Hootsuite: Revolutionizing Campus Engagement

Ryan Holmes, CEO, HootsuiteRyan Holmes, CEO It was Homecoming 2015. As a part of bringing together all the colleges, campuses, departments, and students, Terry Coniglio, Assistant Director-Public Relations and Marketing Communication, Georgia State University introduced hashtag #GSUnited label. Her aim was to keep the school spirit high as students shared Homecoming #GSUnited selfies and other content. “We have many different communication outlets, both online and print, but social media is the best way for us to tell our day-to-day story and show the university’s personality,” Terry notes. However, GSU’s social media was disorganized as each department, be it athletics or student influencers, operated as independent entities. The lack of cross-collaboration affected the students’ ability to experience great digital customer service. For instance, if a student reached out to GSU on Twitter, they might not consider all of the people and departments required as contributors to respond efficiently. Terry altered this scenario in close collaboration with Hootsuite—a provider of social relationship platform that executes social media strategies across any organization—by adding all customer-facing departments into one centralized platform. Hootsuite specializes in offering solutions that empower colleges and universities to use social media to drive enrolment and boost student engagement.

"Hootsuite is a social relationship platform built on the power of social media with a wide spectrum of social media marketing and management solutions"

With Hootsuite, it was easier for GSU to source great content and close the loop between the social, web, and the physical worlds. The University could follow general conversations and discover related content that might not have included #GSUnited. The net result showed an increased number of students coming to marquee events like Homecoming. While the previous year’s Homecoming event estimated 380 mentions, this campaign with Hootsuite showed 216 percent greater engagement, with over 1,200 mentions on social media. “Students loved their 15 minutes of fame,” says Terry. “We had hundreds of people tweeting us—all of which were displayed on the Homecoming website through the integration—as the implementation was wildly successful.”

The Journey

Today, with the world going digital, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are becoming channels for educational institutes to easily reach out to students and help them in choosing the perfect line of their interest or to better engage them. However, institutions are stuck with the silos of information flooding at a raging pace from these social streams to create their own valuable content and use it for brand promotion. To easily manage the torrent of information flowing through social media platforms from any software and mobile apps, Ryan Holmes, CEO, Hootsuite founded a solution for businesses. Hootsuite platform pictures a single screen with several columns of Twitter feeds, in addition to the notifications from LinkedIn and Facebook.

We are constantly monitoring what users seek and what technology allows, and we respond to the market accordingly

The inception of Hootsuite is no wager, but its incubation can be traced back to Holmes’ remarkable entrepreneurial journey. Holmes had an intense passion for computers, which led him to the Internet market and establish a company called Invoke Media—a web services and marketing company, that builds websites for clients and supports their marketing campaigns using social media. Having witnessed how social media is striding forward in the education arena to better engage students, Holmes built Hootsuite to offer interactive products to the educational institutions. Today, Hootsuite presents a unified social media platform for higher education and safeguards their brands with a unified strategy and a single voice. The company revolutionizes the student engagement journey right from attracting top talent to their institutions and engaging students to involving alumni for lifelong participation.

Engaging With the Right Content

Hootsuite’s avant-garde engagement solution increases enrollment applications by monitoring and engaging with prospects who are researching post-secondary options. As soon as an institution gets notified about an inquisitive search about their school, anyone in the team, in any region or department, they quickly respond to messages, mentions, and comments through a single dashboard. The engagement solution possesses the ability to analyze potential students that matter most to that institution and creates, imports, and shares lists of social influencers.

Moving a step ahead, the solution also responds to common questions or student requests by saving pre-approved and on-brand responses for future use. The platform is a mirror of the institution’s existing workflows, allowing students to view the posts that matter to them, ensuring responsive engagement and avoiding acknowledgement failures.

It is very important for institutions to create a surface that shows students or alumni to view the most relevant content. Hootsuite Publisher manages their entire social media content effectively, while safeguarding the brand’s reputation. It comprehensively deals with the institutions’ social content through a library of ready-to-publish messages and creative assets, targeting and sharing their posts and content with students based on location, language, and demographic details. Since, the content shared by the institutions is the first step toward creating a mass of followers, Hootsuite Publisher ensures that relevant content is posted with automatic content suggestions—alongside maintaining the integrity of the institution.

Intuitive Analytics Driving Engagement

Once the right content is delivered to the audience, it becomes highly essential for institutions to measure and share the impact of their social media efforts to channelize them accordingly for enhanced engagement. Hootsuite Analytics presents a clear and concise overview of the institutions’ key Facebook and Twitter activities with easy-to-understand visualizations. The solution easily constructs an immense number of real-time reports, called Boards, that measures the in-depth performance of the institutions’ Twitter and Facebook profiles. Accumulating these social media metrics together, Hootsuite Analytics custom reports them, which can be exported and shared with the respective management teams easily. The results can be then used to drive effective social contests and campaigns in a matter of minutes. Hootsuite Campaigns make it simple for institutions to use social media contests and campaigns to grow and engage their audience, build brand with user generated content, and spawn new revenue through social commerce.

Continuous Breakthrough

Social media is revolutionizing the way institutions engage with students— prospective, enrolled or alumni. “We are continually expanding our product offerings with business-specific social media tools and recent integrations with brands such as Constant Contact, Salesforce, and Zendesk,” says Holmes. “We are constantly monitoring what users seek and what technology allows, and we respond to the market accordingly.” The company is iterating rapidly, without getting caught up in the status quo, and continuously strides forward to innovate and improve the products for an effectively engaged student journey.

- Akanksha Mani
    January 30, 2017