Alumni Engagement: The Power of UGC

    May 9, 2019 7:51:00 AM / by Phil Davidson

    Phil Davidson

    UGC: user generated content.

    It can be a powerful tool—when used right. Especially for your university, just think of ALL the great content that your students, faculty, staff, and alumni have created that showcase your university.

    Now ask yourself, “Have I been taking full advantage of this?” The beauty of UGC is that it can be incorporated into your university’s marketing, recruitment, student engagement, and, especially, alumni efforts. But the truth is, not all UGC is created equal.

    Looking for some concrete ideas how to makethe most out of your alumni’s UGC? Read on.

    What is UGC?

    First of all, what does this HQ UGC look like?

    • Videos
    • Photos
    • Alumni reviews and comments
    • Tweets from your alumns
    • Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn posts highlighting your programs or alumni experiences etc.

    The good stuff about UGC:

    • Saves you time, energy, and resources by reducing your content creation workload
    • Improves your reach and engagement
    • Improves your website engagement
    • Improves your SEO
    • Improves trust with your alumni
    • Provides meaning for alumni to connect and join your university community

    The not-so-good stuff about UGC:

    • Potential of poor/low quality content
    • Difficult to maintain brand identity consistency
    • Still need to build up an alumni community with UGC (a process in itself)
    • Because you can’t police content directly from users, it opens areas of concern for negative comments
    • Potential for legal issues…

    UGC and inbound

    When we talk about the inbound flywheel and the buyer (or in this case, alumni) journey, we know it consists of: attracting, engaging, and delighting our alumni with valuable, relevant, and timely content. What we don’t often relay is how to develop the content to get there, because, in all reality, that is up to you and your marketing team. We emphasize alumni personas exactly for this reason: because only you know how to best reach your alumni. However, we’ve always got a few tips to help you get started:

    • Attract:

    ASK for the content! And make it alumni centered. Hashtags are a great way to get people involved. Share the hashtag everywhere, #YourUniversityAlumni, provide guidelines, and get your alumni excited to be involved.

    • Engage:

    Use nostalgia as an engagement tool: What’s your university’s story? It’s a trick question because you shouldn’t be asking that question. You should be asking: what are my alumni’s stories? The more personalized and authentic your messaging, the more you will generate those “warm and fuzzy” feelings of nostalgia in your alumni.

    • Delight:

    Give your alumni a reason to contribute content. Yeah, prizes are always a good way to get people to participate—but, most of the time, there's only one winner. How do you ensure every one of your alumns are delighted? Interactions with your alumni is probably one of the easiest things you can do to delight them. Are you commenting back at them after they give a shout out?

    There you go, a few ways to maximize your alumni's UGC. You'll be attracting, engaging, and delighting them in no time. Want to learn more about your university and inbound? Download our FREE eBook today.

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    Topics: Innovation, Inbound Marketing, HigherEd, Social Media

    Phil Davidson

    Written by Phil Davidson

    I love my work because it’s been anything but boring. From providing design for an international seafood company, to creating work for a Big 12 University, I’ve had the chance to work in a variety of different industries and settings. My career has also granted me once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like watching a brain surgery and starting a beer soap company (don’t ask). But the best part? Having the opportunity to meet and work with countless creative minds over the past 17 years.

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