Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals, August 31, 2011
While there’s never a good time to slow down your marketing efforts, there are times when increasing your efforts can truly pay off. Now is such a time, says Sue Keever-Watts, founder of the Keever Group.
“When the economy is down, there’s much less ‘noise’ on campus,” Keever-Watts explains. “In other words, fewer companies are aggressively marketing; therefore, it’s a perfect time for companies to take a leadership position on campus.”
Here are three of Keever-Watts’ tips for boosting campus marketing and taking that leadership position in 2011-12:
- Tip #1: If you’re not already using social media, begin now—Remember, however, that social media isn’t a marketing campaign—it’s only a communication vehicle. You can use social media for many purposes, including the following:
- To find out what’s being said about you (or about a topic of interest to you—competitive intelligence)
- As a tool to get other people to spread the word about your company
- As a way to create dialogue with a highly targeted audience
- To test a concept or pilot an idea
- To improve your search engine visibility
- To get a message out quickly
- Tip #2: Instead of trying to reach the masses, look for ways to develop ongoing, one-on-one relationships—Creativity, along with good will and good intentions, costs little and yields a tremendous amount. Remember, what you say isn’t as important as how you make people feel. Begin by identifying your target audience (students, professors, association leaders, or career services professionals). Identify at least one opportunity for one-on-one interaction with each of your target audiences. Phone calls, personal letters or e-mails, sponsoring student group activities, and other non-traditional forms of communication work best. Social media does provide the opportunity for personal interaction, so look for ways to leverage it.
- Tip #3: Build networks and leverage them—Think of all the individuals who have a vested interest in your university relations program—interns, former interns, university alumni, and employees who are members of national associations (those that have campus chapters). Leverage them to identify talent and to promote your company on campus. Begin a pilot program targeting one of your network groups. Ask them to join the network, provide them with meaningful information, ask them for their opinions and ask them to refer qualified students. Start small and build.
“At one time, companies had the ability to define and communicate their employer brand,” Keever-Watts points out. “But, today, the power has shifted. Your employer brand isn’t about what you say. It’s about what others say about your company.”
With this in mind, what you do and how you make students (and other influencers) feel is key to developing a strong brand, she adds.
“Building networks and leveraging them to promote your brand is one of the best strategies to enhance word-of-mouth and ultimately, gain credibility among your target audience,” Keever-Watts says.