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How To Strengthen Alumni Community Management To Boost Network Engagement
Five actionable tips to help community managers strengthen their Corporate Alumni Community Management efforts to boost network engagement.
With more employees now regularly working from home, business communities can feel somewhat disbanded. It’s rarer to be in the same room as your peers, and in-person work events that previously brought people together are happening less frequently.
Despite the disconnect, it makes more sense than ever to keep close to prior employees who are serving as brand advocates, business lead generators, and more. As such, it makes sense that corporate alumni community management is currently top of mind for many innovative businesses.
To help community management experts smooth the way for sustained engagement within your alumni network, we have put together a few insider tips.
Five Top Tips For Effective Corporate Alumni Community Management
1. Gather Alumni To Your Platform(s)
Where will you be engaging with your alumni? This is the first and most critical question you need to ask yourself.
Some of the most successful businesses in the world prefer to house their community on a dedicated app or web platform. Doing it this way means the community manager can focus solely on adding value to the network by tracking engagement and important metrics. The business’ brand is front and center, and the CMGR has more control over potential outcomes.
However, it’s also critical to remember that employees and alumni already have countless digital platforms to interact with these days. As such, you may encounter some friction when asking them to adopt yet another online tool that will be vying for their attention.
This is why it’s often a good idea to integrate alumni onboarding into your employee onboarding process. At that stage, people are eager to sign up, and are primed and ready to start work for your company.
Another idea is to find your alumni where they are; i.e., leverage the ready-made functionality and reach of established platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to your advantage. The odds are that your alumni already hang out on these sites, so they only need to like and follow an extra account to receive your messaging. This is a lot more friction-free.
2. Survey To Get Insights
The next step is to get into the nitty-gritty of the type of content, events, initiatives, and opportunities your alumni will appreciate and respond to in general. The best way to do this is simply to ask them.
If you didn’t do it during onboarding, then, while offboarding, invite departing employees to join your alumni community. This is an opportune moment to ask what matters to them. Approach them with a simple survey request to tick off point-by-point what they want to be involved in on your alumni platform, for example:
- News on the achievements of other alumni
- Opportunities to get involved with charity initiatives by Company XYZ
- Job opportunities at Company XYZ, linked to referral bonuses
- Part-time consultant and contingent positions available at Company XYZ
- Tender opportunities at Company XYZ, linked to referral bonuses
- Mentoring of current employees
- Continued learning through the business
The feedback from this type of survey can be invaluable for establishing your long-term engagement pillars. With that in place, you can use the insights from your various platforms to see which initiatives perform well and do more of what gets results.
3. Identify Your Yardsticks
Identify what your measures of success will be early on. There are many ways to determine whether any given engagement platform is performing optimally. However, if you don’t know which yardsticks are important to you, it can be challenging to know whether your alumni community management efforts are successful or not.
Discuss the matter at length with your C-suite roleplayers to see what type of feedback they would like to receive regarding the alumni program. They might prefer to measure progress at the hand of specific KPIs such as sign-up numbers, program member retention, etc. On the other hand, they may want to be kept in the loop regarding content traction and social shares.
Determine this early on so you can start measuring from day one.
4. Post Regularly and Create Compelling Content
A quiet online community is never going to be a successful one. To promote engagement, you need to keep the conversation going.
However, coming up with content ideas and generating posts on the fly can be tiring and somewhat uninspired. Here are a few game-changing pointers to keep top of mind when it comes to creating compelling content for your alumni community.
Your content should be valuable to your network one hundred percent of the time. Offer this by focusing on personalization, connection, authenticity, and transparency. Mix up your line-up with a variety of educational, relatable/inspirational, promotional, and engagement posts:
● Educational posts: opinion pieces, informative articles, tips and hacks, case studies, tutorials and training, fact sheets, etc.
● Relatable/inspirational posts: behind-the-scenes footage, employee stories, founders’ journeys, success stories, quotes, charity initiatives, etc.
● Promotional content: information on exciting new products and services your company offers, special discounts, limited access promotions, etc.
● Engaging content: posts asking for input/advice, pulse surveys, giveaways, etc.
5. Be Consistent and Be Human
To uphold a space your community regularly returns to and engages with, it is crucial to be consistent. Consistent in the sense of creating a welcoming, recognizable space and coming across as relatable when interacting with your network members. After all, your alumni have left your business – they are in no way obligated to continue to engage.
For instance, if you are usually conversational, friendly, and a little quirky in your language with employees, stick to that tone of voice when engaging with alumni. Likewise, tailor your imagery and alumni ‘brand’ colors to speak to your corporate branding, but to be easily distinguishable nonetheless.
Also, remember to be human when interacting; people respond to people. Stay open, agile, and compassionate. Respond to difficult commentary with grace, and positive commentary with joy and excitement. In the end, it’s your humanity as community managers that will set your apart.
Effective alumni community management requires proper planning, execution, and follow-through. Start by gathering alumni to your platforms and surveying them to get insights. Identify your yardsticks, post regularly, and create compelling content that your network is eager to engage with. Most importantly, be consistent and be human.