I spoke at a class of Master’s students at ND and here’s their questions and my answers.  The class focused on social media but there’s a lot of good nuggets on general marketing.  At least, they thought they were good nuggets.

1. I read somewhere that no one is really influenced by Twitter. Is Twitter really useful (especially for keeping students engaged?)

No, I believe that Twitter is not currently used very much but students.  Facebook is better but you have to look at what you are doing to encourage participation and attention.  Marketing in the past didn’t have the direct feedback system that today’s social media has.  You will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t.

2. What is the trick to get people to follow your blog (work or personal)?

The trick is good content.  And using other people in your blog posts.  For instance, writing about others that you admire or want their attention gets them to notice you.

3. How do you get wary non-social media people to understand that it’s useful and it’s not going away and they are really missing out? I need help! How can I get other staff people on board and motivated to help update our program’s FB page? It takes a lot of time! I already did training on the basics and set them up with their own FB profiles and sent emails asking them to do specific things with the page and they still aren’t helping – they won’t even post pictures or events or anything, even though all of their students are on FB and it would really help them and our programs and students.

Are you sure this is the best way for them to help you?  For instance, we know that profs in a certain social science were not going to blog.  So we asked them to write a paragraph every other month and we would post.  That is working out better.  Forcing people to do what they think is your job won’t get you anything.  But asking them for information and then you taking it and using it in various communications vehicles will.

Another student:

1. What does he see as the best way to communicate with 23-30 year old people?

The old ways of marketing are not going to cut it.  There isn’t any all encompassing communications platform like TV, newspaper or radio.  You need to research your audience and know more than just 23-30 year olds.  You need to know more about demos to be able to reach them – early adopters, Pandora listeners, twitter users, etc…

2. What is the next up and coming technology that we could get a jump on?

New technology is flying in all the time.  Social Media aggregation, mobile communications and Real Time Search are the next big things.  Aggregation of all these communication platforms are what is trying to happen but it’s hard to figure out what’s next for the tech guys.  I would not worry about the next thing and try to figure out your audience first.  That and the things that we know work effectively like email and search.

3. Are there key words that get attention or some that people tend to ignore in email subject lines?

If you go to Blue Sky factory and Campaign Monitor, they share these terms all the time.

Another student:

1. What is the best way to communicate important information to students?

Use as many platforms as you can to communicate your message.  Listserv, facebook, calendars, posters, and table tents are the most effective.  Sidewalk chalk is unusual on campus so I would use that as well.

2. Our students do not read their e-mail. Would it be helpful to Tweet them that they have an important email?

No. They get bombarded in their email with stuff that is not important to them.  Most are not on twitter.  You need to find a way to cut out the garbage and get to them.  Direct mail might be more effective.  Or emailing their parents.  That way you know they will get it because the parent will be worried that whatever is must have been important enough to email them about it.

3. How many hours a week is required to keep Facebook updated?

Some people say they can do it in 15 minutes a week.  I believe it takes at least a couple of hours a week until you have a system down.  Facebook is more about customer service than social marketing.  Check out First Year Studies. They are all about customer service there.

4. How do I convince my co-workers that Twitter or Facebook are convenient and important to stay in touch?

By putting stuff there that they can’t get anywhere else.  I would not recommend either of these places for business information.  Now a secret group might be good for business but is secret really secret on Facebook?

Same question with our students?

Use as many communicate vehicles as possible.

Another student:

1.  I keep hearing people say, you need to use social media and have a Facebook account. Are there specific purposes for each type of social media and if so can you give an overview of the appropriate business uses of each?

I wish I could but this really depends on your audience.  You need to communicate with these people personally and ask how they would like to be communicated with.  Just because Facebook is there doesn’t mean you have to use it.  If your audience isn’t using it, what are you doing there?

Another student:

1. Can you recommend a simple “do’s & don’ts” for websites-some kind of online reference?

Sure.  There are lots of them but I like Sree’s tips.   And of course, my blog.  🙂

2. How can I use LinkedIn to stay current on industry trends? Is this better for certain professions?

Linkedin is getting much better.  What kind of industry trends are you looking for?  If it is communications, then I would use Marketing Over Coffee.  Christopher Penn and John Walls are awesome.  I recommend their podcast as well.  I listen to it every time I do the lawn.

3. How can I get invited to the OPAC Brown Bag Lunch & Learns?

By getting on the linkedin site or our list serv.

Another student:

1. Social media and audience:

a. Are certain types of social media communicating strategies more appropriate/effective for one audience and not another?

Yes, but there are no hard fast rules.  Again, it’s about studying your audience.  If you know what they like and how they communicate, then you can effectively talk to them.

b. Though facebook and linkedin are a popular social networking site, many, particularly those concerned with privacy or older generation users, are not connected to those sites. What is your “social media” strategy for reaching that type of audience?

I don’t have a social media strategy for reaching older audiences.  I use social media more for customer service than marketing and email is still way more relevant for older audiences.

2. Managing information:

At a minimum, how frequently should organizations/groups ‘connect’ with audience (send message out), so audience remains interested and engaged and aware of organization’s services.

When you have something of interest to say.  If you don’t, then don’t spam.

3. Trends/tools in social media:

a. How were you reaching your various audiences 3 years ago?

Email marketing and search.  Still effective today.

b. Are you doing anything differently now than you were three years ago?

Combining more communication tools and integrating all of them together.

c. Are you aware of any changes that mean you need to do things differently in the next year or two?

Be aware of real time search and friend recommendations.  Those are getting better.  Also be aware of geo-location services like foursquare and gowalla.

Here’s an insight.  If you are a communicator or marketer and you do not use have a smartphone or ipad,  if you are not playing games or communicating through these various outlets, you will not have a job soon.  This is where the world is going.  Don’t be left behind.  BTW, I still love print and I recommend it when the audience I know I’m after will be effected by it.  Print is still a great way to cut through the clutter of email.  I open all the mail I get that is personally addressed to me.

d. If you only had minimal resources and time and had to rely on one or two simple tools/approaches, what would they be?

Website, one sheeter (print piece on good paper and pdf) and email marketing.

Another student:

1.  Are there any regulations/ policies in regards with establishing a ND Facebook or Twitter account? Does the University have some restrictions?

OPAC.nd.edu had the guidelines on it.  But we had to move it.  It’ll be back up in a month when onmessage.nd.edu launches.

Another student:

Facebook:

The Notre Dame athletics facebook fan page has almost 10,000 fans. Other schools like Ohio State have almost 1 million. Notre Dame has such a strong national fan base, so what are we missing out on that will grow our page?

Yes, because we haven’t really sat down as a university and figured it out.  There are tricks for getting a lot facebook fans and we haven’t decided if we want to use them yet.

Another student:

1. For someone who is not familiar with the process — What are the steps for planning, creating, implementing and maintaining a social media marketing campaign for an organization?

Experience and failing a lot.  Don’t be sucked in by social media experts or gurus.  They should be able to tell you how many times they’ve blown it and what they’ve learned.  I don’t trust anyone who hasn’t actually done social media for a business.  It’s much much harder doing it than giving a presentation like I’m doing here.

Is there a difference between social media marketing for a non-profit and a for-profit?

Yes, for-profits need measurement tied directly to revenue.  For non-profits, it’s even more important because you  aren’t really selling anything.

2. Content is king for online communication…but for social media what is considered effective content, how often should it be updated, and by whom? Is there some kind of content plan or calendar that needs to be created and maintained?

All the time.  Yes, it’s the only way to keep track and keep yourself on schedule.  You track everything else, right?  Why not track social media?

3. I have not been proactive in using social media for myself professionally. (I only have a LinkedIn account.) Is it important to have a presence in social media for one’s career? If so, what are the best ways of creating an online footprint for professional use that is effective?

You need a strategy for yourself and stick to it.  You need to be able to measure your own digital footprint or digidentity (borrowing a term from Archrival Clint!).  This is how you will get a career in the future.  This digital bio is very important.

4. What resources do you recommend (online, books, people and groups) to keep up with the fast-changing online marketing communications technologies and methodologies?

Read the professional marketing bloggers.  Friend them on Twitter.  I don’t have time to jot them all down but I’ll do so at a later date.