At SocialToaster, we’ve had the pleasure of assisting dozens of universities across the country with their advocacy marketing campaigns. Using our innovative platform, universities have organized both alumni and current students into advocacy programs that have helped them achieve a number of goals including:
- Driving awareness and tracking donations for “Giving Days” and other fundraising initiatives
- Facilitating a simple way for university-related sharing amongst all alumni/students/staff
- Allowing users to self-segment to customize their content experience
- Fostering a campus-wide or on/off-campus digital community
- Engaging with and learning more about their community
Why Are Universities Using Advocacy Marketing Programs?
Combining the power of word-of-mouth marketing with social advertising, an advocacy marketing program is a powerful digital distribution tool that is used to help build awareness of your university’s initiatives.
In an advocacy marketing campaign, your supporters (alumni, students, staff, professors) sign up to join your university’s advocacy program by linking their social media accounts to the program. This allows them to easily share your content and marketing messages to their social feeds. As an added incentive, your advocates can earn points and rewards when they share your messages to their feeds.
SocialToaster Platform Features That Universities Love
With over 70 universities currently using the SocialToaster platform, we’ve developed and executed hundreds of individual campaigns. We’ve used the feedback and lessons learned from these campaigns to create specific platform features that our university clients love.
Fundamental Program Features
Any great university advocacy campaign is built with the following fundamental features:
- Likes and Follows – Once a user has joined your program, we want to make it easy to connect with your university in as many ways as possible. The Likes and Follows feature encourages your advocates to like and follow your school’s social accounts. Feel free to have more than one account per social channel if you think it would be helpful to your users.
- Recruiting – Keep your program active by getting your advocates to recruit their friends. Each user gets a unique link that they can share on any social channels or websites they want. Interested in having an invite-only or closed program? SocialToaster makes it a breeze by incorporating password protection features into your program.
- Social Feed – The Social Feed pulls in published posts from your social media accounts and encourages your advocates to engage with those posts. We currently support Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Posting – Easily one of our favorite features! With the posting feature, your university can directly email your advocates content that has the social share messaging already configured. Your advocates simply click on the share button in the email, and the content is shared across all their connected social accounts.
- Posting Wizard – No need to create custom content, reuse content you’ve already posted on social, or highlight what other departments and schools have created. You simply put the link to the content into our post page and our posting wizard will take you through the process.
Advanced Program Features
On top of these basic platform features, SocialToaster also has several advanced features that allow universities to leverage their advocates in new and exciting ways.
- Recommended Sites or Pages – Are there websites or pages that might be helpful for your users to visit? Perhaps a Giving Day microsite or other fundraising platform? Information about upcoming events? Use the Recommended Sites feature to drive traffic to any specific site. You can also reward your advocates with points just for visiting.
- Pic Share – Do you have images that you want your users to share to their social feeds? Use our Pic Share feature!
- Pic Challenge – With our Pic Challenge feature, your advocates become your greatest content creators. You choose the hashtags and subject matter, they post their pics to Instagram and Twitter. Their content is then pulled into the SocialToaster platform where you can approve, judge, and display at your discretion.
- Surveys/Quizzes – Learn more about your advocates by asking them key questions. Create any number of surveys/quizzes/polls and they will display on your user portal.
- Mentions – Want to get your users mentioning specific hashtags or phrases but don’t necessarily need pictures? You select the phrases/hashtags and we’ll monitor a user’s social networks for those phrases!
Advanced-Advanced Program Features
Universities and their communities are often focused on an upcoming date or goal, so we’ve developed these SocialToaster features to help highlight them:
- Countdown – You specify the date and time, our platform sets a block in your user portal to start counting down. This feature can be used to indicate the end of a promotion, the start or end of giving day, and more – the possibilities are endless.
- Community Goals – Entice your entire community to work towards one goal. Once the goal has been hit (whether it’s a fundraising goal, recruitment goal, posting goal, or any other metric) you can send your entire audience a simple thank you message or reward. For example, you might want to send them a hi-res image of the campus to use as a background or screensaver as a thank you.
- Badges – Keep your users looking forward to their next share by using badges. Each time an individual advocate reaches a milestone, they are sent a congratulations message and awarded a sharable badge. You can use SocialToaster’s default images with your colors or create a custom set of your own.
The SocialToaster Admin Dashboard And User Portal
Each SocialToaster program comes built with our administrative dashboard and a customized user portal for your community.
In your administrative dashboard, you will be able to turn your campaign features on and off, design your user portal, and view user data. You’ll also be able to review detailed analytics about your campaign and your advocates.
In your customized user portal, your users will sign up, participate in activities you select, and learn more about the campaign. Here are some user portals for universities currently using SocialToaster to manage their advocacy marketing programs:
Florida State University
University of Virginia
Getting Started with SocialToaster
So, what does it take to get started with your own SocialToaster advocacy marketing program? When you sign up with SocialToaster, you’ll be assigned an account manager to help onboard you onto our platform and launch your custom campaign via a 60-Day Success Plan.
Each 60-Day Success Plan includes the following:
- Kickoff Call and Strategy Session – We’ll introduce you to your team and discuss the high-level strategy of the program including your program goals.
- Goals – You, along with your SocialToaster support team, will help create achievable goals for your program.
- Checklist – We provide an easy to follow checklist so that we can keep all program needs in order.
- Design – With your assistance, we’ll take any available brand images (as well as other design elements) and create a design for your program that is tailored to you.
- Training – You and your team will receive training sessions and live chat help whenever you need it.
- Testing – We thoroughly quality-check your program prior to launch.
- Compliance – We want to make sure that your program is compliant with sweepstakes laws, FTC disclosure guidelines, and 508 compliance guidelines. Don’t worry, we’ll review everything with you and make sure you are ready to go.
- Content Calendar – We’ll work with you to create a content calendar for the first 60 days of your program.
- Post Launch Support – We’ll be checking in with you to make sure that things are going smoothly 30 days after you have launched. We also provide you with online chat and access to our full support staff after you have “graduated” from our Success Plan.
Are YOU Ready to Get Started?
Do you have a fundraiser coming up (or are you in the middle of one)? Are you ramping up your ‘18-’19 applicant drive? Make your next initiative a success by leveraging the power and reach of your current students and past alumni through an advocacy marketing program.