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With social and digital channels being the primary means of communication for the majority of young people, Higher Education institutions are having to move with the times and get savvy with their digital strategy. Whether it’s prospective students sussing out which universities to apply to, current students discussing the latest events at the student union or alumni wondering how they can stay connected with the place they used to call home, the number of digital conversations taking place is on the rise – and institutions are battling to stay in the loop.

Always on and always listening, there are solutions out there that pull your direct and indirect mentions into one easy to use platform, allowing your college or university to focus on keeping students informed, engaged and well looked after – hooray! But we all know it ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it, so here are the four features Orlo found Higher Education institutions are looking for from a platform to manage their digital conversations with their students.

#1 Be there in the moments that matter

With student wellbeing at the top of the priority list, it’s essential that someone is available to support with any struggles, queries or concerns. Ensure your tool enables you to be there to listen, on the channels your students chose – whether that’s Social Media, WhatsApp, SMS or Live Chat. Look out for a solution that gives you the ability to set up triggers to automatically notify you about messages with negative sentiment or specific keywords so you can be there when you’re needed the most.

#2 Keep an ear to the ground 

With institutions working to provide a hybrid learning experience, allowing students to learn remotely through digital platforms, it’s becoming more challenging to keep track of the student journey. Digital channels offer a treasure trove of candid feedback and conversation, so whether your institution has been tagged or mentioned indirectly, a social listening tool can identify those conversations, giving you the chance to respond appropriately. It could be worth looking for a platform that monitors the sentiment of messages too, to give you a true picture of the student experience.

#3 Content is king 

From informing students of upcoming events to weighing in on the latest education news, ensure you’re engaging your audience consistently with a tool that provides an overview of your content calendar, helping you to schedule digital campaigns. It’s inevitable that at times you’ll be stuck for what to say, so ensure you can share student generated content from your monitoring streams or pull posts from your favourite RSS feeds for relevant and timely updates. Then be sure the solution you choose has a solid performance analytics tool, so you can easily understand which campaigns are doing well to inform your content going forward!

#4 Talkin’ about an integration  

Finding a platform that is able to interact with a range of CRM systems or is partnered with the one you use (for example Microsoft Dynamics 365) can help your university or college to elevate social media insights. Combining this information with the rich data held within your existing CRM can give you a ‘single view of the student’, enabling you to track their journey from the first interaction, right through to graduation day and beyond!

Over 300 organisations – including Higher Education institutions such as Aston, Swansea and Loughborough University – use the Orlo platform to do all the above and more! With results such as 50% reduction in response times, 199% growth in followers and 26% digital channel shift, we support them in providing a great customer experience, with an ROI to boot! Want to know how Orlo could help you to provide great CX on your customer’s favourite channels too? Click here to book a demo now!

As Senior Digital Consultant at Orlo, Jack is passionate about helping public sector organisations connect with the citizens they serve by working with them to develop and enhance their digital engagement strategies.