Joanne Hunter BUS 511 Stephens College February 27, 2011
National College of Business is a for-profit career college, which began in 1886 in Roanoke, Virginia operating in the southeastern and east-central United States. Today, it has approximately 20 campuses in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Indiana awarding credentials ranging from vocational certificates to the Master of Business Administration degree. Subjects taught include accounting, health information technology, pharmacy, paralegal, computer technology, hospitality and tourism, broadcasting technology, and emergency medical technology. National Collegeâ€™s latest campus in Memphis, Tennessee opened in 2006 and during that year was recognized by the Better Business Bureau as a finalist for the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. National Collegeâ€™s main goal is to prepare students to effectively enter the workforce and the majority of their faculty are practicing professionals in their fields. Emphasis is also placed on accommodating working adults wishing to further their education with evening and weekend class schedules. One of their biggest advantages is small class sizes and one-on-one attention with faculty [Wikipedia, 2011].
This organizationâ€™s current strengths in its marketing strategies include using television media as well as newspaper and social media websites to advertise their programs. Their weakness in advertising would be underutilization of their social media sites in order to target their audience effectively. In essence, they are missing the opportunity to effectively capture this audience by not maintaining and monitoring this site well enough. Access to Facebook is not given to students or faculty from campus computers, which limits traffic to these sites as well as utilization by staff and faculty. There is no opportunity for instructors to use these sites for interaction with students on campus. As it stands, even though National College has Facebook,
Twitter and You Tube links on their website, these sites are really only being used to post current events. The target audience of National College is primarily first-time college students as well as working adults wanting to update their skills for advancement in their careers. Their main goal is to train students to enter the workforce with the current technological skills in order to be successful in the business world.
The overall goal for National College of Business and Technology in regard to their social media strategy will be to increase enrollment for new students as well as to increase retention for current students. The smaller goals they will need to achieve first in order to achieve the overall goal will be to improve advertising for their social media sites in order to increase traffic to these sites as well as to use them for customer service issues as well as to build communities between students. Some other goals include networking for students and providing resources to help them with obtaining financial aid, and higher grades through study resources. National College does have some of the social media tools in place to achieve this goal; however, more social media sites can be added. They can also greatly increase traffic to their current sites by providing better access for students and faculty in order to maximize utilization of their current sites.
A few social media sites that would greatly benefit National College in their overall social media strategy include Cramster, Zimride, and Zumeo. Cramster is a free online study community that is an excellent resource for college students. Some of the features it offers are
homework question help, textbook solutions, study resource links and a blog on study tips. The homework question feature gives students the ability to ask questions about their homework and get an answer back in as little as 2 hours. It also gives students practice problems to learn difficult concepts and allows them to make their own customized quizzes in order to assess their knowledge level. This website is maintained by Chegg, which is a company that offers an alternative to purchasing textbooks for students by allowing them to rent or lease their books for a lot less than the purchase price. This extensive online community is made up of college and high school students, teachers, professors, parents, all of whom contribute to the vast collection of study resources on this site. This site is an excellent source for any student as well as educators looking for new ways to reach their students. In fact, Cramster claims that 92% of their users say that this site helped them keep or raise their grade [Cramster, 2011].
Zimride is another excellent site for college students. Zimride advertises itself as a simple way to find friends, classmates and coworkers going the same way you are. It combines social networks and a route-matching algorithm to help you find social convenient transportation in the form of ridesharing. Zimriders can view profiles of other students for common networks, interests and friends before deciding to share a ride. Facebook has also recently offered Zimride a fund grant in recognition of their useful and innovative integration with their platform. This site also offers a community driven solution for environmental problems as well as helping students who often do not have dependable transportation make it to their classes [Zimride, 2011].
A networking site highly recommended for college students is Zumeo. This site automatically creates an online resume with a brief description, your objective, experience, skills and education. Users can upload files, develop a portfolio, and showcase their projects. It also allows students to connect with other students, join company communities, and submit portfolios of their work [Zumeo, 2010]. Facebook Connect is a set of APIs from Facebook that enable Facebook members to log onto third-party websites, applications, mobile devices and gaming systems with their Facebook identity. While logged in, users can connect with friends via these media and post information and updates to their Facebook profile. Developers can use these services to help their users connect and share with their Facebook friends on and off of Facebook and increase engagement for their website or application. It then gives you a survey to fill out to determine your strengths and interests, which is then used to help find jobs that suit you. Therefore, this is an excellent networking resource for students.
Traditionally, National College has used mainstream tools such as commercials, newspapers, and bulletin boards to advertise their program. They have recently upgraded their efforts to include social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. However, they could add some other sites to complement their traditional marketing strategy and more effectively reach their target audience. Adding links for networking and more educational resources for students could greatly increase the traffic to Nationalâ€™s site as well as help with student retention as it will offer help for students struggling with their grades. These sites can help build a community for students to connect with each other for help with studying, networking for jobs, selling and
trading textbooks as well as just blogging about issues relevant to furthering their education. Once a connection between students is developed on these sites with students participating, friending each other and discussing issues related to National College, enrollment as well as retention is bound to increase. These sites can also be used to provide feedback between students and faculty. Many educators are integrating social media into their classroom since students are so comfortable with it and it is a great way to make learning stimulating and interactive.
There are many ways in which National College of Business can make a greater advertising impact with social media as it can greatly enhance their existing advertising. Although, National College is currently using Facebook, Twitter and You Tube as their social media sites, they are not advertised very well. They should promote the use of these sites more in their existing advertising methods as well as on their website with colors, log- ins and links to their social media sites. They could use the help of a social media consultant in order to determine the best method for them to utilize their social media sites. Their current strategy for using social media is not of much benefit to them and there is practically no involvement by students on these sites. Currently, the sites are simply being used to post current events by administration. They must have a plan for increasing student involvement on these sites as social networking without a plan is useless and can be a disaster. They must also be consistent with their message. If you are promoting a subject on one site such as customer service on Facebook, but then totally ignoring your customer on Twitter, you are sending a confusing message to your customers [e-WebSmart, 2010]. National College seems to be sending a confusing message to their students by having social networking sites, but not allowing access to them on campus. The first step they should
take is to offer better access for students and faculty in order to promote greater usage of the sites.
The next step should be to add more social media site links to their webpage. There are many online resource communities that could benefit National College students of which Cramster, Zimride and Zumeo are only a few. Finally, as part of their strategic social media plan, National College should hire a social media consultant to advise them on how they are currently doing and what they can do to improve their social media sites. After they have applied the findings of the consultant, they will need to continuously monitor their siteâ€™s traffic to measure how they are doing. Obtaining regular feedback from students and faculty is another good way to measure their progress as customer satisfaction is the number one goal. Overall, improving their use of social media as an advertising tool can greatly benefit National College in many ways. It can lower their advertising costs significantly as well as promote student enrollment and retention. It can also provide many benefits for their students and faculty in the form of higher grades and classroom interaction. The greatest benefit will be the connections and communities it can build for their customers and the family type environment that can be created for their school.
Cramster.com. (2011). Need Homework Help? Retrieved on February 20, 2011. E-Websmart.com (2011). Retrieved on February 20, 2011. Wikipedia. (2011). National College of Business and Technology. Retrieved on February 18, 2011. Zimride. (2010). Rideshare Resources. Retreived from http://www.zimride.com on February 21, 2011. Zumeo.com. (2011) College, It Will End, We Can Help. Retrieved from http: //www.zumeo.com on February 21, 2011.