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Brain Waves Newsletter

Liz's Letter

Liz Gross, Campus Sonar CEO

Hi Michelle,

I think higher ed is entering a period of increased reliance on business-to-business products and services. While there’s never been a shortage of vendors (as I’m sure your inbox can attest), there may soon be a shortage of staff on campus marketing and enrollment teams.

Because of what’s happening in the economy and the higher ed labor market, specialized talent is leaving campus for agencies or work in other industries. It will be harder for you to recruit and retain staff members with skills in social listening, analytics, marketing strategy, campaign design and delivery, web development, CRM implementation, media relations, etc., unless your campus is offering a competitive salary along with flexible scheduling, remote work, and an innovative environment. Most colleges and universities aren’t ready to offer those perks.

I’m anticipating this shift based on conversations with exhausted campus staffers, a review of our incoming job applications, and speaking with other agency leaders. In the near future, you may not have the in-house talent to effectively use software or other tools you’ve purchased.

As you consider more partnerships with vendors to achieve your goals, assess what campus human resources are required to achieve your desired outcome. Some vendors will sell you tools that require time and talent from your team to implement, while others will offer specialized services that deliver outcomes you can measure or insights you can immediately use to improve your strategy and tactics. I believe you should choose services over tools in almost every instance, provided they’re offered by a vendor with relevant industry experience and expertise willing to work with you to achieve your goals.

This isn’t doom and gloom—you should also have greater choice in potential partners as they grow deeper expertise or expand their suite of services. I believe a key competency of campus leadership in 2021–2025 is a keen understanding of the vendor ecosystem and a strong referral network so you can find the right partner (not just the biggest or most well-known) to meet your campus’s needs.

Please consider Campus Sonar as your expert social listening partner. If you trust me to hire and retain a talented team that understands the needs of campuses like yours and has unmatched social listening skills, you can trust that our strategic partnership service will make you more informed, nimble, and strategic than any social listening software option. I’d love to chat with you about your needs and design a partnership that meets them—or even be a hub in your vendor referral network. Connect with me on LinkedIn if we haven’t already, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

I’m excited about this shift. I think more people are going to find themselves in challenging, fulfilling, supportive jobs and campuses are going to have more options to involve the best talent in their strategic efforts, even if fewer of them are employed by the campus. What role do you want to play in this change?

Liz Gross Signature

Steve App, Campus Sonar Business Development ManagerStrategic Partnership Superpower: Segmentation

For one campus, it’s an upcoming name change. For another, it’s their student honor code. Another wants to track their strategic initiatives. And another is focused on individual colleges and units. 

When I’m talking with campus-based peers, one of the most common questions about Campus Sonar is how we’re different from software. Segmentation is one of those key differences. 

Listening to the conversation about your campus is simple in theory. Plug a keyword, acronym, or mascot into your software search boxes, and viola! Social listening. 

But the truth is that for most campuses, capturing the totality of their conversation creates an overwhelming dataset. And if there’s a particular aspect of your conversation that you want to track separately—say, campus safety, or National College Decision Day—well, social media management software wasn’t made for that. And manually trying to find the signal through the noise can be so overwhelming that it’s generally not done at all. 

Conversation segmentation is a core benefit for Strategic Partnership clients. Most clients take advantage of built-in segmentation options. These include admissions conversations (prospective and admitted students), athletics conversations, and alumni conversations (alumni in the news and alumni engaging with your brand). 

But our clients also use Campus Sonar to segment their conversation at a more custom level. Sometimes the focus is a timely event, like Giving Day or a major campus announcement. Other times it’s related to the student experience, like mental health or COVID-19. And other times it’s about tracking strategic initiatives like diversity, equity, and inclusion; first-generation students; or social justice. 

This segmentation is performed by Campus Sonar analysts. All the client does is click on the corresponding tab in their dashboard to view it. In other cases, the client chooses to have that area of conversation covered in their weekly summary report. Regardless, having that segmentation from Campus Sonar means their time can be spent on strategy, not data collection. 

And at the end of the day, that’s the real difference between Campus Sonar and software. Software can help you capture your online conversation. But the onus to analyze, interpret, and report on that conversation still lies with you, the end user. With Campus Sonar, you can get right to the fun part: making meaningful, strategic decisions based on data.

Extra Budget? Invest in Yourself + Your Team

Image of laptop screen, mobile phone screen, money, magnifying glass, and stack of books

The fiscal year is coming to an end. If you have precious funds yet to use, our STREAM memberships give you—and your team—a ton of value without a ton of spend.

A membership includes timely social listening research on core areas of higher education like recruitment and yield, reputation and branding, and alumni engagement and fundraising. Members get continuous professional development and access to a private Slack community of innovative higher ed professionals. Invest now for a year of membership benefits.

See or Book Us

We hope to see you virtually this year at an upcoming event! Do you sense a theme in these sessions? We sure do!

  • After a year off, the National Small College Enrollment Conference is virtual—July 26 to 28. Liz will present from our latest STREAM research with her session “The Secret to Small College Success on Social Media: Insights from Campus Sonar’s Latest Research.” 
    National Small College Enrollment Conference

  • The HighEdWeb Annual Conference is online again for 2021. Hope to see you in October so we can Zoom wave.
    HighEdWeb annual conference

If you’re looking for an industry expert to speak at an upcoming event or lead a workshop, check out our current speakers, common topics, and pricing.

Tell Us What You Think

Brain Waves Newsletter is for you—help us shape it. Send us an email to share what you think, suggestions, or what would help you do your job better.

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Campus Sonar 2501 International Lane , Madison WI 53704 USA

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