Alumni relations the Australian way
June 24, 2014
The Aga Khan University’s Communicators’ Network June meeting was the forum for a special presentation by Ruby Lee, Digital Communications Manager, Advancement Office, University of Melbourne. The presentation, which lasted for about an hour included an in-depth discussion of social media and how it can be utilized to engage the University’s alumni.
Lee pointed out that in 2010, the University of Melbourne’s alumni were not represented in any social media even though their communication preferences had changed. It was in the University’s interest to communicate with them using their preferred channels and so a strategic plan to use social media was developed. Resisting the temptation of setting up an alumni presence in every social media platform, Lee preferred to focus on generating momentum and success on each separately, rolling out an alumni presence one by one on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest knowing that each thriving community would strengthen the next.
LinkedIn was originally set up for alumni in North America. It now has several ‘closed’ groups of alumni, organised by region. In 2011, the Melbourne University Alumni Facebook page was launched, during the December graduation, with the aim of increasing young alumni engagement. The launch gained more than 4,000 fans and currently, there are over 18,000 fans on the Alumni page.
In the following year @UOMAlumni was established on Twitter. Lee started using different hash tags such as #UOMAlumni and #UOMGrad for different social media competitions. For example, the “Alumni on the World Stage” competition asked alumni to share photos from their current location and then use #UOMAlumni hash tag. The photos shared via Twitter were featured in the Melbourne University Magazine website.
Most recently, the “Alumni in the News” board was created within the University Pinterest account. It targets current students and introduces the alumni community to them.
This was the first time that a presenter from an Australian university had participated in the Communicators’ Network meeting. The forum provides AKU communicators from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, the USA and UK an opportunity to come together once a month and to discuss a variety of communications issues.