit us or request a demo if you would like to know more.