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How to keep your college social and visible over Christmas

We all deserve a break over the festive period, but – as this time of year enjoys the highest rate of online traffic – it also makes perfect sense to be putting some extra effort into engaging with your student audience as they shop, share and socialise online.

Christmas is Facebook’s busiest time, so make sure you’re as visible as ever (if not more so) during the festive season.  Here are Net Natives ‘Top 10 Tips’ for making sure your students don’t feel ignored as soon as the mince pies appear…

1. Use a tool like HootSuite to schedule a post to go out at least every other day and ensure they are posted to the relevant networks. However, it’s best not to use this for Facebook: if you use a third party platform to schedule your Facebook posts, its EdgeRank algorithm will recognise this and reduce your post’s priority in your audience’s news feeds

2. Instead, use Facebook’s scheduled posts function to post updates to your Facebook fans. Take a look at our blog post about how to make great use of this brilliant feature

3. Gear your content towards the festivities, as it’s more likely to resonate with those already full of seasonal cheer. Share videos or websites and keep it fun – reminding your students of their back-to-college date will not get shared and sent around the digital airwaves. Why not take advantage of the cheery mood by creating a Facebook Competition App for increased engagement and to collect important data?

4. If you do use a tool like HootSuite, you can also use it as a research tool. Set up your columns before you leave for Christmas for easy checking during the break and to make sure you don’t miss out on any news or comments. Establish search columns about your College or events coming up in the New Year so you’re in the know. You can use Google Alerts in the same way

5. It’s tempting to not deal with problems in the haze and hubbub of the holiday, but returning in January to negative feedback and unhappy students is not the best way to kick off the New Year. Instead, create a Facebook Customer Service App and provide a dedicated space for them to ask and find answers to their questions. Create answers that cover the itinerary for the first day back, when exam results or coursework feedback can be expected and opening times for your hair salon or library. We did this for G4S during London 2012 and, predictably, it got quite a lot of traffic..!

6. Bear in mind that disgruntled customers do take to social media first to report problems, but do let everyone know that the College will be closed at times during the break and there may therefore be delays in answering queries. Find out more about providing great customer service on social by reading our blog post

7. With your students spending even more of their spare time on Facebook over the break, make sure they see your products and services promoted through targeted social advertising. If you offer adult courses, think about those considering studying as part of their New Year’s Resolutions and advertise your January starts towards them.

8. “Keep warm” any potential students who have applied recently to minimise drop off during the Christmas break – remind them why you’re so great and why they should want to be a part of your College

9. Remember too that this is a great time for advertising across retail sites now consumers conduct the bulk of their present-buying online. Advertise on Gumtree, Ebay and across the Google Display Network for maximum exposure

10. Finally, enjoy yourself – it’s the only time of the year when you can eat and drink so much it hurts and nobody bats an eyelid. And, as you can manage your social accounts lying on the sofa in your onesie with a box of chocs, there’s really no excuse! We at Net Natives love Christmas and we wish everyone a very merry one too

We hope these tips make the thought of keeping an eye on things over Christmas that bit more appetising. A few minutes a day keeps your social presence ticking over through to the New Year, when you’ll return feeling refreshed, revitalised and ready to reap the benefits of your continued social engagement!

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



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