Photo

The Results Are In!

We’re honored to receive the “The Unsung Hero” award for our community management practice of “Kicking it to the Community.” Last night, we were speechless to be among such talented and deserving social media pros.

Thank you to this year’s judges, fellow entrants, and most importantly - our students and alumni who make our thriving communities exceptional.

Text

Category: The Unsung Hero - Honors the community manager who has best used social media to grow, support and provide value to an online community.

Organization: Colorado Technical University
CTU Communities: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
Community Manager: Kristin Clifford

Kristin has implemented a number of community management practices - including “kicking” questions to the community, “boomerang dialogue”, an influencer recognition program, 12-hour monitoring 7 days a week, a set of social brand standards, and more - all to provide value and support our community members. The use of these practices keeps our communities thriving, healthy, and deepens relationships with our current students and alumni - all while demonstrating to aspiring students what they can expect at CTU.

Photo Set

How We Revolutionize the Education Experience

Social media allows CTU to serve students and alumni in ways other universities don’t - by being transparent and putting our reputation in the hands of our most important stakeholder: students.

Oftentimes, the most authentic voice is that of another person in your same position. This being the case, we never presume to answer a student’s question about the actual, in-the-trenches feeling of being in a certain course or taking a certain professor. That’s why we feel these questions are best answered when we amplify them to the community, so others can offer their honest insights from personal experience. 

For example, Amanda was feeling anxious about her Project Management Course, so we asked students to chime in with their own experiences.

Hearing from other students about their achievements, struggles, and solutions is motivating and helps students feel more secure and excited about tackling new challenges. 

Photo Set

Celebrating Student Achievements

Our students are high-reaching achievers, and are very proud of their success. We like to let them shine by reminding them periodically of how much they’ve accomplished. Emails are sent outlining specific achievements with a built-in social sharing component. 

When we’re tagged in the tweet (or mentioned) we amplify the tweets to the whole community and start a positive, motivating dialogue with each student.

It’s a great way to keep achievers motivated and let others outside the community know what we’re accomplishing.

Photo Set

Our fans are very active and we encourage them to show their pride and cheer each other on to achieve greatness. For example, whenever we have a graduation we post a congratulatory photo or text post, and encourage others to offer a word of encouragement. 

This results in a slew of positive comments and conversation about graduation, and motivates students who are working toward their degree.

We’ve also begun tweeting quotes from graduates using the hashtag #CTUgrad to highlight achievements on Twitter.

Photo Set

We want to motivate students by letting them visualize how far they’ve come. We celebrate how much can be accomplished in just a few weeks time through the use of metaphors. 

We do this to show the difference between where they were, and where they are now. It’s similar to how personal trainers motivate clients by visually showing them their weight loss. A client who has lost 5 lbs. may not feel like it’s a big accomplishment - until they look at 5 lbs. of butter in their shopping cart and realize what they’ve done.

 

 

Photo

Promoting Professional Advancement

One key function of CTU as a University is ensuring student success during their time here, and after. We want all our graduates to succeed and as such, we work to continually offer valuable career advice.

Our cyclical content plan includes all our important messaging high notes - and career advice and networking are an important part of that.

We frequently include posts about digital identity, LinkedIn best practices, and career services resources available to students.

Photo

We’re able to work with our Advising and Student Services team to provide the best support for our students. Through this combination of social media best practices and customer service, we’re able to identify students who are struggling or who simply desire more involvement from their advisor, and solve the problems proactively.

For example, Carol, a new student at CTU, posted to our Facebook wall about how she was excited, but a bit nervous. We engaged with her there and then noticed she was also following us on Twitter. Through responsiveness, and collaboration with our advising team, we helped Carol feel less nervous and more secure about starting. This can make all the different as far as keeping students engaged and on track to finish their degrees.

We also continued to check in with Carol after her start date to see how she was doing, and she appreciated the positive encouragement.

Photo
Handling Tough Questions - Head On
Joshua was encouraged by a campus president to ask this question. He received nearly 20 replies from credible sources – his peers – on how to defend his choice to study online. 
View Joshua’s post here, and see our post to the community here. This is another example of how we kick things out to the community to answer our fans. After all, sources like Nielsen  suggest that as many as 70% of people trust strangers over expert recommendations and traditional advertising.

Handling Tough Questions - Head On

Joshua was encouraged by a campus president to ask this question. He received nearly 20 replies from credible sources – his peers – on how to defend his choice to study online. 

View Joshua’s post here, and see our post to the community here. This is another example of how we kick things out to the community to answer our fans. After all, sources like Nielsen  suggest that as many as 70% of people trust strangers over expert recommendations and traditional advertising.

Photo Set

Responding to Detractors
We aspire to be transparent in all our interactions. When someone has a negative complaint, we acknowledge how they feel and respond with information or resources that can help them, while reminding them of our community atmosphere if necessary. We track frequent detractors and keep this in mind when responding to them, so as not to set them off.

Here, Debra makes a negative comment about the mentorship program, and we provide her with details about criteria in a polite manner, encouraging her to cheer along the selected mentor.

Trisha is upset that a beloved teacher has been let go. We empathized with her, and offered her an opportunity to discuss further, which she gladly accepted. 

Di was upset about CTU’s pop-up ads. The last thing we want to do is upset others with our marketing plans. Since Di was so bothered, we assisted her with some resources and steps she could take to remove ads from her Internet browsing experience.