The Rio Olympics gave a strong opportunity for savvy brands to use social platforms to deliver compelling organic and paid content to their audiences.
And as the best higher education marketers know, digital activity - be that social content sharing, paying for more prominent listings on search engines, or display advertising - should play an integral part of their marketing and recruitment strategy.
Too often, digital marketing is seen as a discipline in its own right – rather than integrated activity used as part of the wider marketing and communications mix.
We believe brand activity sits hand-in-hand with recruitment of students, corporate clients and strengthening relationships with our alumni - and that’s where LinkedIn comes in…
The majority of you will be using LinkedIn, so here are some tips to get the most from your campaigns:
Let LinkedIn do the hard work
Use it as channel to connect your internal and external stakeholders – enabling you to communicate in a space where staff, potential students, current students, corporate clients and alumni interact with you and - importantly - each other.
Boost organic content by sponsoring
A carefully targeted content strategy is an essential ingredient in maximising LinkedIn campaigns.
Content can take the shape of blogs and media coverage from faculty - for instance, we’ve had recent success with commentary around the commercial opportunities presented by the Rio games.
Other ideas include promoting recruitment taster events, scholarship competitions, alumni success stories and video from guest speakers - so get experimenting!
If a particular organic post generates significant conversation, or you want to target a specific sector, consider amplifying it by paying for it to reach a wider audience.
Compelling brand content served as part of recruitment campaigns achieves the best results. We recently shared an animation about Manchester’s inspirational leaders – generating conversation across our core stakeholders and, importantly, a wider audience we wouldn’t ordinarily have reached which, in turn, helped our recruitment activity.
Segmenting and targeting specific audiences is music to the ears of all marketers - the ability to specify who a particular post goes to by drilling down by sector, geographic location or work experience is invaluable.
This has been especially useful for us in promoting our Vital Topics events series to the North West business community.
We look for a collaborative ethos from our strategic partners, enabling us to trial pilot products and technology. Working in beta environment helps continual improvement and embed original thinking in our campaigns.
Recent MBA recruitment campaigns have benefited from a combination of paid for activity running in tandem with organic and sponsored content posted from our LinkedIn company and education pages.
We’ve also developed a microsite embedded within the LinkedIn platform to help time-strapped prospective MBAs decide which of our products is right for them by using the information on their profiles.
The holy grail of marketing and communications continues to be accurate measurement of effectiveness.
A/B testing can be a clunky process - LinkedIn gives the agility to change copy and images in real time - helping you to improve future content.
Work with the LinkedIn Team to get detailed reporting on campaigns, helping you calculate an accurate cost per acquisition.
No single platform or tactic will ever be a marketing panacea. But by focusing on delivering an outstanding experience for all our stakeholders - we let them do the talking - platforms like LinkedIn provide an invaluable space for authentic conversation.
Kate McNamee is head of marketing and communications at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.