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Truth in Storytelling!

Way to go Tulane! 

You’re #1!!!

According to Niche you are officially THE top party school in the US. The fanfare over this terrific accolade must be insane on your campus and I can only imagine how you are leveraging the heck out of this on your website and social media.

Right?

Hmmm…I couldn’t find any mention of it on the “Why Tulane” section of your site.  Just a whole bunch of stuff about your core curriculum, study abroad opportunities and student volunteerism.

Nothing about it on Instagram either. Just some pics of crawfish. That’s so weird.

I mean, in the dog-eat-dog world of college admissions these days, colleges are eager to stand out from the pack and influence prospective students to take a closer look. Wouldn’t you think that being the number one party school would be a huge draw?

I bet the VP of Marketing had some fun ideas about how to leverage and play with this fun fact. But I also bet that there was no way in Louisiana that a tongue-in-cheek campaign like that would ever see the daylight of a budget request.

You see, we all talk a good game about wanting to leverage social media and influencer marketing to create authentic slices of the real college experience on our campuses, but in the end, higher education is still way too conservative to push the envelope. Okay, maybe celebrating “non-academic pursuits” isn’t exactly PC. I get it. But why are we so resistant as an industry to let our current students truly and freely be our voice in social media?

According to The Influencer Marketing report, “Brands need to fine-balance providing influencers with enough creative freedom, while also ensuring the messaging positively reflects the brand and helps grow awareness. Nearly 40% of influencers believe that overly restrictive content guidelines are one of the biggest mistakes brands and agencies make when working with them.”

In the midst of the recent buying-your-kids-way-into-college-scandal  , we all got a huge introduction into the life of one social media influencer who has the ears, eyes and decision choices of millions of prospective students at the tip of her iPhone. As Wired recently reported, Olivia Jade Giannulli could have been an incredible asset to USC if only they channeled her influential powers where it counted.

What if the admissions office had engaged with Olivia to vlog about her day-to-day experiences as a USC student? The good, the bad, the ugly. The academic and not-so-academic. Imagine all the buzz such authentic, ongoing content could have created!

Why aren’t colleges and universities reaping the benefits of their strongest marketing assets…namely, their current students? Most likely it’s the unpredictability of what the content might include. Our inability to control the message and steer the narrative outweighs our desire to experiment with new mediums.

But we don’t have to be afraid anymore. By partnering with a strategic higher ed marketing agency, colleges can learn to recruit, cultivate and leverage the authentic first-party stories that only current students can create. Understanding how to find the right influencers (not necessarily the ones with the most followers!), how to give them the framework for their ‘assignments’ but the breathing room to express themselves and where and when to place the messaging for maximum engagement and conversion is the key.

So maybe we’ll never be ready to celebrate being named the most dangerous college in America according to The Beast,

Party time!

 

but I know we’re ready to push our limits.

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