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Episode 19—Game-Changing Digital Marketing, Part 3



 

Today, Jay continues a conversation with Tori Canonge, Director of Social and Influencer Strategies at enrollmentFUEL. Tori is a veteran in social media marketing and in particular, creating, managing and delivering effective social media campaigns.

This episode is the third in our Game-Changing Digital Marketing series, where we talk more in-depth about the use of social media in strategic recruitment plans.

Tori and Jay talk through the use of various social media platforms, content management, social media calendars and the use of different channels to reach very different and highly elusive audiences like Gen Z. We’ll also address the newest policy change that will impact Facebook and Instagram advertisers. The rules and best practices for marketing on Social Media platforms are always changing – and that’s why insights from experts like Tori are in such high demand.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Jay Fedje: Welcome to the Enrollment Edge Podcast for college enrollment and marketing leaders. I'm your host Jay Fedje, Enrollment Edge is sponsored by enrollmentFUEL, a trusted full-service student search and marketing partner to colleges and universities across the country. If you'd like to learn more about enrollment tool services, or you have questions about today's episode, we've included a link to our website in the show notes. You can also email us at edge@enrollmentfuel.com. We'd love to hear what you think. If you can, help us by subscribing to our podcast, sharing it with your friends and leaving a five-star review on Apple podcasts.

[00:00:30] Jay Fedje: On today's Enrollment Edge, I continue a conversation with Tori Canonge Director of Social and Influencer Strategies at enrollmentFUEL. Tori is a veteran of social media marketing in particular creating, managing, and delivering effective social media campaigns. This episode is the third in our series on digital marketing and we'll talk more in-depth about the use of social media and strategic recruitment plans. Tori and I walked through the various uses of social media platforms, content management, social media calendars, and the use of different channels to reach very different and highly elusive audiences like Gen Z. We'll also address the newest policy change that impacts Facebook and Instagram advertisers. The rules and best practices for marketing on social media platforms seem to always be changing and that's why insights from experts like Tori are in such high demand. Tori welcome back to the Enrollment Edge, we're glad to have you again, we're talking to Tori Canonge, she is enrollmentFUEL's guru of social media, social influencer campaigns, anything in that space of digital use and how to use social media and we're going to talk to her today and in our third part of our digital series on social media. Tori welcome back to the Enrollment Edge.

[00:01:10] Tori Canonge: Thanks Jay, I'm so excited to be back, get to talk digital again and I feel like since the last time we talked, things have already changed in the space, so it'll be great to dive into that today.

[00:01:18] Jay Fedje: We're gonna talk about that so just a teaser for later, the Facebook change. We're gonna talk about that, unpack that. I think that there's a number of folks that are in the business that looked at that and went, our hands are tied now or we're not gonna be able to do what we want to do, and I think you've got some calming messages about that, so we'll get to that. We're talking about in many ways focusing on our digital messages or digital conversation on social media and the use of social media and we were talking just a minute ago about how I think enrollment leaders feel they've got a handle on their marketing they understand channels they understand the messages and yet there's these channels, these platforms, and social media that I think are a bit confounding to a lot of enrollment folks. We were in a conversation recently with some folks that, there were going in one direction, and we pulled them back and maybe suggested a different direction we'll talk some more about that as well, but in terms of social media and its usage, I just read a Digital Commerce 360 report that said 72% of people that they surveyed reported increasing their social media consumption during the pandemic. 72% increased their social media consumption and it wasn't just scrolling around willy nilly, probably like more like I do, but 43% of them said they were posting more content, family, friends, staying in touch with folks because of the separation so new habits were being built, new pathways and messaging and conversations are being built and that is notable because it seems like one of the harder things to nail down is the fact that social media is changing constantly, and I talked about this a minute ago. I'm so glad for professionals like you, that are keeping their hands around this really crazy part of the marketing business that we're in that is always changing, and times are constantly changing. Schools are trying to get their hands around it, but the generations, the messaging to the generations, the platforms you use to capture the audience is constantly changing but first before we as we get started here, I want to talk about how colleges look at capturing audiences, the older audience, and younger audiences. I'm going to talk about Gen Z for a minute. Gen Z can we get their attention? Their attention is less than eight seconds now, according to some research and saying, how do you capture the attention of someone that has an attention span that is shorter than a goldfish. How in that space, how does a college capture that attention? Can you talk a bit about what in terms of effective ways that schools can use the information to try to get in front of Gen Z and capture that elusive attention of that particular audience, that generation?

[00:04:21] Tori Canonge: So, I love that you brought up the attention span because I think as we continue on in this path of social media overtaking the world, I wouldn't be surprised if that decreases to six seconds in the coming years. They're very much a short video generation now so we're seeing that they're watching two times more video on their mobile devices than any other generation, including the millennials and, I'm a millennial. When I went to college, I had Facebook, but it wasn't to the extent of what we have today like I actually have stopped downloading any more social media apps I'll look at them, but I'm like, I'm not downloading anymore because it's overtaking my phone, but Gen Z, they're so active on TikTok and Snapchat, and it's because they can really just get bite-size information there. So, these are very short videos although you can run them up to, I guess it's three minutes now on TikTok, most videos are kept around 15 seconds cause people know they're going to lose that attention span and even more importantly is the call to action that a lot of schools are doing so many would place it at the end of a video or, bury it somewhere. Whereas now like that call to action needs to be placed really early on in the video in order to grab the attention of Gen Z. They're very smart so if you're on TikTok and you see a bunch of people, posting their videos, you're scrolling through, and then all of a sudden you scroll up and an ad pops up and its text and you have that text overlay, immediately they're going to know that's an ad and they're going to switch off. So, it's figuring out how can we blend this end, still be an ad, but make it look like it organically fits in TikTok or Snapchat and I think that's where a lot of schools and brands in general are struggling its very much a thing where you have to think outside the box, get creative and start utilizing your own student base to reach that generation, cause they know them best.

[00:06:13] Jay Fedje: The phrase that comes to mind I read it a number of places, content consumers, and I think that enrollment managers, marketers for colleges don't love to think of their audiences as consumers, but they are, when you're putting something out there, you mentioned TikTok, and I want to talk about TikTok for a minute. When you're putting something out there in the TikTok space people are consuming that content and so not only does that content need to be constantly changing and managed, but it needs to be engaging in some ways. TikTok needs to be either fun or controversial or something, but a lot of enrollment managers and marketers within the higher ed space have been hesitant to go into TikTok, is it a scary area, is it a scary platform? What do you think is the reason they avoid it?

[00:07:00] Tori Canonge: I think so many got used to just, Facebook being like the end all be all to social media and now Gen Z sees that as outdated they're on Instagram, but they're usually on Instagram reels, which would be comparable to TikTok, and I think it really does just feel intimidating because they know they're going to have to put out videos that are fun. That definitely are way different than anything they've done in the past and it forces them to let their walls down and show parts of the campus or student life that they probably haven't shown elsewhere before. It's not like you're having a professional videographer come in here and take these videos, it's student perspective potentially faculty perspective and it's also not one of those methods where it's really easy to get a lead from. So, we know Gen Z is very hesitant to click on things or fill out forms, which, Jay is why we preach forensically generation, I feel like so much around enrollmentFUEL. These students they're browsing through these sites and in fact, they're spending over 24 hours each month on this content, which is now more than YouTube, YouTube was the boss for a decade and now they've been unseated. I think the hesitancy is really going to have to start being pushed aside and schools are going to have to start being active on TikTok because that's where it's happening. That's where students are going to learn more about campus life and what the school experience really truly is because a picture can't do that. I can look at a picture and say, oh, this looks nice, but if I actually watch a video of it, I can actually feel it and I could feel the excitement and I have that emotional connection but ultimately, yeah, creative freedom is a scary thing. It's a scary thing to give up. It's a scary thing to give students, but I think that's where a lot of that hesitancy is knowing the schools that kind of have a little bit more traditional methods or approaches are going to have to start lightening up a little bit, I guess you could say and, adding some flair to what they're normally used to.

[00:08:57] Jay Fedje: I don't think, honestly, I think that I, we hear that fear. We hear the fear of we can't be quirky because we're such a serious school. We can't be funny in that space, showing too much humor or showing a silliness in that space is the exact opposite, the antithesis we want to make sure that we are on brand and on brand messages, rigorous academics, but it takes a great deal of creativity because selling rigorous academics to the 16 or 17 or 18 year old is probably the toughest job in the world and you gotta be able to find a way to twist that or turn that or present that in a way that someone wants to consume that wants to gather that information so that they think about you in that space. We recently talked about a social media re review that you had done and I was overwhelmed with it to be honest with you, it was a school you'd worked with and I was overwhelmed with each platform had its own unique strategy they all had to have a different plan and going back to that, I thought, my gosh, how many people are going to be needed to execute a social media, strategic recruitment plan in that space, it felt like I needed a platoon of content, I need a manager over it that understood the whole thing. I look at the TikTok and Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube and Snapchat and Pinterest, I'm just naming them and then there's the newer versions that are out there that kind of sitting there, the WeChats and the Reddits that have a lot of potential that maybe are going to be finding their way into this too, talk more about how a school can plan realistically, to handle multiple audiences within multiple platforms in the social media space.

[00:10:59] Tori Canonge: So, I think it's important to think about what your bandwidth is internally first. If you know that you don't have a dedicated social media team or, somebody in marketing that can do this full time, you're going to have to pick and choose which platforms you want to focus on and typically you're going to choose the ones where you want to target students. So right now, TikTok should probably be top of list just because these students are going to learn more about schools. Facebook is actually very low on the list I think the last study I read was less than 20% of students are actually going to Facebook to learn about schools. So, I would say right now, if you're a school out there, you're trying to figure out your social media strategy TikTok should be up there 100%

[00:11:42] Jay Fedje: To get at that student directly, Facebook is for a different audience.

[00:11:46] Tori Canonge: Facebook's great for like alumni, current students, if you have adult and grad programs parents are great. Jay, I want to mention really quick just based on the last question you said sharing facts, in a way that makes sense. I think I've seen a lot of TikTok videos lately where it'll be a person and then they point around the screen and like different facts pop up about the school. It's not like you have to lose those parts of who you are as an institution, but just put a creative spin on it. So that, like you said, it's easily digestible, for the audience you're trying to reach in regard to the social media audit. When I was going through it, I forget how much I actually am in all these channels on a daily basis and the unfortunate reality is I think a lot of schools will say, oh, we're running a digital marketing campaign that's all we need to do, but you can very clearly see these blips in the radar when those are happening and then all activity just falls off. What we really want to see is a little bit more consistency on the organic content to supplement, your advertising efforts, because if you're not doing that, if you're not posting, then the digital marketing efforts are only going to work for that set amount of time and then what, there's no fresh content for students to digest or parents to take in and that's a really big piece of the puzzle that I think a lot of schools are missing.

[00:13:06] Jay Fedje: This is an audio podcast, but my fingers are going way up and way down and way up and way down, because I saw what you were talking about and that is two things really are impressed upon me with that reality and that is it's impactful when a school drops their social media messages and that moment in that space activity goes up, web activity goes up, activity to that social media site goes up, so they gain momentum and engagement and attraction. So, the reality is when you look at the number of users and engagers the number of impressions it actually is working, but then the reality check is if you don't continue to do something, you have this giant high and then dropped to nothing and then up and then down, and then you have this huge roller coaster, right? So that begs, the situation where you have to have a continuous plan to level that out, right?

[00:14:00] Tori Canonge: I think that's where having like a content calendar, something simple, like that comes into play. If you're very, short-staffed like even posting once a week is totally fine and on the video platforms, you don't even need to post that much. YouTube could be once a month, YouTube is a lot more search engine optimization anyway, you really want to do quality there it's not about how many you can push out in a week or whatever. Assessing a plan, like meeting where you're at, but making sure you're consistent with it don't post two days in a row and then wait 10 days to post again. If you're not going to have that every Monday, this post is going now that's 52 posts for the year. You can schedule it out on Hootsuite even a Facebook scheduler or whatever it is and then if you want, you could also say every two weeks is when we post a TikTok video on Wednesdays and I think just establishing that schedule with a team and knowing who's in charge of creating the content and then publishing it can be a great starting point for most schools to start on and at least gets you flowing in the direction of how do we develop a social media strategy because if you're not having an organic social media strategy you're going to be behind and I think we've honestly starting to see a little bit like the schools that aren't as active on these platforms who aren't utilizing them to their full potential are starting to notice other schools are taking our students I can't say at 100%, but my guess is people are seeing on social media, the excitement from these other schools and not getting that same feel and then they're choosing the one Hey, I've seen them a lot more on social media this is where I want to be.

[00:15:38] Jay Fedje: I'm glad you brought that up, the calendar to me is absolutely the cornerstone of how all this comes together to the center of the wheel and the spokes go from there, but you have to be able to manage that. You talk about social media and having that calendar but if a school wasn't doing anything, so school X was doing nothing intentionally on any social media platform. They still have a social media presence, right, because maybe athletics is throwing out the scores, or the video highlights and the athletic department is putting something out there because of their sport, but it's not across all sports. It's just the volleyball team, because they've got somebody on their team that does video work or it gets it that's a social media presence and you may have students that are doing that as well, they're posting out there, their videos or their content about their school. Some of it may not be good. Some of it may be harmful or some of them may not be very flattering to the school, but that's a social media presence. So, if a school is doing nothing, that doesn't mean that they don't have a presence.

[00:16:43] Tori Canonge: The unfortunate thing is if you don't have that process and you're losing control over the quality, it can actually hinder you a lot more than not having a social media presence. Which is where we don't want to go that's why I think having those eyes on it is so important. I was gonna throw out just an idea that came to my head if you have like a marketing advertising type of program, at your institution, connect with one of the professors and actually have their students like do a project around creating a social media, like plan or social media content for the month and you could get permission to repurpose that content or reuse it and, that's a great way of utilizing your student base. It helps them learn and it also takes some of the weight off y'all so that you can have direction in where to go for social media.

[00:17:33] Jay Fedje: That's a really great point that if I'm building a social media content team, I want a storyteller in that I want a copywriter, I want somebody that's going to help build the copy for some of these, I need somebody that can visually pull things together. I need someone that has some design background and then I need somebody that understands how these platforms work and how to target my messages, target my design because they have different audiences. LinkedIn audience is significantly different than a TikTok audience, the demographics for those two are, completely night and day, right?

[00:18:10] Tori Canonge: They're polar opposites and I think you hit the nail on the head. There's so many different roles in social media, and that's why I always encouraged schools to use your students and student assistants, because they all have different talents that, your team may not specialize in and they're in the know, I guess you could say with what's going on and all you have to do is review their content when they submit it, it's not some crazy elaborate process needs to go on. Let them be free to figure it out and to try new things and I think people will be surprised if they do take that approach and see what their students can come up with because it doesn't just have to be from your staff. It's great if you can meet with even a group of students on a regular basis and get feedback from them, what would you change about our social media, did you check out our social media before you came. I think what's going to set apart a lot of schools is, are you utilizing your student base in your social media efforts to truly understand what's going on and how content can be created to be relative?

[00:19:11] Jay Fedje: Let's switch gears, we teased this at the beginning because there were some changes that, that recently came about that affect both Facebook and Instagram. Can you talk a bit about that more and how that's impacting schools and maybe a reality check of kind of the significance of the impact, because I think there's some fear around that?

[00:19:29] Tori Canonge: So, I would say first of all, Facebook has been known to make changes a lot over the years. I've been doing this for over seven years at this point, and I'm literally never surprised when a Facebook update comes out, but what it does give us indication to is other platforms might be changing their policies in the future as well. Facebook, a lot of times is the head honcho in starting these things so just keep that in mind, as you listen to what has changed, because you may need to alter your marketing strategies moving forward if any of these other companies do decide to change. So, what Facebook and that includes Instagram since they're one in the same has done is they've banned the ability to detail target anybody under the age of 18 there's no workarounds for this. They've blocked it off on the backend you can't create ads that are promoted to this unless you only target age, gender, and location.

[00:20:23] Jay Fedje: So, talking about detailed targets, pretend I don't know anything about that. So, what does detailed target mean?

[00:20:28] Tori Canonge: So, this is going to include like interests, students interested in gaming or do they live in a household that's in the top 20% income in the us. This also includes your name buy lists, which I know is going to be a hurtful one for a lot of the schools out there because any of those students that are under the age of 18, you cannot target to that list anymore. So, what we've seen though, the good news is parents do tend to be the most active on Facebook so adjusting your messaging to target parents and talk to them directly is one of the biggest strategies we're recommending. It's important to include parents in the conversations anyway, a lot of them are actually telling their students about these schools and saying, hey you should check this one out. This looks like a great school. I want to say though specifically for sophomore and junior campaigns, it's important to step back for a second and think about, okay. If I want to target these students what are my options. So, you could do Snapchat, which right now they haven't turned off any targeting. You can upload a list there, but you'd need to match at least a thousand accounts and you'll want to create a video that attracts students in, so your messaging is going to be a lot more limited you're going to need to have some creativity there. Another option is you can continue to target age, gender, and location, what you can do with location is you can put in zip codes or cities that are from your name by list and potentially reach students that way, but you could also do influencer marketing, which is something I always love to plug because then you don't have to worry about lists or anything to launch that type of campaign and you can still reach a variety of students there so there are some workarounds. I think a lot of higher education institutions need to start talking to parents directly on social media and balancing out their messaging. It's going to be a change going forward for a lot of people and figuring out their com flows and how they're gonna approach this change, but ultimately, I'd say don't panic just know, social media is always changing, and this is just another change we're going to have to deal with until the next one comes in probably three months, to be honest.

[00:22:35] Jay Fedje: Yeah. It's it seems like it's about a quarterly change in directions or limitations or, the rules seem to change affecting a targeted list so that's the difference? It doesn't mean that a 17-year-old can't find her 16-year-old can't find your Facebook page or your Instagram posts or whatever its just targeting messages to that list, that's the limitation.

[00:22:54] Tori Canonge: I think this ties back to why having an organic social media presence is still important because if they're not necessarily seeing your ads as much they still might be landing on your social media accounts and they definitely need to see some fresh content there and call to actions and, the excitement going on around campus anything that should be more of a driving factor to be like, yes, we need to get started on a social media strategy.

[00:23:19] Jay Fedje: I'm going to want to pull apart content a little bit. We've been in conversations about content and the delivery of content and what is most appropriate of content in different spaces. One of those spaces you just mentioned that is influencer campaigns and using an influencer campaign on social media to drive content, drive engagement, drive brand recognition. Talk more about how schools might be able to utilize for a variety of audiences not just the Gen Z, how does content build a message to an adult or graduate program, talk more about how schools are able to utilize influencer campaigns to really focus attention and drive engagement to their programs.

[00:24:05] Tori Canonge: I think the great thing about influencers there's so many avenues you can take the emotional story, finding your students who maybe were ended up at the school because they got a scholarship, and they can talk about what a difference that made in their life. You're adult and grad students, they could share their story of how this has launched them into a new career that they've always dreamed of after, they struggled to get maybe through their bachelor's degree, and they could focus in on a specific program that they're a part of. I think using alumni they're super helpful as well specifically if they target on LinkedIn, a lot of people are looking for grad programs on LinkedIn is what we've seen, has a very strong platform they could even write a blog post if they had it and tie in there. Another avenue is just having the fun approach where you could hire influencers from your school they show their favorite parts around campus, or a day in the life of a student at this college or university or take a day with me and walk around and see what I do and I just think there's so many ways, like if you can just sit there and think creatively outside the box, or even ask the influencer, you're interested in working with Hey, do you have ideas for how you could best showcase us and what you enjoy? The options are really endless, and I think the key there is just allow that creative freedom so that it comes across as genuine and authentic. I know we talked a lot about that on our first podcast, just making sure, if you're going to work with an influencer, know that they're the ones that know their audience and they know what they're going to respond to best.

[00:25:35] Jay Fedje: I was listening to you recently talk about followers that followership has its benefits has its limitations has its liabilities. There, there may be an influencer in the roll call that has one point or two point or whatever million, people and I think folks like me would look at that in our eyes we start to spin, and we'd go, oh, we got to get them on board, but that may not be the best strategy.

[00:26:06] Tori Canonge: It's funny. I feel like anytime I hear that anymore, I just sit here and I'm like yeah, okay, can you tell me a little bit more about, why they would be good for the campaign other than their numbers? What we noticed is nano influencers who are like your ones with 5,000 or less followers. Some vary in regard to how many they would say a nano influencer has but let's call it 5,000. Their engagement is over like 7% usually when you start to get up to the millions of followers, you're talking like 1%, but what they lose out on is those direct connections with their followers. So, these people aren't necessarily talking to their followers via DM's they're not having those open conversations and I think there's a little bit of trust that gets lost in that process. Whereas your micro influencers, your nano influencers, they're going to be having those conversations and people know, hey, if they're talking about this right, they genuinely mean it. The other thing too, that I want to point out is I believe on Instagram, they said anywhere between 55 to 65% of users have had fake follower activity and fraudulent activity and celebrities are the worst for it they rank highest, about two thirds of celebrities have bot activity or fake followers so just because they have 1 million, 2 million, you have no idea how many of those are actually credible followers.

[00:27:33] Jay Fedje: You have a very sneaky way to uncover some potential red flags on that you look at some of the responses, the comments, and you talked about it just simply emojis of being, and that might be a red flag too, right?

[00:27:49] Tori Canonge: So what we see is there's a lot of different tools we can use, but keep in mind, technology only goes so far Instagram's API is private, so we can't just always scrape whatever data they have on the backend but what we can see is if somebody has like a sponsored post and they're getting a thousand likes, but every other post is getting like 200, that's a red flag it's telling me they're either exchanging likes on this post so that they get more engagements or they've purposely hired people to go like this post. Like you mentioned, having just emojis, like that doesn't mean anything it's not a value. Those aren't the comments we're looking for our clients. So yeah, having a human eye on that and knowing hey, this looks a little fishy. I need to dive in a little bit more. What I like to do is I don't just like to immediately go to conclusions, I'll say, hey, can you send me a screenshot of your audience insights? I just want to see, your location, your follower growth, whatever. If you notice their follower growth chart is like way up one day and then way down, that's indication that they could have bought followers, or they had connected with a bot account of some sort. There's a lot of methods. Honestly, I have my ref course coming up it's gonna be all influencer marketing. I do a whole section on vetting influencers and fraudulent activity because it's rampant in this space, doesn't mean you have to be impacted by it, but it's definitely good to be educated and know what to look out for.

[00:29:17] Jay Fedje: You mentioned Rev is the enrollmentFUEL training program I'm really glad that you're going to be doing something on social media and influencers and so forth because I think we probably don't get more questions about any other topic than this one, this one is, it feels somewhat understood but not completely and because of that there's so much to, to talk through and answer and address in this space. We're talking to Tori Canonge Director of Social and Influencer Strategies at enrollmentFUEL and one of the things Tori that you brought up is content, part of content is copywriting and creating a video, there's levels of accepted video production so some in some platforms, something off your smartphone is perfectly acceptable. In fact, you wouldn't want anything more produced than that. In other platforms, other spaces you'd want something highly produced. One of the commonalities, I think for all of those is there's different levels and different styles of copywriting for that so you have to have folks that are really able to write copy for those spaces and can you talk more about the complexity of copywriting within those channels?

[00:30:30] Tori Canonge: So, an overarching one that I always like to hit on is just having a clear and strong call to action and making sure it's early in your post and placed, throughout if it's a longer post. So, an example I see a lot are applications are still open, super generic okay, great where do I go when’s the deadline? So, what I like to say is come conquer your career goals with us submit your application before July 1st by clicking here so I'm giving them an action to commit. I'm saying when their deadline is, and I'm saying, here's the link to do this. We don't want to assume that people just know what's expected of them a hard deadline can create that sense of urgency and it's going to be done on any channel. So, if you're on YouTube, you could say, okay, right now, I want you to subscribe to this channel and influencers will do that on YouTube or if it's TikTok say hey, I want you to go check out, our school's TikTok page go give them a follow. So, you're saying like exactly what you want them to do applications obviously we covered that's really easy to put in the caption or at the beginning and end of a video on Facebook. Another thing I always say is hit a pain point or make an emotional connection because that's going to draw whoever you're talking to and make them feel like, hey, I have a personal connection to this now I'm drawn in, along the lines of personalization even outside of social media is making sure your emails and letters are speaking directly to your students or whoever you're talking to because Gen Z has been shown in studies that they want to be talked to directly and that's every platform, every method of communication and if we're not doing that, we're really missing out on an opportunity to draw them in and show them like hey, we care about you as a person.

[00:32:19] Jay Fedje: Also get their name right, I recall my youngest son as he was in the college search, he's got a name that can be changed and shortened and lengthened and anybody that got it wrong, he wrote them off immediately you don't know me you're not personal and so the trigger for so many to move ahead to stay interested is so fragile. You talked about deadlines, we know that deadlines can motivate some people, but they can de-motivate others they can create a sense of urgency or can create a sense of panic and there's, there are a lot of students in this Gen Z category that aren't motivated by deadlines they're motivated by the carrot, not the stick. They want to be rewarded for meeting a deadline so that copy for that audience is so much different. You get it in now and you get this, get it in by the date and then you get this.

[00:33:18] Tori Canonge: I also think to if you're a school who is very rigorous in what you're offering, then if somebody is not going to stick to a deadline, then you might not want that type of student anyway so you can use it as like a weeding out tool as well. I know a lot of students will say, okay, yeah, I applied early because I get my admissions decision earlier. That's enough motivation for them to be like, yeah this is why I want to apply by this date. Whereas others, it might be priority housing, getting to sign up for orientation, all these different things it doesn't have to be anything elaborate you can just motivate them with what you're already going to do and just put that into your copy, and I think that can also go in with highlighting key statistics or offerings that you have. So, if you have a really high rate of students receiving financial aid, like that's a motivating factor to get in by a deadline so that you continue that and say we have money to give you, but we need you to apply by this date.

[00:34:12] Jay Fedje: Early on in the conversation, you talked about forensic lead generation it's something that enrollmentFUEL uses all the time but underneath that there's an operational methodology. So, what we're talking about in many ways is these promotional tactics on social media that are messages that are going out they're being sent from a platform that they're sitting on in many cases to an audience or to a list, but for the organic folks, the folks that just happen upon this or follow us or are reviewing our content within a space and they move to do something with us. They see an ad on Instagram, and they click on that ad and what happens next is critical isn't it, what happens next is critically important to gathering information on leads and that really has as a place on landing pages, right? The landing page is so important at that point to not deviate from the message too much, but to gather data.

[00:35:19] Tori Canonge: You pretty much have one chance. I feel like with Gen Z, it's like the moment they click, it's okay, if they're not drawn in right away you could be sunk in the water. Even before landing page copy making sure, you have a very quick load time and that you're optimized on mobile are the two biggest things from a technical standpoint. I was looking at a school and I looked at their page and they're like, we don't understand like why, people aren't converting and I'm like have you pulled it up on mobile? We did, there was a huge white box at the top and the text was buried and I'm like, it looks like the page hasn't loaded, but it did it's just, they had that blank space, and their content wasn't optimized for mobile. I'm like, this is why you're missing out on all of these people, because the form is not right there. There's not colors and branding and like a tagline or something that really makes them feel like, yes, I need to give them my email and name. I have to know what's next, and that's really what it is if you look at your landing page and you're like, it has a form, it looks great that's not good enough. It's got to draw them in and say, I absolutely have to give them that my information to know what's going to happen next.

[00:36:32] Jay Fedje: One of the things you bring up such a good point on this. I'm going to, I'm pulling up my mobile phone right now. So, one of the things is it has to be, it has to render properly on mobile and most designers or conceivers of the design are doing it on a laptop. So, they're creating that content in the space that's not how the consumer then eventually sees it. The other thing I think I want to talk a minute about is what are we asking them to give us I'm going to date myself. Back in the day we would go to college fairs we'd have these little cards, and we'd say here, give us some information and they'd come by and give the information. I remember there was a point in time when we had to take social security numbers, on the little tell me more cards. Gen Z would think, this is a scam right here. We asked them on these, even these little cards, the RFI forms or request for information forms, we'd ask them a lot of questions. We'd ask them to give us a lot of information and that's not best practice. Gen Z, what is a best practice amount of data that we really should be requiring and then there's probably data that we could ask them, but we don't require it.

[00:37:42] Tori Canonge: That's a multi-step approach with gathering all the information you need with them. I go back to thinking about their attention span being eight seconds. What can they type in eight seconds, their first name, their last name, and their email? That's really like the basic ones and this is where I'm seeing a lot of forms going, it's literally first name, last name, email students do not want to give over their phone numbers anymore because they're getting blasted and they don't want to have a conversation with anybody on the phone right now and they could just ignore your email, click on it if they want to click on it and if a student's willing to give you that information okay, great. Let's get them into an email comm flow and try and get more information than at some point. So then eventually with trust being built, then you can get their phone number. Then you can figure out what major they're interested in. I know some schools really want to get all that information up front. I think it's okay to ask what year are you graduating? Just so you can put them into the right comm flow, but aside from that name, email, and then graduation year. I would avoid putting much more on there because, you want to build that trust first, and then you can figure out the rest later.

[00:38:50] Jay Fedje: We've talked about CRM in the past because CRM has to be able to take data bites, little bits of data crumb a lot like this idea of a forensic, a forensic scientist is putting together the little pieces of data to create a lead. You can't ask them too much because they'll just walk away. If you ask them their home address, if you ask them too much about themselves right away that's too much information, I'm a high consumer of news I'm a consumer, I'm a newsaholic and I'll admit that right away, but my threshold for whether I go forward and go backward is if they ask me more information. So, if I'm on a news source, a newspaper or a blog or a podcast or something, and they're saying, tell me more about you that's it I'm out I want to be able to go in, get my content and leave. If they asked me a first name and an email, if I'm really interested in them, then I might do that but that's not that much different from a consumer perspective from that 17- or 18-year-old saying, yeah, that's a lot of information and I don't want to give that to you because we're not in that relationship yet.

[00:39:54] Tori Canonge: It's funny. I'm in my thirties and I feel like I've adopted that from Gen Z because I'm like, I used to give my phone number now I'm like, no I don't want to give my phone number it's transpired to everybody because everybody's so sick of robocalls. We all ignore people calling us most of the time anyway anymore, but what I want to really ask our listeners is if you're thinking about your landing page right now are you so stuck on getting those fields ahead of time, because you want to save yourself some work later and miss out on leads or are you willing to take the extra steps later on, but get more leads now and I think that really is the question, because if you're willing to put in that extra work later, you could end up with a lot more leads by making that landing page easier to digest and input than getting so hung up on two form fields that you're like, sorry, I have to have a phone number and you just missed out on 50 students.

[00:40:48] Jay Fedje: I think that brings up a tremendously important point in that is there's a lot of enrollment managers that have a definition of a lead. The definition of a lead is someone who's filled out a bunch of information and it says tell me more and click submit and anything beyond that is, is suspect is soft is, and they are completely out of touch with this consumer audience that gives partial data, partial information and that it's up to the enrollment manager to be able to gather that data and pull it together to say, okay, now I know more than it's just mollysoccergirl105@gmail and that's the only thing I know, I have to be able to use that and not just write Molly off and say I can't send anything to her because she's not that serious. She's serious enough to give you mollysoccergirl105@gmail and that's serious enough.

[00:41:46] Tori Canonge: I think that's why it's important to have a specific comm flow for those people and being like, okay let's really feel this person out. Are they going to open this email? Are they going to click on this? Because now we know if they're clicking multiple times. This is somebody who's a serious inquiry. Maybe we should have our admissions counselor, reach out with a personal message and say, hey, I'd love to chat with you more, and then maybe you can get that phone number or have them fill out another form at that point, but at least then they've established that trust in you and saying, okay, like this school is not over bombarding me they really seem interested in me as a student. Yeah, I'm willing to give them more information.

[00:42:23] Jay Fedje: It's micro trust, it's not the whole, it's not the whole let’s have a student and university relationship, I'm going to trust you with just this amount and then trust you with just a little bit more and a little bit more, but it's up to the enrollment offices to be able to gather that and use what they do get and not write it off as being soft or unimportant.

[00:42:44] Tori Canonge: I think it's important too, to have that internal scoring system or like determining, like you really think is serious, but there needs to be measures in place for taking all of these seriously and like you said, Jay, because that's going to be the majority of leads I think from here on out, is people just wanting to give that information? Are there still people willing to get phone numbers, yes but, I really think a lot of schools are missing out on so many potential leads just because of that one form field and yes, it's extra work and I'm sorry that it's extra work and I feel like that's just where we're at with marketing. We're going to have to do a little bit more groundwork to get these students and forensically generation definitely isn't easy it's not the easiest method, but it's, what's shown to be working right now.

[00:43:27] Jay Fedje: It's the reality and graduate and adult programs have been doing it for years because there's not less to buy, they don't have the place to go. I'm gonna gather all of these students right here and then I will send my recruitment messages to them. They have to gather them in bites anyway., I think that's something that social media really lends itself well to in a recruitment strategy to capture all different ages of our audience, which I think is back to the point, this is incredibly important for schools, not only to address, but become very proficient at. Schools need to be able to have strategies and tactics and plans that incorporate all social media platforms or the appropriate social media platforms in order to really drive audiences and specific audience messages.

[00:44:16] Tori Canonge: I think the biggest takeaway that I want to just leave everybody with is your homework assignment for the week is go check out your school, social media account, even if you're not in charge of it and really do an honest evaluation, even if it's just one account and say, are we posting consistently? Is this something, Gen Z would relate to and what's one thing, just one thing we can do today to make this better and that can start the train to try and build this process up a little bit more.

[00:44:45] Jay Fedje: So, we're going to run out of time my last thought is this, I just did a Rev course on marketing and my last module of that course was knowing your competition and so not only say go out there and do your social media research on your own school, take your five competitors, what are they doing on social media? And are they doing it that much better? Take those different platforms and then say, okay where does that school land and how did they come up? What are they doing? Because if we're not doing it right, taking ideas from your competition is perfectly okay but if you don't, you understand they're eating your lunch and you have to keep up with it. If there's more of a motivator than your competition is beating, you I don't know what it is. I think normal people are competitors and they just have to be able to know what's going on. Tori thank you so much for being here this is just part three in the digital series, but we're going to be doing more of these and again, as things change, we're going to constantly be updating this. Tori, thank you so much today for being here, it’s great having you.

[00:45:52] Tori Canonge: Yeah, thanks Jay looking forward to the next one.

[00:45:56] Jay Fedje: You've been listening to the third episode in our series on digital marketing with guest Tori Canonge. Tori will be teaching a virtual workshop on influencer marketing for enrollmentFUEL's training series called Rev beginning November 1st, 2021. You can check it out and sign up at training.enrollmentFUEL.com. Please join me again in two weeks when we'll dive into yet another hot topic for college enrollment and marketing leaders.

[00:46:10] Jay Fedje: You've been listening to the Enrollment Edge Podcast. Enrollment Edge is sponsored by enrollmentFUEL, a full-service student search and marketing partner to colleges and universities. If you're listening on Apple podcast, please give us a five-star rating and review, your feedback will help us remain relevant and on the edge. The Enrollment Edge is produced by Alison Walls, I'm your host Jay Fedje. Thanks for listening.