Strategic use of social media levels playing field cost-effectively.

Business schools with significant resources—such as full-time public relations personnel—can cultivate relationships with reporters in the hopes of gaining coveted press coverage. Now, thanks to social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, a whole new group of players can be pro-active and get their message out in a very cost-effective way.

Case in point: recent coverage for the Evening MBA at Florida International University (FIU) in an online BusinessWeek article titled MBA Dropouts: Business School, Interrupted.

“I’m a fan of the BusinessWeek page on Facebook and on October 21, 2009, I saw a reporter’s call from the previous day for students who had left or interrupted their MBA work,” said Luis Casas, director, marketing, communications and recruiting in the College of Business Administration, who was at an Executive MBA (EMBA) conference in San Diego, California, presenting precisely on the use of social media in the business school. “I sent the request to the managers of our MBA programs and by the reporter’s 24-hour deadline, we had three potential candidates. Carol A. Bonacossa, an Evening MBA student, contacted the reporter and became one of two students nationwide featured in the article.”

Joel Cloralt and Luis Casas
Joel Cloralt and Luis Casas

Opportunities for social media extend far beyond press attention.

“One goal is to engage FIU students, alumni, professors and staff through our Facebook page,” said Joel Cloralt (MSMIS ’07), e-marketing coordinator. “For example, when we post stories from our news portal, BizNews, we invite interactions among our growing base of fans. We listen to our audience and learn from what content they like or don’t like based on the interactions we receive on our page.”

In addition, ads on Facebook and LinkedIn draw students to graduate information sessions, events that often translate into applications and enrollment.

“Seventy-five percent of responses to these info sessions are coming from our Facebook ads, and our ads on LinkedIn were the most cost-effective in generating RSVPs specifically for our EMBA program,” Casas said.

Cloralt also monitors Twitter, fielding or routing questions about FIU, MBAs, or graduate programs in Miami, among other tweets, and will be helping enrich the college’s LinkedIn presence with interactive features.

Download “Tweeted Out and Linked In…Here Comes Gen Y!” a presentation by Luis Casas on October 19, 2009 at the 2009 Executive MBA Council Conference.

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