Nexford University is an educational institution dedicated to providing high-quality learning experiences for its students—no matter where they are in the world. As one of the first educational institutions to completely embrace remote learning, Nexford makes extensive use of social media. As part of its higher ed marketing strategy, they use social media to drive engagement, increase brand visibility, and boost student recruitment
However, in being pioneers of the remote learning environment, the university faced challenges in managing its social media accounts.
In this case study, we will explore how Nexford University uses Agorapulse to completely transform its approach to social media operations.
Challenges of Social Media Marketing for Higher Ed
Social media overload
Before discovering Agorapulse, Nexford’s team faced significant challenges regarding social media management. The university grappled daily with hundreds of messages and comments across multiple social media platforms. Without a time-efficient method to manage everything, the marketing team would end up with a huge backlog of messages. Sometimes, that meant weeks or even months could pass before a potential new student would get a response. By that time, the person could have lost interest in the university or found another educational institution to pursue.
Lack of alignment
The social media team at Nexford University consists of eight people divided into two teams: an inbound sales team and a marketing team. However, the lack of a unified system between the two groups meant frequent overlaps in responses because there was no way to know who was handling what. That lack of social media collaboration and workflow impacted the team’s ability to perform their job effectively. It was a contributing factor to the backlog of messages that went unanswered.
Lastly, the absence of comprehensive reporting tools made measuring the impact of their digital efforts accurately and identifying areas for improvement challenging. This meant much of their social media efforts were done without any real insight into what was working and what wasn’t – making it difficult to know which direction to go in next.
Metrics that were tracked were tracked manually with an Excel spreadsheet, which was painstakingly tedious and would take hours to complete.
Faced with the challenge of efficiently managing and tracking a growing volume of social media interactions, Nexford University needed a robust social media management solution that would empower its marketing efforts and foster seamless collaboration between teams.
Finding a Social Media Tool for Education Institutions
After looking at the options for social media management solutions, Nexford University decided to use Hootsuite at first. But their use was short-lived. The university quickly abandoned Hootsuite after having ongoing issues with its core functionality.
“A lot of the time we still had to have the other social media channels open because Hootsuite wasn’t grabbing everything all the time,” says Mai Elkelish, the Team Lead for Inbound Sales at Nexford. “It really just didn’t work for us”.
After this frustrating experience, Elkelish says they went years without using another social media management tool, instead opting to just work from each platform individually. But this method didn’t work well either, so they began looking for a better solution. Finally, they found Agorapulse.
How Educational Institutions Use Agorapulse
Nexford University has found a number of the features in Agorapulse to be helpful in managing their social media accounts, including:
- Social Media Inbox
- Saved Replies
- Content Calendar and Publishing Queues
- Post Labeling and Filters
- Analytics and Reporting
The use of these features has proven to be a game-changer for Nexford University by creating a more productive and efficient working environment.
Improved Community Management
Since using Agorapulse, the team at Nexford has been able to simplify their workflow by using the Social Media Inbox. This feature has freed up a significant amount of time, as now the team can manage all social channels from one place. It also allows them to respond to incoming comments and messages with saved replies and templates, customized for each platform.
Having saved replies for each social media platform within Agorapulse has been incredibly useful. Previously, the team was using different tools and documents, and it wasn’t convenient or time-efficient to access them.
Overall, the Social Inbox feature has significantly improved their response times and kept potential new students engaged with the university’s content while also mitigating the risk of losing students to competitors.
Social Selling for Educational Institutions
Elkelish describes how implementing Agorapulse helped to shift the team’s focus from only responding to inbound messages to becoming a social selling powerhouse.
“Before Agorapulse we were focused more on the customer service aspect,” says Elkelish. “We would just wait for the messages to come to us.”
“But now we’re also helping people discover our programs and reaching out to find if people have a need for what we are providing currently.”
This kind of outreach would not have been possible before due to time constraints and a lack of resources.
Simplified Reporting and Analytics for Educational Institutions
What once seemed like an overwhelming task became a manageable, even streamlined, process, thanks to the reporting feature in Agorapulse.
The intuitive reporting in Agorapulse has enabled Nexford’s team to pull data from all social platforms quickly and efficiently—a far cry from the manual labor and Excel spreadsheets they had been using previously.
Il-Sung Sato, a Senior Marketing Executive at Nexford, explains how beneficial this has been for his team.
“Pulling all of that data from Facebook, from Instagram, from LinkedIn, from Twitter, separately is a laborious task, to say the least.”
“But through Agorapulse, I’m able to request a report for all platforms with breakdowns of the highest engagement posts. And it just comes right to my inbox. Agorapulse essentially quarters the amount of time that I need to get those reports on that day.”
Being able to access this information easily has given Nexford University critical insights into its audience’s needs. It also empowered a more strategic decision-making process for the university as a whole, influencing both Nexford’s content strategy and course offerings.
For example, social media posts promoting Nexford’s virtual tours like the one seen below, were at one point scrapped completely, due to a stakeholder not liking the content.
However, Agorapulse was there to back up the social media team with cold hard data that showed the posts had a high number of conversions, making them a valuable tool to gain potential leads. The posts were then added back into the higher ed social media strategy.
The Result: Social Media Transformation
The implementation of Agorapulse at Nexford University revolutionized its approach to social media operations and inbound sales processes.
Through comprehensive features and integrative capabilities, Agorapulse has allowed Nexford University to streamline its social media management and shift to a data-driven content strategy. It also has greatly increased the communication between sales and marketing, improved team efficiency, and reduced the risk of missing potential business opportunities.
The experience of Nexford University highlights how embracing the right digital tools can lead to a more effective social media strategy, a more engaged online community, and ultimately, a more successful organization.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, such agility and adaptation will be the key differentiators for educational institutions aiming to thrive in the remote learning environment.
Don’t let your educational institution get left behind. Check out a free demo of Agorapulse to learn how it can help your organization streamline social media management.