The Alumni Engagement Matrix – How Do You Score?

The Alumni Engagement Matrix – How Do You Score?

This blog will be discussing the Alumni Engagement Matrix and how it can be applied to your institution.

If you are being really honest, how would you score your institution’s level of on-line alumni engagement?

More importantly, do you understand why you are achieving the alumni engagement levels that you are?

Alongside being easy to access and use, there are two critical ingredients needed in engaging alumni: (a) strong brand and (b) valuable content.

The on-line alumni engagement equation is a simple one:

Brand x Content equals Engagement (BC = E).

The Alumni Engagement Matrix below categorizes the different levels of alumni engagement based upon an institution’s content and brand value scores.

Often the engagement outcome is very intuitive. For example, in the education world, a school that has a world class brand AND is providing access to world class content will result in, unsurprisingly, relatively high alumni engagement, as per the Alumni engagement matrix – a ‘big star’. Think of the Harvards and Oxfords of this world as examples.

At the other extreme, a school with a weak brand AND providing weak content will result in relatively low engagement. As per the matrix – a ‘dog’. Again no surprises here.

However where it gets interesting is when a school is not in the luxurious position of having both these core ingredients but has to choose to focus on just one.

Which should you focus on delivering first, exclusive content or brand power?

To try and answer this question, Graduway took a sample of 43 alumni networking platforms in the education space, with over 40,000 users. Graduway correlated both the brand power and content being provided with the resulting level of engagement.

The brand value for each school was set at High (8), Medium (6) or Low (4) based upon school rankings. The higher the rank, the higher the brand value.

The content value for each school was set at High (8), Medium (6) or Low (4) based upon the number of jobs, events and news items posted by the school each week.

Finally, for each of the 43 platforms the level of on-line engagement was measured by the number of engagement acts per 100 users for the previous 30 days. This included the number of discussions, comments and photos on each platform.

In the matrix below you will see the average level of engagement with different levels of brand and content values across these 43 networks.

The analysis shows consistently that the engagement was highest where content was chosen over brand. For example a medium ranked brand with high valued content (1395%), performed stronger than a high ranked brand with medium content (1029%).

It seems clear that a school, if given the choice, should prefer improving its content value over its brand value.

The implications are significant as it may well mean changing your institution’s focus toward providing higher quality content over direct brand building. Furthermore, schools cannot necessarily blame the quality of the brands they have inherited with the low levels of engagement they are achieving.

Stronger content will lead to better engagement. And guess what, with that better content and engagement, the virtuous cycle will in turn lead to you building a stronger brand.

Do you agree that content ultimately will always trump brand value? And do you have experience of building a brand via the provision of better content?

I would welcome your thoughts.

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