Social Listening for Program Research

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Liz Gross, CEO at Campus Sonar joined the podcast to talk about how social listening can be utilized beyond mere brand monitoring exercises, including sophisticated programmatic research. 

The general mandate of we need to domore. Social listening usually doesn't get you anywhere, but we need tounderstand our audience. So we can better position our program in a waythat feels authentic to them. Might you're listening to enrollment growth,university from heliks education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and romant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anromant growth university, a broudmember of the connect Evu podcast network, I'm Eric Holson with helicseducation and we're here today with dctor Liz, Gros friend of the show andCEO at Campisonar Lizas Great. To have you thanks for having me Eric, reallyexcited to talk with you today about how social listening can be utilizedfor programatic research before we dig in, can you give the listeners a littlebit of background on Campus Onar sure? So we are in agency dedicated to highereducation, and we hope, colleges and universities measure their brand andreputation, understand and engage with key audiences like enrolment, audiences,improve customer service or manage crises, and what makes us different isthat we do that by understanding data and were specifically public onlineconversations which we collect and analyze through the process of sociallistening. So we are a specialized socialistening agency for highereducation and what you can do with that could be a lot of things, and I'mexcited to talk more about that today. Yeah, I think the case studies thatyou've been releasing this year have really opened up my mind, n to the whatyou can do with that, I'm so to help kick us off, can you help expand ourunderstanding of kind of all the research opportunities of sociallistening beyond what people might often pigeon hole it as as a mirrorbrand monitoring exercise, let's get it out of that pigeon hole for our purposes. Social listening is aresearch method and if there's any research nerits listening, it issimilar to Arcival ethnography, which at some point people started callingnet nography. Since we were using the Internet and basically, what it meansis you position the researcher within some sort of arcival environment sothat they can gain the cultural perspective of those who areresponsible for the creation, collection care and use of thoserecords? I was trying to think of like what are really fun examples of Arcivolethnography and I team, and I came up with two of them. One is Hamilton, likethe creation of Hamilton, came from looking at all of these papers andbiographies and and work to really understand Rhamilton's motivations.What were the dynamics of relationships,...

Twe, folks and ultimately was expressedthrough art, so we're not looking at a research paper, but that came out ofthis idea of archival ethnography and if we want to stay in the entertainmentrealm, the crown also is doing that in terms of the royal family of Britain.So when you think about that for social listening, the records are online.Social Data and the opportunity is huge because there are trillions of postsfrom over one hundred million unique data sources that can be analyzed andmore are being created every single day, so social listening finds the onlinesocial data records that are created by a select group of individuals or abouta particular topic, and then we as the researchers and strategists, tell thestory of what was said online in relation to strategic objectives of theorganization. That's conducting the research or in the case of campus Onar,that's our campus client, so for you and your listeners think about who maybe creating online social data records that could be of interest to you. Thatcould be perspective or current students, alumni campuses you competewith, or maybe even professionals that work in a specific field talking abouttheir work and their experiences. You can learn more about the perspective ofthose people through social, listening research, superhelpul context and I'vebeen calling you lizthe Linmanuel Branda of hired for a long time. So I'mglad that you give me at'sa good basis for that. I need to work on. I wrappingskills. If I want to love U Thar epation, I love that context. Can you walk usthrough a program, specific social, listening research study so like let'ssay, I'm an institution, I'm looking to grow my Undergrada D Nursing Program?How could social listening help? Yes, so first, I just want to say no one hasever asked campus Onar to do that specific project. Yet so, if someone islistening and wants to do that, get in touch with me and you can be the first, but if we were asked to do that therewould be some some contexts. We would need to gather before even doing theresearch. So first we would talk through your existing goals andstrategies. So we know what you can build on or what might need to becreated. We want to make sure this research is useful and actionable. Sowe'd want to drill down those goals. A little bit more, he said, grow anursing program. We would ask Yo know: Do you want to win more applicants fromyour direct competitors? Do you want to attract new students from your currentrecruitment area or expand? Your recruitment area, are you looking toincrease applications, or are you more interested in your yield rate? Do youhave a very specific nursing specialty that you want to recruit for all ofthose would be important for us to understand how people are going to betalking about the experiences and the thoughts that will come up in theresearch, and then we want to understand your current strategiesright. So do you already have a robust...

...digital strategy that includes awebsite and integrated social media, or are you starting from scratch and youjust need an idea of where to start like? Do you use, or are you open tousing influencers in your marketing? Is that something we should have our eyesout for? Are Your current students already involved in your marketing oris that another area of wide open, Bluesky opportunity do you generateleads mostly throughin Broun marketing, or are you working through traditionallist Byes, that's important, and then can you coordinate online and offlinemarketing tactics to an integratand strategy, or are we working just withyour digital marketing? Folks, like all of that matters, so in order to notmake this be an hour long answer to your question: Let's say that maybe you want toincrease applications from anywhere in the country. You already have afunctioning website that you can adapt over time. You have a somewhatpersonalized complo and a basic social media presence to build from knowingall of that, we could scope a project that seeks to answer the followingquestions through social listening and normally you want to keep this to likethree to five, but ive course did six, because I can't control myself so first, you might want to think youjust want to answer the basic question like where online do students talkabout nursing programs so that you know where you should be involved oradvertising O. whatever that might be, then you might want to look at how dopespective students talk about nursing programs like what can we learn fromthe general topic analysis of perspective students asking aboutnursing? We could get more specific there and then say what questions doperspective undergraduate, nursing students ask their peers when they'redeciding to apply to college, and some of those are probably going to be ayeah Du, but you might find some really surprising answers there, diving, evendeeper. What positive things do. Current nursing students say abouttheir programs? What don't they like? What negative things are they sayingand then really understanding your rule in this? How is your institutionrepresented in these conversations that we've already analyzed and if you wantto get into competitive set? What are the top ten institutions named in theseconversations and how do they relate to yours and geography, program, size,Baccady, size, etc? So this project could go a variety of different waysand I'll just note that it'd be totally different if the curriculum was offeredmainly online or towards a certain specialty. But if we could answer thosesix questions, you'd be able to craft your website and email content, betteridentify your competitors as they are determined by students. Not You setbenchmarks for improvement. If you want to grow your reputation over time interms of how folks are talking about your institution, you can identifyplaces where current students could be encouraged, interact online to reallygive that Peur to peer reference, and you could determine how to mosteffectively use your social media accounts to improve application numbersbased on the answers to those questions.

So Thet'd be a lot in that just oneproject. So I really like to think the opportunities are as yeah. They really are, let's Tik intothat topical analysis bucket, because from a social volume or sentimentanalysis standpoint, how can sociallistening help understand how myinstitution stacks against programatic competitors that pontentionally I maynot have even had on my radar because they aren't within forty miles of Yinstitution right? We've done some really interesting projects related tothis recently. So I've got some good examples, but well stick with yournursing example, and as soon we completed that research that Idescribed I'd, guess that we'd probably have a Dataset of ten thousand or morementions from a variety of sites and Woel be looking at current orpespective students talking about nursing, we probably have data fromredit twitter youtube. I'm thinking, we'd see all Nursescom the student, DrNetwork and college confidentials, so we'd have a wide set of sources and tenthousand ISH mentions next. Our researchers would use some of the AI inour software to identify the organizations that are mentioned mostin the Dataset. This is one place where era ai can be helpful, we're going tohave thousans and thousands of words, but we want to know like who are thecolleges and universities or other organizations that are mentioned. Thatis likely going to include both known and unknown competitors for you. Sowe'll look at that together and decide which of those competitors are worthyof further examination. It would probably be a combination of WHO'smentioned the most and who you traditionally see as a competitor andthen within that ten thousand or so mentioned. Dataset will create segmentsof mentions that include those competitors Tis a lot. You could learnfrom that, but I'm thinking about three in particular one is determiningstudent consideration groups, so we might want to see which competitors aremost likely to be mentioned together when a student says I'm thinking aboutstudying, nursing at university, a college B campus x. We want to knowwhen these are grouped together and we can get that out of social data. Wecould also start to look at sentiment by competitor, like very specificallywhat you asked about. We recently did this at Campus Sonar for at CollegeWithan, astate flagship university, so a set of programs related to a singlediscipline, and we compared conversations about that collegestprograms with similar programs at seven other universities. When we did thesenament analysis, we found that our clients, negative sentiment of all oftheir mentions, was the lowest. It was only eight percent, while some of theircompetitors mentions were up to twenty five percent negative and their neutralsentiment was the highest. So knowing that that's somewhat of a differentator for them, we can then dive into the actual content of the negativementions of their competitors, to prop some new ideas for our client todifferentiate themselves, and then we...

...can also examine their own positivementions and identify areas that are worthy of continued emphasis. Becausagain, wcontinually surprised by what students see as positives the negatives.It's not always aligned with the attributes that an enrolmentprofessional would put out there and then the last thing- and this is fromthat same client. You might want to do sort of a topic cluster analysis sothat you can see which competitors are mentioned alongside each other, notnecessarily like with a consideration set of students, but what does getthrown ut there together in a forum threat or a twitter post, and in thisclient project I just mentioned. We actually found two additionalcompetitors within prospective student conversation that not only werementioned alongside our client, but alongside the people that they considerto be competitors traditionally. So clearly, these two institutions shouldbe considered as part of this institution's competitive set, and whatI thought was super interesting was one was a higher ranked program in afaraway geography and finding that our client was considered a competitor ofthat institution was actually a huge positive and it gave them. You knowideas of how they could potentially recruit from a larger pool of studentsif they were already identifying our client as an alternative to thishihering competitor in a different part of the country, so lots of lots ofopportunities when you start diving into that data. There really are. I wasfascinated by when you started mentioning some of those socialchannels where those conversations are taking place and realizing boy. Thosearen't coming up in my google alerts for my institution's brand name. Howimportant is it to become aware of those conversations about our programsthat are absolutely happening online in these peer networks that Google alertsthat other social media moditoring toeels just are't picking up on yeah?It's incredibly important? If what you care about is how people are talkingabout your institution in the admissions process, and we have somedata about that so specific to enrollment conversation. We releasethis study in January, two thousand and twenty, which feels like a decade ago, and that was a study on the collegeenrolment journey and in that study we looked at three years of onlineconversation just in general about students talking about the admissionsprocess, ind that study again a year h decade ago. We found that elevenpercent of conversations about college admissions was on forums, but it's feltdifferent lately. So I dove into some secret data, we're currently updatingthis study using data from fall, two thousand and twenty so times we canremember host pandemic during the Banemic, and this is data that campusoner is releasing in late Ebruary, tw thousand and twenty one to our streamcommunity, and I specifically looked at the percentage of conversations aboutadmissions on forums. So in January t o...

...thsand an twenty. Our study found itwas eleven percent, the rerelease of that study. Just thirteen months later,I'm it Goin to tell you the actual number, but it has increased a lot. There is an awful lot of conversationon forums and some of them you know redit, is a huge source of conversation,but there's also these specialized forums like the student Doctor Network,all Nursuscom law, school life, and all of these are things that Google alerts,frgot social hoot, sweet or whatever you're using for monitoring your socialaccounts they're not catching it at all, but it is coming through in sociallistening software and then the other place that I think it's reallyimportant for enrolment focus. Folks to be aware of. When they're mentionedonline, that's never going to show up. Anany of those platforms is comment onyoutube videos, and it's not comments on your youtube videos. You're, goingto see those hopefully but comments on the video of the student who mentionedin passing that they went to that institution or they're going to beapplying to that institution or they were accepted to that institution, andthere are comments from perspective students, sometimes very early in theenroment cycle, like late junior high early high school asking, you know,that's been one of the institutions. I've been thinking about, or I hadn'theard of that one before. What's your experience, how how do you like it- andthat is how students are making their decisions of how to show up and stealthapply? And if you can gather all of that data and understand the trends andwho's influencing that conversation, you can be a much more informed instrategic, an rolmant marketer. I love those examples. Let's talk about theaction ability of those examples of the social listening research, because Ibelieve that's where a lot of research kind of dies in the viner and commititythe research is done. People go that's interesting. I didn't know that andthen it stops. How do we make sure that it keeps on going so through thesesocial listening studies and Istitution uncovers those program, questions thatthey see students to have their finding points of confusion for their ownprogram out there? How do they actually capitalize in those findings? Rightwith our clients, we tend to see sort of categories of action ability, butthe specific ways to take action are always unique. So some of thosecategories are you K, focusing recruitment and yield communications,particularly email, to answer specific questions for the right type of studentat the right time, based on what we know, they're already asking theirpeers. The thing is, they are not necessarily going to the experts oncampus to answer those questions, but if they happen to find out around thesame month when folks are generally asking strangers on reddit about thattopic, then that that's the right place right time. So generally, there can bemore segmented, personalized, timely recruitment and yld communications andwhat needs to be communicated about and when is going to be different for mostprograms. Another that is generally...

...applicable is the opportunity toactivate student advocates who can provide authentic, yet authoritative,responses where these students are asking questions because often they'reasking questions and spaces that are meant to be informal and aren't placeswhere they want to see campus experts. But if you've got student ambassadorsor alumni who you're not going to supervise, because you can't controlwhat they say but who you trust to represent your institution? Well, theycould be tapped when you find these questions through social listening toanswer them and that not only reaches the individual student when they'reactively seeking information, but all of the lurkers who are reading it andoverall it can raise the profile of the program. But again where thosequestions will be asked. What they'll be asked about, who is right to respondtends to vary from campus to campus. One other thing is highlighting theaspects of programs that students most consistently refer to positively. Imentioned this earlier, but it might surprise you what people think is themost attractive part of a program. Sometimes it could be a particularlyexciting and easy to get to no faculty member Whos, particularly charismatic,and that is someone who you want to make sure gets integrated intomaterials. Even if it's not like flashy marketing, stuff or or it could be astudent or there are things that really surprise us all of the time, and then Iwant to mention, but I didn't want to mention it first, it is sociallistening, so it can help you develop a more strategic, purposeful, socialmedia presence. Know how you should be posting content, who you should beinteracting with all of those things, but that is absolutely not the numberone outcome of most of these studies. Thess such Christ, top Youve, reallyreally brought my mind about the potential opportunities out there inthese student conversations that a'm now more excited toncover. Any nextsteps recommendations for institutions. Listening to this going O, I kind ofget it now. What's their next TEP. What do you recommend they do on campus tokind of try to pitch a fight for taking social listening more seriously as astrategy take advantage of our freework resources from campus Onar to help yousort of build your ammunition for that fight or making that case we have afree newsletter, free blog free books, check out all that stuff that we putout over the last three years and find one or two use cases that make the mostsense for your institution, the general you know, mandate of we need to do more.Social listening usually doesn't get you anywhere, but we need to understandour audience. So we can better position our program in a way that feelsauthentic to them might so that is definitely like. Go throughall that stuff, that we've got you'll, be able to find something that ishelpful for you and in terms of very, very tactical. Things of you just wantto kind of get your hands dirty and do some of it for yourself doing theresearch on the scale that I talked...

...about require some enterprise levelsoftware, but at the very least, you can start searching for names of yourcampus and Marqui programs on redit and on Youtube to see if anything comes upthat you've been previously blind to campus owner also offers a snapshotservice where for a very low investment, we can do that with a wider reach andscale for folks. Also, one of the things that we have available, which isnew for campuses, is stream, which is our syndicated trends, research forenrollment advancement and marketing, and that's where we're going to help atan industry level. Folks understand things like how is admissionsconversation changing what was the impact of Covid nineteen? All of thatcan be found on our website and, of course, we're happy to talk to folksabout custom research, but I will just say if you want to know aboutsocialisning and Higer ed go to campus on ar you're not going to be likeimmediately replied to with a sales pitch. We've got tons of resources foryou and if it makes sense to work together great, but if we're just thereto educate, that's fantastic as well and wed be happy to provide examples ofother folks who are doing the smellon campus wis thanks so much for your timetoday. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you if theyhave any followup questions, probably twitter afsuming. This goes live in January,I'll, be off of my end of your social media break. You can always find me ontwitter at Liz Gros, one four four, because a hundred and forty four is adozen dozen, and that is a gross. I learned something new today, abotthat set. That is your your Avatar namestake. That's reallyfunny! Yes, and if you're not into twitter, I'm also on Linkdon all thetime. Mits Lingkoncom Slashalis Gross, and you can also email me directly- elGros LGRO SS at campus onarcom awesome thanks so much for joining us to Saylis.Thank you so much for having me Eric attracting today's new post,traditional learners means adopting new enrolmant strategies. Keelicseducations data driven enterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth isuniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation, landscape and Helex has just published the second edition of theirenrollment growth playbook, with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing enromant growth challengesdownload it today for free at Heloks, Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromentgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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