Sharing your message

Technology will be the death of me, I once said.

In fact, my then 12-year-old niece tried to get her uncle on SnapChat. That was six years ago and I still have not SnapChatted. (That’s a word, right?)

But today, students are connected to social media more than ever and are not engaged with the traditional types of communication, like letters or emails with no creative content.

At the last meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission on Communications and Marketing in November, we discussed branding and reaching today’s student.  I reflected on those meetings and determined to make some changes on how my office communicated with alumni, current and prospective Miami Dade College (MDC) Wolfson students.

Share your story

The Harvard Business Review discovered that, “in order to motivate a desire to help others, a story must first sustain attention—a scarce resource in the brain—by developing tension during the narrative. If the story is able to create that tension then it is likely that attentive viewers/listeners will come to share the emotions of the characters in it, and after it ends, likely to continue mimicking the feelings and behaviors of those characters.”

We created a team charged with outlining a plan. We brought together persons in the media services department and technology and engineering, and faculty, staff and students. You will be amazed to learn what students share works for them as a “consumer.” And, part of the plan included telling our story.

Who better to tell the MDC story but our alumni? We are proud to have one of the largest alumni groups in the nation with more than 2 million MDC graduates. Our alumni programs provide a great opportunity to connect with fellow alums, share memories and maintain strong ties with their alma mater. Every day, we highlight an alum through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

This excerpt comes from the current issue of the Community College Journal, the award-winning magazine of the American Association of Community Colleges.

We took engaging alumni a step further. We developed an application where current students and alumni come together. In this application, alumni can post job and internship openings and offer to serve as mentors. Current students are the audience. Alumni want to give back to their alma mater, and they can do that by supporting the current student body. In fact, we’ve found this connection has improved our philanthropic efforts, too.

Video messaging and marketing

Last August was my first convocation. In years past, faculty and staff were sent invitations to their home. I thought it would be fun to email the campus team a video invitation. The invitation was about five minutes in length and it touched upon my “firsts” as the campus’ newest president. The video was shot over the course of a couple of hours at various places on campus, and the script was energetic and intentional. The data analytics demonstrated that today’s faculty and staff want messages in new and creative ways. We’ve created a YouTube channel where these videos are tagged and archived.

Read the full story.

About the Author

Richard Soria
recently served as president of Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus in Florida.