University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Many sites include them on their admission or alumni pages, but what about front and center?

Let's assume you have good content and an active userbase on FB, Twitter, etc. Should you do it?

Pros? Cons?

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Planning on putting several of them into the global footer on every page. Also thinking about adding dynamic content like latest news posts, upcoming events, sports scores, etc. Trying to jazz up the footer and reward visitors for making it to the bottom of the page. Might even pull in links to latest videos.
Here's a 6 month update on our Social Web Callout research. Very interesting trends emerging, especially the growth of Twitter callouts. Of schools putting SWC's on their site, Facebook appears more than 8 out of 10 times.

http://bluefuego.com/index.php/2009/08/social-web-callouts-6-month-...

Would love to hear your thoughts!
We put them on our site two weeks ago, and here is a very early statistical analysis of their effectiveness I wrote: http://bit.ly/dIp88
Nice blog post Ann.

Have you put a value on what a social media follower or subscriber is worth? For example a unique visitor to your site might be worth $10 so you sent away $2750 in value through those 750 clicks. Obviously some of that comes back in the form of immediate back button or a search later that night or the next day but some of it will be lost forever - they don't sign up for your social media and they never come back to your site - a completely lost opportunity.

It's probably too difficult to accurately track what it costs to gain a social media follower and what a social media follower is worth though.
Brad, could you explain the methodology for figuring out what a visitor to one's site is worth?
It's just a numbers game. First we determine what the measurable goals of the site are and how much each goal is worth. Then we take what a student is "worth" and the conversion rate from goal to student.

For example say a student is worth $10,000.
Visitors who fill out a "campus tour" on the website convert into students at 10% so we know that goal is worth $1000.
Visitors who fill out a "request information" on the website convert into students at 5% so we know that goal is worth $500.

Do that for each of your goals and set up each goal in Google Analytics with the appropriate $ amount. Then in GA the goal reports you have a report for total goal value. Divide that number by the number of visitors to get per visitor worth. However it's important that you segment the number of visitors number. If you have a section of your site for current students you do not want to include that traffic because they'll never fill out any of the prospective student goals. Our blackboard log in page is the most visited page on the site - obviously those are existing students so I create an advanced segment to exclude those visitors. And our job listings (for faculty/staff) is the second most visited section so I exclude those visitors also. And our GA reports filter out most internal traffic by IP address.

It's probably going to be a bit more work for a traditional university. We're private for profit so we don't have a lot of sections on our websites that aren't focused on getting a prospective student to request some information. For a traditional school I'd image athletics would get huge traffic but not generate too many new students (or maybe it does?), current students, campus events, etc...could probably also be segmented out.
We put social media links right on our homepage and the response has been tremendous in terms of engagement. Prospectives are hungry for information and connection to their future alma maters and providing that via Twitter, Facebook and the rest really seem to make a difference when they are selecting which colleges to visit and seriously apply for. The connection carries forward as students and parents all want to know the latest happenings on campus.
I'm not sure if my college's homepage is ready for icons. However, I'll propose links in the news items and see how that would work.

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