The new year is here, and advancement professionals like you are striving to find new, effective alumni engagement strategies.
We want to lend a helping hand, so we’ve done the background research for you. We looked at some important digital trends and have three advancement tactics to suggest.
Start a relevant podcast
Podcasts are digital audio shows that users can download and listen to on iPods and smartphones. They have existed since 2005, but have experienced a boom in popularity over the past few years. With smartphones now essential devices for most of your alumni, it’s easy for them to enjoy wherever they are. As such, just under ¼ of Americans reported listening to at least one podcast a month in 2017.
The average listener subscribes to six podcasts and downloads new episodes right to their devices. Many popular series discuss topics like business, technology, politics, sports, and entertainment, but the door is open for more personal topics like one’s alma mater. You could use your show to interview notable alumni, share school news, and discuss advancement projects that need support.
Starting a podcast takes just a couple of microphones, making it a very affordable way to engage a large portion of your alumni through a medium that keeps becoming growing.
Use Instagram Stories for alumni engagement
A lot of analysis has been done on the social platforms where you’re most likely to reach your alumni. More on that momentarily.
Social media is a rapidly evolving platform, and there is always a hot new opportunity to capture audiences. For example, visual content proves to be very effective and engaging. You may be hearing more and more about Snapchat’s usage, but there is a simpler opportunity to share videos and images with your alumni.
You’re most likely already using Instagram and may have built a big audience of former students and supporters there. If so, we have good news. Instagram Stories – the tool that lets users share a series of pictures or video clips - with their supporters is rapidly growing. While this may resemble Snapchat, this one Instagram feature averages 200 million viewers each month – more than Snapchat’s entire user base!
Any advancement department with an Instagram account can use Stories. You can share photos of campus landmarks, videos with students, professors and alumni, and a whole lot more. Unlike regular posts, which can disappear quickly from an Instagram timeline, Instagram Stories remain easy to view for several days.
Reach your alumni directly through LinkedIn messaging
As shown here, LinkedIn is seen as the best social network for alumni engagement. It’s popular with recent graduates, who do a lot more than just searching for jobs.
An analysis done at the end of 2017 showed how LinkedIn usage is evolving, particularly through instant messaging. Today, messaging with connections and seeking networking opportunities on the platform are proving even more popular than job searching.
This creates a great opportunity for advancement teams. You can create fantastic relationships with alumni by offering advice, suggesting new connections, and helping with job searches or other career challenges. Of course, when the time is right, you can also use the platform to request a donation to an ongoing campaign or project.
To get started, we put together 10 easy-to-use LinkedIn messaging templates for alumni engagement. Download them for free here: