From education to employment

Are your ears burning? How to monitor your brand online

As you read this article, someone is talking about your College online, whether it is about joining in September, how they’re finding the application process, standards of teaching, your Ofsted results or even the course trips you offer. Through learning what is being said, who’s saying it and where they are saying it, you can not only understand and engage with your audience but also make important lateral marketing decisions and speak to your key influencers.

In this digital age, glowing praise and disgruntled feedback are launched into the public domain at lightning speed. Keeping an eye on what is being said enables you to deal with both positive and negative feedback immediately – thanking people for their great feedback is just as important as addressing disparaging comments from less-than-satisfied customers. Make sure you shout about all the great stuff and get the good news circulated, but also address complaints quickly and professionally to present a positive view of your College.

By now, you probably have a strategy for engagement on Facebook and Twitter, with crisis cover and selected administration duties for response management. You will also be monitoring and measuring your print press coverage. This is one piece of a huge pie – to manage your reputation it’s also important to know what is being said across the entire web, in blogs, forums, comments on news sites and all social networks. Your audience is talking about a whole range of topics in these public online spaces that determine peer (both student and parent) feedback and opinion – opinions that are noted when prospective students are deciding where to take their learning next.

Your Ofsted results period is a particularly crucial time for ensuring you have strategies in place for answering and dealing with customer complaints, questions or issues on the web as well as ensuring that good news stories are getting the exposure that they deserve. The results of inspections are no longer contained within parent/student/college relationships, but are easily accessible online and are available for public consumption and dissection, so make sure you are involved in the discussion! Your reputation strategies will come into play not only during such inevitable events in your calendar, but also if your College is rebranding or merging, if you’ve recently appointed a new principal or spokesperson or simply as you monitor your ongoing social media efforts. Understanding your audience’s reaction to changes and development in real time will prove invaluable as you tailor your communication and response management processes to what is actually being said. Your reputation lies in the hands of your public – and your public is social.

How do you manage your online brand? We currently monitor and measure our own and a range of clients brands, competitors and key services. At Net Natives we believe that building your College’s reputation is as important online as it is offline – why not take a look at who is talking about you on the internet today.

Steve Evans is founder of Net Natives, the social media marketing and facebook advertising agency

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