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Stream your Zoom interview directly to Facebook

March 26, 2020

That’s right. You can stream a Zoom meeting right to a Facebook Page via Facebook live.

It is easy. First, log onto the desktop version of Zoom. Under “account settings” you’ll find “Allow live streaming meetings”

Allow live streaming meetings

Next, log into your Zoom client. Start a meeting (I used the Personal room.)

When the meeting is launched, in the lower right hand corner you’ll see “more”.

Click it. And the connect your Facebook Profile, to Zoom. (Aside, when I did this for a major University, it was nerve wracking because it wanted to connect my profile. I was like, no not mine! but it goes in through your profile to get to the page you are an admin of. So click it.


You can Zoom to Facebook Live.

You can also Zoom to YouTube. i think at the same time, but someone I’ll try that another time.






Why bad copy hurts your next social media post

March 4, 2020

I did a post on why you should only have one Facebook Page.

On Twitter, Mike wondered:

So here we go. To refresh, here is #4.

#4: Bad copy.

The reason is mostly bad copy. With a Facebook page to manage, an admin school ends up with the desire to feed the beast. “I need to post on Facebook.” Facebook is a marketing platform, if you only need to market 3 times a year, only post 3 times a year. More posts doesn’t mean more reach, it means more noise. I swear. You don’t have to post. In fact, posting bad content HURTS your next post.

Why does posting bad content hurt your next post? 

“Hi there, it is me, the associate Dean of Faculty, and a sponsor of this amazing speaker about 3rd century history and why it pertains to the study of latin and the growth of the noble class. We need to get the word out about this preeminent scholar.”

You probably got that call, or a version of it explaining why X is the most important thing in the world and you, the head of the Facebook Page, need to “get the word out” or “get this everywhere.”

You recently convinced the History Department to shut down their magnificently inept Facebook Page, and you now feel the pressure to post about this “incredible” event — a lecture by someone who is huge in his wing of academia, but no where else.

Sadly too, you get this call about a week before the event.

The first, and very real problem, is no marketing platform can get people to an event the week before it. Heck, a major candidate for office in the Democratic primary spent millions trying to drive voters to vote for him 8 weeks before and barely did it.

No marketing platform can succeed in this situation.

But, they are unmoved by mere arguments from a professional person about things like facts, so they push to get it posted.

“If I post this today, in March, it will not get people to your event, and it will impact the institutional goals of our university. To wit, your post will impact the next post on this page, and it is an enrollment focussed post designed to get people to enroll in our school.”

Say again? 

Facebook scores ads. A ten is really relevant (I got a lot of nines, never a ten) and a one is not. When Facebook redid the newsfeed, and stopped showing organic posts to fans of pages, I think it also scored posts. It doesn’t publish the numbers, but I’m convinced that it scores posts based on engagements and a low score impacts the next post (this is the formula for an ad.) So when you post the lecture from an esteemed academic, two things happen:

  1. Facebook doesn’t deliver your post to people because it is an event post, and Facebook has a whole wing dedicated to that art. The news feed isn’t it.
  2. since few people will see it, even less with engage with it. Thus, the post will get a shitty engagement score.

This bad engagement score will impact the reach of the next post.

So yes. Facebook is a battle on the news feed. Low engagement posts tell the algorithm that posts from this page don’t get engaged with, and thus, aren’t interesting to the fans on the page.

Facebook is a service. It cares little about your content, and only cares about the user experience. If your content isn’t getting engaged with, then less of your content will go to the newsfeeds of your fans.

Why you should have one Facebook Page — take 3

March 3, 2020

In 2014, I did a talk at a regional Higher Ed Web conference on why schools should only have one Facebook Page. I was high on the fact that I had closed down the Admissions Facebook Page where I was employed, and I was moving in on the English Department page, and feeling the power of being the “shut down” guy.

Then, I did a presentation in 2016 about a giving day. One of the questions I got was about how we used Facebook to drive the gifts. I pointed out that the school I worked at only had one Facebook page and people lost their shit. How did you do that, they wondered.

Now I do 3E Digital Roadmaps for clients, and each time, I recommend shutting down Facebook pages. Each time people say, “how did you do that?”

I have a list of arguments. Back in 2013, there were 13 reasons to shut down a page, but I worked at a school that really liked 13. Now it is just 10.

In some instances, new “likes” and “follows” might come in via content. But most new likes and follows will come in via other marketing, either on the website, the Search Engine Results Page, school visits, or emails to prospective students.

If one agrees that other marketing will get people to like or follow a page, then marketing one page is obviously easier. An alumni page, for example, needs other marketing to drive “likes.” Those are resources that could be applied to other efforts.

Here are 10 reasons why that decision to use finite marketing resources might not be the best move for the school.

#1: A prospective student = a student = an alum. 

A school does not need an admissions page, a school page and an alumni page because the person is the same person, just at different times in the journey. When a school attracts people to the page, they become students and then alums. Schools with separate pages need to waste marketing energy attracting people – again – to a page.

#2: Confusion.

Go listen to this episode of RadioLab on “choice.” If you listened and you’re still not convinced, then okay, here goes: if the school has a Facebook page, an athletics page, department pages, a career services page, a page for the food…it confuses people. If people don’t know what to follow, the school is probably doing it wrong. At many schools, a first-year student has way too many things they could like and follow. Simplicity is better.

#3: Algorithms.

Each organic post on a Facebook Page at your school goes to about 1% of the people who like or follow the page. The reach of the page is based on engagement. That means all content created at the school is in competition with each other’s content for the attention of that student or alum. Content on the Career Services page competes for attention with content on the main page, the athletics page, and that person’s friend and family group. If there are 10 student-based pages, and each one makes 10 pieces of content a week, that is 100 pieces of content a week that the Facebook algorithm is going to deliver to people. It will deliver probably 1 or 2 of those posts. The English Department Facebook page is probably not one or two of those deliveries.

#4: Bad copy.

The reason is mostly bad copy. With a Facebook page to manage, an admin school ends up with the desire to feed the beast. “I need to post on Facebook.” Facebook is a marketing platform, if you only need to market 3 times a year, only post 3 times a year. More posts doesn’t mean more reach, it means more noise. I swear. You don’t have to post. In fact, posting bad content HURTS your next post.

#5: Reach.

The English Department Facebook page has 150 likes. The main page is on the first page of a Google Search for the school and has thousands of likes. Why not work with the people who have access to thousands of people to market your thing to more people? Caveat: a department tea, posted on Facebook, will not get people to your tea. It isn’t a magic platform, it is a marketing platform with billions of pieces of content it can send to students. Your tea will NEVER be one of them.

#6: Location. 

Prospective student check in on Facebook when they tour campus. At this point, there isn’t anything we can effectively do with checkins, but events on the main page to prospective students could get them to like the page. Events by career services on the main page could get traffic to those events. One page means less confusion on where to check in, especially tours. One page means that data is taken into consideration when determining who to deliver content to. Facebook is more likely to deliver content to people who have checked in, and less likely to deliver that career services content to new students.

#7: The good times are over. 

There was a time on Facebook where your English Department Tea could get people to your tea. It was the early days of Facebook, and people at conferences talked about the power of “conversations” and “engagements.” Those days are over. Facebook is approaching 3 billion people. There is an unimaginable amount of content posted on Facebook every second. While it is true that Facebook pings page admins all the time reminding them to make content, it is not true that said content will get to fans. Facebook still wants your content, but only because it needs a lot to sift through the find the best. The old days were incredible, and will never happen again. It takes work now. If you have more than one page, it takes number of pages more work to get less returns.

#8: There are already too many pages.

The Facebook Pages app helpfully says: “Pages Manager lets you manage up to 50 Pages from your smartphone or tablet.”

Oh. My. God.

#9: Analytics.

Facebook Insights are amazing, but very detailed. The csv page download has more than 50 tabs. To download a year’s worth of data is 4 page downloads (50 tabs each), 4 post downloads (10+ tabs each) and 4 video downloads. That’s 12 csv documents with more than 250 tabs. Trying to analyze the success of 10 Pages is a dystopian nightmare, so no one does it. No one looks at the best performing post, or the worst performing post. No one can really tell what that is for a school because there are so many pages. No one can really identify a strategic goal for a Facebook page other than “get the word out” which is like doing an honor thesis on “Things on the Internet.” It isn’t remotely specific or strategic. So it isn’t “getting the word out” it is getting in the way of the institutions strategic efforts to convince prospective students to visit, apply, and enroll.

#10: Facebook is becoming a better content management system.

Higher education is cyclical. Each fall, a new batch of undergraduates seek the “word” of the school. School’s can create “why visit”, “why apply,” and “why attend” posts that include the gym, career services, athletics events (spirit) and academics. Pacing those things on siloed Facebook pages that don’t get prospective student traffic means you’re trying to distract people who the enrollment department seeks to nurture.

Facebook is a good keeper of content. Posts can be reused, reappropriated, and/or repurposed. You can talk to the people who manage the Page and ask for your content to be placed in front of prospective students and students and that content can be reused at strategic times in the year. You can go back to doing what you do, instead of trying to get the “word out” on Facebook about what you do.

The reasons to attend your school are the same things that generate nostalgia from your alumni.

Get your enrollment content in the place where alumni are going to engage with it. Use Facebook Events for prospective students, and use Facebook Live to get additional viral reach. All those goals are impacted when there is more than one Facebook page.

What do you think?


Should institutions of higher education ask for reviews from alumni?

February 12, 2020

Google My business reviews The question is in the title., the quasi social network from Google that sits on the SERP for all colleges and universities, offers a link to send to people to get reviews. The link looks like this: — and like this link, will take people who have a Google account to a place to automatically give a review. The aforementioned link is to my friend’s Wine Store in Hamilton, NY.

She sends the link to customers, and is getting more and more reviews and ratings.

Facebook offers a chance a reviews.

Ratings and recommendations can help fuel the page both in search (Google) and in social (Facebook).

But it probably feels weird to ask alumni to give a recommendation. If you can get past the weirdness, the positive results of reviews and recommendations can help give a boost to your enrollment marketing plans.

5 reasons Enrollment should own their Google My Business account

January 6, 2020

For higher education, Google My Business (GMB) is the little red pin that shows up at the top of the Knowledge Panel on a Google search for the name of the college.

Harvard University Knowledge Panel On the right is Harvard’s Knowledge Panel. It has some images, a map pin, some details from Wikipedia (usually the first sentence or two), some data Google knows, then the 5-6 profiles. Harvard has Soundcloud because they have podcasts, and someone thought people searching for Harvard might also want to listen to podcasts. Maybe.

GMB is critical for Enrollment because it pops up when people search for a school. This is the newly aware, or the people who have applied and are considering. It is new people who look at the search engine results page (SERP) and see the GMB Knowledge Panel.

That is why enrollment should own it, but here are more reasons.

So here is the list:

1. Enrollment probably has a Google Ad account. It might even be running an ad. When a school connects their Google Ad Account ot their GMB account, it opens location extensions in the ads.

2. Events. Enrollment has the most events. Controlling GMB means adding events to it. Accepted students days. Open house. Move in weekend! Add them.

3. Posts. GMB allows for image posts with a CTA. The CTA can be learn more. Students who find their way to this SERP want information. Give it.

4. Digital icons. Harvard has Soundcloud and no YouTube. I wholly recommend Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. But I’ve seen Pinterest, Soundcloud, and Spotify.

5. Images at the top. With GMB, you can add more. Many more. Add them.

There is more to GMB, but there’s a taste. During 3EDigitalLab, we take a deeper dive into GMB for Enrollment. If you’re interested in more, you can go the contact section of 3E or connect with me on LinkedIn.

How highered should be using LinkedIn

December 18, 2019

LinkedIn is a large part of the 3 Enrollment Marketing Digital Roadmap. I spend a good hour on it during a full-day #3EDigitalLab and at least 20 minutes in a shorter version.

LinkedIn thoughtfully AUTOMATICALLY subscribes alumni to the Page, so it often has the highest number of followers of any of the platforms on the roadmap.

It is true, users consider it at best as a Rolodex, and at worst as a visit to the dentist: it is something you have to do quarterly — so you do it, but not lovingly. In LinkedIn’s instance, it isn’t even clear why you do it.

However, there is potential. Especially for higher education marketing.

Here are some things to think about.


Did you know that according to LinkedIn data, there are 25 alumni of Oberlin College working for the US State Department, but the largest employer is Google with 67 alumni? (That would make a good tweet, especially since there are 15 majors represented. Search for CEO to see how many alumni have CEO in their profile. Teacher. Programmer. Nurse (though people in healthcare tend not to have LinkedIn profiles.) You can tell a neat story about outcomes using the data from LinkedIn.


LinkedIn has most of your alumni, many of your young alumni. Enrollment marketing people can contact alumni in the places they are visiting and ask them to join them. Contact them in advance. You can have an actual alumni talking about the actual experience at the school. Remember, you can search by city. It is a public alumni directory, sorted by location, job function, and/or major.


This is a place to share outcomes. A simple Google Alert, or a complicated social listening alert, will pull up alumni outcomes like people joining boards, getting new jobs, doing new things. Post about it. Tag the alum in the post. That is the school celebrating the alumni for being an awesome. Just a great social moment for schools. Note: for reasons I don’t understand, the admin of the page needs to be a second connection with the person to tag them. That said just reach out and ask to connect and say, “hi, I want to share your recent employment news and I want to tag you but we need to be at least second connections.”

Alumni events: 

Post about them now. Word is, LinkedIn is adding events. So eventually your New York City get together can be added as an event on LinkedIn and on iModules. This is useful for off-campus events. I probably wouldn’t bother with school visits, but I certainly would add any counsellor events on campus.

Alumni Magazine: 

The new feature on LinkedIn called documents lets you upload PDFs like the alumni magazine. One can even leaf through them on the platform.

I look at a lot of #highered LinkedIn Company Pages. In the 3E Dashboard I build for clients, it includes competitor LinkedIn Company Pages. So I see all the pages. Many are not using LinkedIn Company in any way. Some are though. Some share outcome stories, but none do all the things on the list.

I’d talk to advancement and see about how to use it to increase engagement from alumni. If a major gift officer is assigned to someone who just joined a board, add their news, tag them, then send the post to the gift officer. It might help.

This is not an enrollment tool, unless the school invites high school counselors to follow the page.

What do you think? Where does LinkedIn fit into your strategy?

Why you should have one Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

November 16, 2019

Years ago I did a session at a regional #highered conference called “Can I talk you out of a Facebook page”. My point then and now isn’t to suggest Facebook is a bad marketing tool. My point is that for a University, many Facebook pages make Facebook a bad marketing tool for the school.

Since then, things have gotten worse

At any given school, there might be an admissions Facebook Page, a “main” Facebook Page, an athletics Facebook Page, and an alumni Facebook Page.

Repeat the list and more for Twitter. Instagram doesn’t always have more than one. YouTube RARELY has more than one (okay, there is always an athletics YouTube channel — and it is often pinged by YouTube for using music without the proper permissions.

There are a lot of social media platforms at school with various pressures and marketing desires. This is my argument for one, but I’ll get in more detail in this post.

Reasons for less profiles. 

Forget the fact that when you start a profile it has zero followers. Forget also the fact that a prospective student, student, and alumni are the same person at different points in their life.


Do a Google  search for your school.

If the feed doesn’t appear on the front page os a search, then why are you adding content to it? Do a search for your school. The front page is filled with content that a user will look at, often the .edu is first. If the social platform doesn’t make that front page, will newly aware prospective students find it? I would argue no. 

Google Analytics used to offer a stat in the Search Console that showed how often a .edu turned up in search, and then how often it was clicked. The numbers for most of the websites I was able to look at was between 10-15%. That means about 1.5 out of 10 people who searched for a school clicked the first hit. That means it is crucial to get Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube on the front page of a SERP for your school.

If the school has a Facebook page, an athletics page, a department page, a Chapel page, a page for the mascot…it confuses people. If people don’t know what to follow, you’re doing it wrong. That confuses the resources of your school and makes it less likely that the main feeds will get on the SERP, and the main feeds have an institutional message that conveys the complete reason to attend, not just one faction of it.

More choice isn’t good. Your consumer needs a clear understanding of what you want them to do and follow.

A prospective student, student, and alumni are the same person at different times in their life cycle. 

If a school can convince a prospective student to like or follow the Page, then the school does not need to use additional resources to convince someone to follow the feeds. Resources at a school are finite, and get wasted when a school markets someone who has already been captured. This is a huge issue with alumni pages.


Social platforms are products first.They want to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. If you post on the facebook page a message that says “hey alumni” then there is a better chance that the algorithm will deliver that content to alumni on your page. If you post “hey prospective students” then there is a good chance it won’t go to alumni (though a better solution to this is to post enrollment events on the main page.)

Bad copy.

With so many pages to manage, you end up with too many beasts to feed. When you have to create copy, you end up with bad copy. Don’t end up with bad copy. See above. If you work with the person who runs the main page, you can use data to determine what posts got the most reach. If you focus on those each year, you’ll make better posts with better copy.


People are checking in like mad. At this point, there isn’t anything we can effectively do with checkins. But the day will come. One page means less confusion on where to check in. Also, I am sure the algorithm will send posts to people who checked into your school — and events surrounding them. Make more enrollment related events. The people who check in on Facebook to your school are status casting (look at me, I’m on a college tour). facebook logs that and then could send your event to the people who checked in.


It should go without saying, but I’ll say it. It is easier to get people to like your Facebook when there is only one. If there are two, it is twice as hard. Plus, each one is in competition with the other one.


Facebook ads are the reason I think you should buy stock. We can take a post about a current student, a recent alum and a professor publishing together in a journal, and send that to high school students in Dallas. The post is relevant to all people in the college cycle. And we can use ads to push it to people and make them aware of our promise. Too many pages means too little ads. One page, one focus, ad potential.

Facebook is a bad content management system.

Admissions, departments, athletics, alumni affairs – these people want to create content. The magic of these times is that people like to share. They want to share their stories. Help them. Offer them a seat at the content creation table. Have them write, take videos, capture moments. There are places for those moments. A bunch of Facebook pages is maybe the worst way to share content about a school. It would be like having a different .edu for every department. It would be a horrible waste of resources.

The issue is this: it is easy to turn on a Facebook page, but it is hard to build an audience. A school can build an audience because current students and alumni will follow it for nostalgic purposes. Focus there.

So if you talk someone out of a Facebook, or delete it, let me know in comments.


Awareness in #highered marketing

November 11, 2019

Campus Technology has a recent blog post talking about Eduventures research for respective students.

They report on awareness tools:

“…college e-mails were rated as the highest impact information source by 62 percent of the students surveyed, followed by word of mouth from family and friends (57 percent) and school websites (46 percent). On the other end of the spectrum, public transportation advertising (2 percent), radio or music streaming ads (4 percent) and billboard advertising (5 percent) were the lowest impact sources for raising college awareness.”


First, lets address “word of mouth.” Word of mouth is not a thing that exists in a vacuum. In order to tell someone about something I think they should consider, I need to clearly know about the thing, and have confidence in the thing to suggest it. This often comes from alumni of the institution, who tend to be the people who follow social media platforms. Look at the typical data fro a Facebook Page of a college, and the number of followers is mostly older alumni. Therefore, updating those alumni on the college is, in effect, helping word of mouth.

Second, lets address awareness as a whole. Awareness isn’t a this or that binary thing. One doesn’t become aware of something because of an email or a billboard, one can be more aware of the former because of the latter. I’m not saying that a billboard led to someone deciding to open an email, but all marketing is about owning a place in the consumer’s mind at the time of consideration. This is why Doritos does Super Bowl ads — not so people will buy them during the Super Bowl but instead so it can be considered when at the point of purchase.

Finally, this is just digital. A huge investment of resources is given to visits to high schools for a College Fair. As an awareness tool, that generates word of mouth from high school teachers and counselors.

Awareness then a deeper dive. 

This isn’t meant to just be a post that quibbles with research. There are many ways to generate an awarenesses for a school, be it the school visit, emails, word of mouth, etc. What happens next is probably something we all agree upon and that is a Google search for the school.

That search results in something called the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and it is something every college enrollment management professional should understand. The SERP is where awareness meets nurture.

When social media platforms are not on the SERP, or don’t have a good reason to apply message at this time, then there is little to no value to the enrollment process. Many enrollment management officers push enrollment only social platforms which clearly have an agenda. Thus, you get this:

“Notably, social media received a middling ranking from students — 35 percent of respondents said they use it in their college search — yet only 4 percent said they trust it as an information source.”

When there is one place with Alumni talking about ow great the school is, and prospective students are invited to that page, the result is digital word of mouth to the already aware.

What do you think? Where do you think Digital Media fits into the awareness cycle? Follow me on Twitter. Also, check out some 3 Enrollment events I’ll be at or running here including a 3EDigitalLab in Boston and a 3EDigitalLab in New York.  

The wisdom of the crowds and higher education

November 3, 2019

an ox plowing a field
One of my all time favorite RadioLab episodes is on the wisdom of crowds, and is called The Invisible Hand.

Basically, the theory is that crowds are smarter than people. The most famous example comes from at story in 1906 in England, where the crowd was asked to guess the weight of an ox. No one got it right, but the average of all guesses was exactly right.

The guy who ran the experiment was Sir Francis Galton, who also invented eugenics.It is a fascinating episode because it also talks about Google.

Google search is the Wisdom of Crowds. 

When a student becomes aware of a college, or when an already aware student wants to find out more about a college, they will go to our current version of a wisdom machine — Google.

Google has mountains and mountains of data. How people search. What people who search for College X do next.

If you search for your college, then immediately search for another one, Google will display the “wisdom of the crowds” and show you searches that match those two colleges.

When you search for a college, Google will add a section on the Knowledge called “People also searched for” and display a number of colleges that are based on crowd sourced data.

Even the “Notable Alumni” section is based on how people search for a school’s alumni.

Google is basically a wisdom of the crowds search engine and that is perhaps a good, or a bad thing.

In an episode from CBC’s Spark called “The case against predictability” they talk about what this means.

Plainly, it means that what happens next on Google depends on what scores and scores of people have done in the past.

Algorithms take our measure and influence our behaviour. But who’s interest does this serve?

It is one of my favorite podcasts, and this episode is why I love it. It makes me think, and wonder about our digital lives, and it is from Toronto and so am I.

In light of a world where Google and the crowds are in charge of what happens digitally, any rebranding or change, or repositioning will be eclipsed by the actions of people in the past.

Can you rebrand your SERP?

That’s the question, right? People redo their .edu, make a new logo, add a tagline, but here’s the question: can you rebrand yo

ur SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in an age where the crowds are in control of what a prospective student sees next?

I think the answer is yes. I think schools are able to throw resources at the place that really matters.

Take a listen to the two shows above, then hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts.

3EDigitalLab – a full day look at the digitial presence

October 30, 2019

3EDigitalLab slide

This article in the Chronicle asks five people to take a look at the state of enrollment in higher education. The first is Jon Boeckenstedt (, who you really should follow on Twitter. He wrote:

“The ecosystem of American higher education today is like an aging baby boomer who has never exercised: Years of neglect, ignored warnings, and doing things we know we shouldn’t do may finally be catching up to us.”

As a life long marketer (but a relative newbie to higher ed) here are five things that I think are opportunities to improve how higher education goes to market digitally. This post talks about the problems. At the end, it offers some insights into how these problems might be solved.

1. Athletics is a complete silo.

The scores are on a .com, athletes are celebrated for their on-field accomplishments on digital media channels that rarely, if ever, talk about the classroom. Athletics is a complete and utter silo, often with different purposes.

It is like having a companion product, but selling it down the street, with a different website and logo. It confuses the marketplace. At every school I speak to, they say, “what about athletics? How does athletics fit into student enrollment?”

It is a valid question. Athletics departments are their own departments, operating their own websites and social platforms. It means that the main digital presence of the school lacks athletics, and athletics lacks talk about in the classroom.

The school’s website is a .edu, the athletics website is a .com. Most schools even have a separate YouTube channel for athletics. It is siloed out and should be brought back in to one site.

(Note: some schools worry that actual athletes are separate from the school. They are always hanging out together, and aren’t part of the school in the same way. That is probably because they are recruited differently and see that digitally they are different.

2. Faculty and classes are not good at telling

Often, the top entry pages for newly aware people to a .edu are faculty bio pages. Indeed, faculty and their classes are the reasons people are paying up to a quarter of a million dollars for a year year degree. Try and find those classes taught by professors on a website. Try and find a class description that even explains what the class is, or why people should take the class? Find a place explaining – in the professors own words, what a student will get out of a class with a professor.

The syllabi that faculty create is awesome, so if it did exist it would be a good message. But often finding information on a class is almost impossible. One must go to to find out what a professor teaches.

Faculty need to be involved in the process of recruitment. One day, recruitment might be part of the tenure process – since tenure doesn’t matter if there are no students. In the meantime, it would be awesome if faculty cared about their digital presence and their own SERP.

3. The SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

Jon again on higher education:

“We measure quality by easily quantifiable inputs, not by more nebulous outputs; we take stock of the opinions of consumer magazines and newspapers more than of knowledgeable educators; we refuse to let competitors surpass us. If students once saw real differences between Carleton, Grinnell, and Oberlin, those distinctions faded as the sector became commoditized.”

The Search Engine Results Page is what people see when they Google a school. For most schools the SERP order is:

  • the .edu,
  • Wikipedia,
  • US News and World Report,
  • then one of Niche, Princeton Review, and/or Forbes.

The separate athletics website is usually lower on the list, joined by one or two social platforms like Facebook or Twitter — depending upon how those are run on campus.

In most SERPs I’ve looked at half is made up of review sites that pit things like rankings and class size stats against each other. This schools is ranked 22 and this one is 24? Is the first school two better? What does that even mean?

It is confusing. There is too much choice and not enough clarity.

4. There is too much choice and noise or “the pitfalls of chasing platforms and technology”

An athletics website. Athletics Twitter. Athletics Instagram stories. Dean of College Facebook Page. A typical school offers at least 100 Facebook Pages and groups for people to join. There are dozens of Twitter feeds. Still dozens, maybe hundreds more Instagram feeds.

For the last decade, keynote presenters at conferences have said “you should get a Facebook Page because that is where everyone is.” Then it was Instagram because that was where everyone is now. Then everyone moved to Snapchat. Oh no, now everyone is on Tik Tok and schools are scrambling to find someone to do Tik Tok because someone said that’s where everyone is.

It is easy to turn on a new channel. It is really, really, really hard to market effectively on social media. Really hard. Keynote presenters never talk about how hard the next steps are. They only talk about how awesome school X did on platform y.


It isn’t repeatable because the act of being there isn’t actually doing marketing. Doing marketing is doing marketing. Turning on a Tik Tok is wasting resources. I wish conferences had “why you should turn off Instagram” session. But they don’t.

5. Conferences are siloed.

There are too many conferences and they are all siloed. NACAC, Higher Ed web, EduWeb, Case, are silos for the marketplace. NACAC is all admissions and college counselors. Higher Ed Web is possibly the .edu and a bit of social, and often retention. EduWeb is also website and digital and social. Case is advancement. I don’t know where athletics people go, but it is probably sponsored by Sidearm since they seem to do all the athletics websites.

I’ve been a speaker at Case, Higher Ed Web, and EduWeb, and this is not meant to be a knock on them. They offer support to people, and they offer knowledge.

To be clear, this is an industry problem, not a conference problem. Different people attend difference conferences, as if the goals of the university aren’t aligned.

The conferences I have attended talk about digital in a really specific way: “How Facebook can increase enrollment.” or “how Facebook can impact giving”.  The people race back to their schools and start a new thing to do their thing at the school.

To paraphrase Jon again, the industry is like an aging baby-boomer who is like, “but this is how I’ve always done it!”

So, what are the solutions?

It is one thing to make a blog post that talks about the problems, it is another thing to offer solutions.

This is where the plug comes in. At 3 Enrollment Marketing, we built a Digital Lab to address all these things and more. We talk about how to involve faculty, we talk about athletics, and we talk about the SERP. Those all lead to being where you need to be, and not being in other places. It means using less, but doing it better. Where do you need to be? Well, that’s covered in an 8-hour session.

(It will also be covered in Sunriver, Oregon in 2020.)

One #3EDigitalLab is in Boston on December 12th.

The second #3EDigitalLab is in New York City on December 17th.

I’ll be doing both.

I promise a day of learning, laughter, and advancing the digital presence of your school.

We don’t have all the answers, but we know some of the questions. It is time to think differently about We think we can work our way out of this, but it will take more than just one faction of the school. That is hard, we know.

That said, we’ll arm you with the insights, plans, strategies, and words to start making a difference on your campus.

At the end of it, you’ll be saying “we got this.”