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Marketing CE: Facebook Marketing Success (I Think)

Marketing CE | Facebook Marketing Success (I Think)
The most significant challenge continuing education marketers face when it comes to social media is showing that popularity online translates to enrollments and revenues for the unit.

Marketing with social media is still a developing process, but measuring success is becoming a bit easier. For me it means learning whether students enroll in our non-credit continuing education classes and/or think of our program in a positive light.

A gaggle of Twitter followers and a high number of ‘Likes’ on Facebook is great, but if none of those produce enrollments in our program, how do we show direct revenue coming from our new virtual friends? YouTube has a “monetization” feature, but with nearly 20,000 views on my videos, I’ve yet to see even a penny appear from them.

So how does a social media marketing strategy show success for a continuing education program?

1. Major Endorsements are Always Valuable

Keep in mind that as you review your friends and followers on social media, organizations are now delegating the role of social media manager to employees. So, although you might have an organization or company as your virtual friend, rarely will that friend produce direct revenue for you as a “butt in a seat”… unless you’re offering a social media marketing class!

However, the endorsement from a well-known brand in your industry might help to influence others to also follow you on social media. Don’t discount the power of association with social media, despite the claim a Facebook ‘Like’ or a Twitter ‘follow’ does not represent an official endorsement.

2. Focus on Providing Value for Clients

Put yourself in your prospective student’s place. Why are they looking for you on social media? Is it to get contact information? To keep up to date with new offerings? To get updates from your program or industry? To see if you mention them by name in your marketing?

When I look at social media feeds from organizations I work with, I look for offers or discounts and for news. I also visit to analyze their business operations. Job seekers and competitors are known to troll social media pages looking for tidbits they can use to their advantage. Keep your posts focused on advancing your brand and program goals and filter out information that distracts from these two goals.

3. Focus on your Neighborhood

If you’re like my continuing education program, which resides at a large public land-grant university, you have a focus on the local community as your area of service. You can enroll distant students via online programs, but your focus is primarily on the local community. When I see ‘Likes’ on our Facebook page from other geographical regions or countries, I appreciate the extra number, but I realize it most likely will not translate to any new enrollments for my program. This is one of the reasons ‘Likes’ cannot count as success for an institution.

My Facebook Marketing Success (I Think …)

Finally, my marketing success — I think — with Facebook. Roughly two years ago, I started a Facebook deal where we gave away a high-capacity (for the time) USB memory drive for every ‘check-in’ during a class.

This pushed students to advertise my program to their friends through word-of-mouth advertising and, in exchange, the student received a small item as a reward. The results have been fabulous; in the first year we had more than 100 check-ins — the limit on the deal — and this year I’ve had 55 to date.

How many USB drives have I handed out? Zero. Despite the check-in online, no one has come to the office to claim their USB drive (as indicated in the deal details) and no one has asked or mentioned it (that I can see) online. So the word-of-mouth advertising has worked out at a cost of a few clicks for us. Yet I really do want to hand out the USB drives — if only I could see who has been checking in.

What successes have you had or lessons have you learned with social media marketing for continuing education? Keep the conversation going below.

Marketing CE is an ongoing series where John DeLalla will discuss various strategies, both successful and unsuccessful, that have been implemented to creatively market continuing education.

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