I am super excited to have the opportunity to attend the upcoming International Programs Marketing Conference (IPMC) which is being hosted by GoOverseas just days after the NAFSA Annual Conference in Berkeley, CA. They have an amazing schedule and excellent speakers lined up. In order to give you a better understanding of what this conference is going to be about I decided to go right to the source. Here is an interview with Mitch Gordon, CEO of GoOverseas. There are still a few spots remaining and I highly encourage you to consider attending this awesome and extremely inexpensive event.
1. What does GoOverseas do?
Go Overseas is the Yelp/Trip Advisor for programs abroad. We’re a community site for students, and others searching for a great program abroad. We have two main missions that we’re equally passionate about: 1) To help students and travelers make more educated and informed decisions when choosing a program abroad. 2) To encourage more students to study abroad. I think many students are still too intimidated to study abroad. We want them to use Go Overseas and say, “Yes, I can study abroad. If all of these other people can do it, I can too!” We want to help people get over that decision hump and actually make the decision to study abroad. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I feel incredibly passionate about my belief that study abroad changes lives. I still think it should be a degree requirement!
Many focus on the review component of Go Overseas. We look at reviews as just a part of what we do. Our primary goal is to promote study abroad in all forms: Through great articles, alumni interviews, interviews with study abroad staff & advisors and through alumni reviews. We welcome anyone and everyone to join us in this mission!
2. How did you come up with the idea for IMPC?
Our partners were increasingly looking at us as experts and asking us to help them with all different types of marketing decisions: How to structure their website, content development, Google Analytics, A/B testing, lead tracking, etc. We thought, “Why don’t we create a conference where we can help everyone learn all at once!” More than anything else, we created the IPMC Conference as a service to our partners and the study abroad community in general. As you can see from the pricing, we’re not making money on this Conference. We’re doing it to help.
We also wanted to help organizations make more informed decisions when it comes to the ROI of their marketing dollars. There are companies that are still selling banner ads, linked listings, top of page rankings, etc. Other fields haven’t been selling advertising in that format since the early 2000s. It still happens in Study Abroad, which I think is unfortunate. We’re in a field where marketing budgets are relatively limited. Our goal is to help these organizations make better decisions with their limited marketing dollars.
3. Who should attend this conference?
Two type of people should attend the IPMC: 1) Leaders of Study Abroad & Intl Ed organizations. 2) Marketing departments. From the agenda, you can see that we’re focused on some very cutting edge topics. These skills will help marketing folks grow in their jobs, starting from the day after the conference. Leaders & executives should attend because it’s important to understand online marketing these days. Millennials make more and more of their decisions online. Students, after all, are 100% millennial. It’s important to understand how millenials think and what motivates their decision making process.
4. What are some of the highlights people can look forward to if they attend IMPC?
I’m looking forward to a lot of the speakers. Our keynote speaker, Kyle Rush, ran the online fundraising campaign for Obama, raising nearly $1B dollars. I’m incredibly excited about his talk and we’re really lucky to have him. I think attendees are going to find Kyle extremely compelling and interesting. Another highlight will be the 1-on-1 meetings. All attendees will have at least one 1-on-1 meeting with one of the speakers. This will give them the opportunity to sit down with someone at Google, MOZ, Facebook, etc. and learn directly from them.
5. How were you able to get such great speakers?
We’re lucky that we’re based in San Francisco. As a result, our network includes people at companies speaking at our Conference (Google, Facebook, Hubspot, MOZ, Optimizely, Salesforce). We worked these connections to help make the workshops and sessions as useful as possible for attendees!
6. What do you hope people will people take away from this conference?
We want the IPMC Conference to be the most workshop-oriented Conference you’ve ever attended. We’re focused on making it extremely tangible and interactive. Our goal is for attendees to learn in a very hands-on way. We want attendees to be engaged, with their laptops open, actively learning.
Mandy, I know you’ll let us know how we did when the conference is over!
Mitch Gordon, CEO, GoOverseas, @MitchGordonGo
The following is a guest blog post by Victoria Mita, Director of FundMyTravel. She describes how anyone can use social media to be able to generate funds for their study abroad adventures. It really is much easier than it sounds! Victoria offers some great tips and advice for anyone out there wondering how they are going to make their travel dreams come true!
Fortunately, the entertaining and rewarding aspects of crowd-sourced funding also happen to be the most vital ingredients to making a successful campaign pie. Don’t worry, that’s enough with the recipe metaphor, but I am going to break this down and you know, social media will be the cherry on top (right, I promise that’s the end of it.)
Pointer 1: This should never feel like asking for a hand-out. That’s no fun for anyone.
Whether you’re doing an online fundraiser to cover the costs of airfare, trying to scrounge up the remainder of a program fee, or just need a little something for visa and study materials, tapping into your online networks simply makes sense. It’s not about taking advantage of friends and family as a financial resource but it is about community building and gaining their support to reach your goals. Whether they can and want to offer support in monetary or moral form is up to them, but communicating your ambition and making it exciting is your job. Just as with any other project, you are only going to get out of it, what time, effort and activity you put into it, but as I said: that is the fun part!
· Time Investment: this sounds like a drag in written form, almost like another thing added to the to-do list or some type of personal homework assignment. Instead, consider it a break from your other work. It’s really an outlet and a space for you to be expressive. The more time you put into making little Updates, adding photos, video or even creating your own perks, the more it is going to benefit you and your longer term goals, while you’re abroad…
· Effort Investment: This is just about being consistent. If you’ve made the decision to do this and create a campaign in the first place, you might as well go all out and do it right all the way through. You can think of it as if you decided to join a sports team- Aim to make it to the championships and win. Just remember, if it does ever going slowly or your current efforts aren’t paying off, then it’s simply a matter of changing it up. (More on how in the next tip…)
Pointer 2: Never forget to say ‘Thank You,’ but offer more than your undying gratitude. Get creative!
If you’re putting in all that time and effort, be sure to make it engaging for yourself too. When you carry out a fundraising campaign in conjunction with something else that you love to do, all of your passion, determination and motivation become contagious for your page viewers because it’s genuine. If you can share the reasons you are so fired up and driven to make this goal a reality, then potential donors and other supporters are more likely to join your team and help build up that momentum, needed to keep your campaign going. SO, find a personal area of interest and loop it into the way you Update your campaign.
· Into Arts, Music, or Film?
o Write a little song for everyone who donates or shares your page themselves.
o Create a painting or drawing for donors and mail it to them from home or away.
o Make a video, make multiple videos! Even if you’re no cinematographer it’s fun.
· Into Literature, Writing, or History?
o Find/share quotes that connect with your feelings in anticipation of your trip.
o Create a reading list relevant to where you are going and share with viewers.
o Make a blog about your trip before leaving. Share links every time you Update.
o Explain the history and culture of your destination via video, blog or illustration.
· Into Service, Sports, or Cooking?
o Host a shindig around any theme of choice, and accept donations for organizing.
o Invite friends over to watch a sports game/have a board game night and ^
o Sign up for a marathon or walk/run to gain sponsorship for your campaign.
o Get some friends together to bake and sell the delicious treats for donations.
o Inform supporters you will put in community service hours for donations.
These kinds of ‘offline’ activities are just as important to bring into your online campaign experience. It makes the whole thing more meaningful to you and everyone else who gets involved. Just remember to communicate these extra efforts an ‘offline’ donation gains with your audience through Update sharing*
Pointer 3: This is MOST important for thee. Sharing can make the difference between flight and visa fee!
The biggest and most important influencer in your campaign’s success is the amount of exposure it gains. This is in large part up to you and those efforts we talked about earlier, but if you’ve kept your Updating and activity consistent, then your supporters and viewers end up doing a lot of this work with you. Allow me to explain why and how this all works out-
Dispelling the myths:
It’s obnoxious to over share.
· This could be true if you’re discussing something which is only of interest to you, but now you’re well aware that this whole experience is a relationship-building project! As long as the Update content is related to new photo, video, blog link or action you’ve taken, it is fun to see and read about. Likewise, the more activity that you have surrounding your campaign efforts, the more exciting, interesting and meaningful it will be to you, and so the same goes for your trip abroad.
· There’s nothing obnoxious about it, if you make something worth sharing. People and online audiences in particular, like to see positivity. They like to see someone who works hard, achieve their goal, and they like to be a part of the process. Making and sharing meaningful Updates on a daily basis also gives you more ownership on the whole project. It’s no longer just some online fundraising campaign. When you sort out how to communicate and relate this content to your audiences frequently and meaningfully, you’ve then developed a skill, a knowledge base and an experience that is highly valued and relevant to future employers, organizations, mentors, study abroad and admission offices within universities, the list goes on.
Facebook makes personal letters obsolete.
· This one is laughable. While many people are hip-to-the-groove with Facebook these days, it’s not safe to assume that all of the people who should see your page are on it or always checking their Facebook. In fact, a large percentage of a campaigner’s target audience may not even have Facebook- believe it or not. Even if they did, the impression made by writing a personal message to potential donors, is invaluable. They still may not all give, but they are going to be more interested to support your efforts and inform others who they think would give, than anyone you did not take the time to write a letter to. This can be done via email and go a long way, depending on your message, but nothing compares to the old fashioned snail mail. The fact that so many people communicate through the internet so often now, actually increases the value of those offline and in-person acts of thoughtfulness…
Once is enough.
· This could be true, if it meant once every hour... Honestly, I know it sounds excessive but, especially because of the way social media platforms are designed to refresh their content, you can share your campaign page two times in a single day and still have it overlooked. The best approach is to share multiple times within the week, of course with new content as often as possible, and then share out via multiple platforms, not just Facebook. Use facebook, twitter, Google+ and email. If you do not have accounts on all of these platforms, it’s something to consider. Twitter and Google+ may not be everyone’s jam right off the bat, but do trust in the long-term and bigger picture, it will only behoove you in business and future communication ventures to develop this presence.
Victoria graduated from Loyola University Maryland with a Bachelors in Education. Her first immersion experience was possible through class fundraising and took her to Lyon, France. She's had a passion for learning through travel ever since. Victoria studied abroad and later worked in Australia. She has presented English Speaking and Resume Building workshops in Macau, China and also worked at the Embassy of Australia, for the Education Team at Austrade. After her time with the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training in Adelaide, Australia, Victoria returned to the US and began work with GoAbroad.com. Now she directs FundMyTravel.com, which offers an online funding platform for meaningful travel experiences. Victoria takes immense joy in working with students to help them realize their dreams abroad.
The past few weeks I have been thinking about and talking about why I got into social media and I thought I would write a post about why I got into social media and also give other people a chance to tell their story.
I think my story is a little unique since I fell into completely by accident. I had no desire really to do anything with it for international education and was actually taking a teaching with technology course; however, I wasn't teaching at the time but, I had plenty of study abroad students I could put to good use. I started with blogs and they were so successful that this progressed to Facebook and Twitter and it has literally exploded from there.
This wasn't even something I was planning on making a side business out of to be quite honest but as I keep trying out more and more things (I am more of a hands-on type of person) the more people came to me with questions. That has resulted in what is now Mandy's Mashups.
Now, what is your story as it relates to how you came to social media? Did you come into completely by accident? Or did you start off for personal reasons and then decide or feel pressured to try it out for more professional purposes? I would love for you to comment below and let me in and why you got involved with social media. No reason is too big or too small!!
More posts coming soon. I have a whole series of exciting guest posts coming your way!! Stay Tuned!!
When I was in school, checking my Facebook page (or MySpace when it was cool) would easily get you detention. In fact, I’m pretty sure the site was blocked on school computers. Recently, however, I thought since technology and social media communication permeates the modern world, why is it not part of the education system? Although most social media sites were created primarily for personal communication, now we are seeing how they can be assets in the professional sphere. In my opinion, students should be learning how to manage these sites responsibly and use them to their advantage.
I asked my younger sisters who are in high school and middle school if they had updated the computer class curriculum since I had been there, and I was shocked to learn they are still spending the class period learning to type!
Kids these days are basically born knowing how to type and manage electronic devices so why are we wasting time teaching them how to type? With all the instant messaging, texting, and computer usage by children and young adults, they are probably typing more wpm than their teachers.
That being said, it’s about time Facebook is introduced to the classroom because it can greatly benefit the younger generation to learn how to use social media sites correctly and in a way that can potentially enhance their future professional lives. One of the reasons social media sites are so shunned in school is because of the trouble kids find themselves in by misusing them – bullying, jealousy, illegal activities, etc. can all be attributed to irresponsible posts made by individuals. If children were taught social media etiquette from the beginning, and informed of the potential consequences of abusing Facebook, I think a lot of the stigma of social media could be erased.
Also, with computer technology being such a vital part of the workplace, I think students should learn more in-depth computer skills than typing. If students learned basic programming skills and how to operate more advanced programs than Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, we would be seeing incredible technological advances in our society.
If I were to re-write computer classroom curriculum, this is what I, Kimberly, would include:
1. Classroom blog (All students would take turns posting. This can enhance those typing skills while also including creative writing, social interaction, and expanded knowledge on a certain topic)
2. Social media etiquette
- Privacy settings
- How to present yourself in a positive manner (none of those self-pictures in your bathroom mirror of you making a duck face while giving a peace sign)
- Social media in professional setting (FB business page, marketing, etc.)
3. Basic computer programming (It is such a needed skill now! Imagine if it became second nature for the young generation)
4. Website construction (Using a basic site like Word Press or Google sites, students can make their own personal site or be creative by making a site for an imaginary business)
I have no background in education, so I have no idea how this would actually play out, but I think technology education needs a kick in the pants in some schools!
Does anyone know of schools that are taking this initiative to amp up computer classes? What else would you include in these classes?
A dear friend and I in Toronto, Canada
This may be a bit dramatic, but I am convinced I would not survive before the existence of Internet connections and online communication. Granted, this has to do with perspective; of course, I would not realize I was missing such an awesome tool for information and keeping in touch if it had not existed yet. All I know is I am thankful to be alive in this current age because I am not much of a snail-mail girl.
These thoughts came to me recently as I have been in the Dominican Republic for the past two and a half months. I found myself missing my friends and family back home when I realized I have nothing to complain about. With such easy access to social media due to the ever-increasing availability of Wi-Fi, I am frequently in contact with people from home. All I have to do is scroll through Facebook and I am immediately filled-in on people’s lives. Instagram, however, has been my preferred medium because it’s fantastic to just browse through photos without the clutter of lots of text and ads that Facebook can have. (It also makes me feel like a professional photographer with all the fancy filters.)
The benefit of using social media while abroad is a two-way street, however, because friends and family can keep up with me as well. Instead of calling or emailing parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends, all of these important people in my life (plus random acquaintances and the occasional stalker) are updated on my life in one fell swoop as I post photos and status updates.
One of the greatest ways social media has impacted my abroad experiences, however, is by giving me an ability to maintain friendships that began abroad. My Facebook friends consist of people I met on various trips, and I am so glad to be able to maintain those friendships today. I can honestly say if it weren’t for social media, I would never be able to communicate with so many people I met abroad. Although they were in my life for a brief period, we can maintain a relationship thanks to the upgrade from snail-mail.
All these advancements in social media communication, however, do come with a few drawbacks: it can be way more impersonal when I am not contacting to loved ones directly, so I make an effort to call or email those exceptionally special people (consider yourselves lucky ;)) Also, constantly being connected to people from home can distract from your abroad experience if you are not careful. Especially if you are only spending a semester abroad, it is important to take advantage of every minute in this new and exciting place. Home will be there when you get back, and I can bet you that not much will have changed in four months. I met too many people as an undergrad who I believe missed out on their experience abroad by being on Skype for hours at a time every day with people from home. Doing this, unfortunately, makes you miss home way too much and keeps you from making great connections with friends abroad.
I encourage those of you planning on going abroad to set a certain time of day or week for social media use, and catch up with friends and family during that time slot only, so you can take full advantage of exploring your surroundings!
How have you seen social media while traveling help or harm you?
Are there any apps or websites that are particularly helpful for communicating while abroad?
-Kimberly, Mandy's Mashups Intern
I recently learned about this great program offered by HootSuite for all those social media saavy college students. I thought I would post it here since it is a great way for college students to have their voice heard and increase their understanding of social media from a great company. If you don't have HootSuite I highly recommend it. It is the only way I am able to manage my time on social media.
According to HootSuite the gist of the program is
In one sentence, the program helps empower students to connect with each other, become leaders in the social media space at their school and community, as well as be the voice of HootSuite on campus. This program will give students a unique opportunity to build your own campus community and gain recognition by effectively using social media. By becoming a HootSuite Campus Ambassador, you will join an exclusive network of students from around the world, while at the same time gain valuable career experience.
I highly recommend that you share this with interested students you may know. Happy Hooting!
A topic that always causes people a little bit of concern when they think about social media use is using students to generate content. I wanted to address this topic in this post because I feel it is important for people to face their fears in some cases and hopefully this post will help alleviate some concerns.
Starting in the fall I employed a student, who had previously studied abroad, to be our Global Ambassador. One of the major duties of this position was to take on our social media campaigns. Rather than give her all our social media channels to work with I limited it to Facebook to start since this was the channel she has the most experience with.
I am here to tell you that our Facebook page has exploded with more interaction because of her work. We worked together to start and she came up with a theme each week to post on the page. She only works in the office about 5 hours per week so she doesn't have a huge amount of time to post. However, with the ability to schedule posts on Facebook pages, she has been able to work for only one hour per week and schedule posts for the entire week in that one hour. Some of the themes have included particular countries where we have programs, scholarships, and deadlines.
Her fellow students have loved her posts and I am able to track the interactions with Facebook insights. She also created a campaign, on her own, to increase the number of Fans we had and we were able to get 40 new fans in just a little less than a week.
Whenever I mention using a student as mentioned above some people cringe because they fear the additional work monitoring a student would entail. In all honesty I have done very little monitoring of her posts. What I did was explain to her in the beginning what I was looking for and emphasized the fact that she was representing our office and our institution and should keep that in mind when posting. That is all it took. Now, I know that not all students work out as nicely as she has but with a little guidance and some patience you can really make student work count. Her fellow students relate to her posts and we have made it seem as it is coming from our office which is a great for us.
I have posted a few screen shots of our page below.
I would love to hear what your experience has been with working with students in regards to social media. No story is too small.
Sorry this has taken be so long to write but my full-time job seems to have gotten in the way a little bit lately. But better late than never I suppose.
As I said in my previous blog, my next blog, this blog, would be my thoughts on social media engagement and interaction.
I want to start off my saying that I am obviously a huge fan of social media and believe that all organizations and individuals should be involved in social media in some way since it is not going away and in fact is only going to continue to grow.
H0wever, with that being said, I also think it is extremely easy to become obsessed with social media and it can easily become your life. Do you ever notice those people that even in meetings can help but check their Facebook status or Twitter feed in the middle of the meeting or post what they ate for lunch as they are eating it? I will admit that sometimes I am in this person (not the lunch part though ;). However, I am come to also realize that in some cases in-person or direct contact of some sort is much more appropriate.
Many people have asked me in the last couple of years if I think social media will replace all in-person contact. My answer to that is no. I think it is still important to have direct contact with people. What I also tell them is that social media can play a part in generating this direct contact because it creates the ability to meet people and network which then leads to these direct contacts. I can't tell you the number of people I have met because of me stepping into the social media realm that I would never have had the opportunity to meet without being on Facebook and Twitter. I will also say that it is a little strange to talk to someone for years, virtually, via Facebook and Twitter, but have never met them. But, once I do meet them, it is like I already know them due to our social media interactions.
So while I do think that social media is important and extremely useful I don't think it is taking away from or making people more impersonal. In fact, I think it is doing the opposite in that it is generating more engagement just on a different level. Social media is, however, creating the need for us to teach our students, and even ourselves, how to understand the difference between social media "speak" and real world, in-person "speak". These are two different types of "speak" that cannot always be intermingled. Basically, this world of social media has come along and created its own vernacular and when people become so entrenched in it the forget how to use real world "speak". So it is up to use to continue to educate ourselves and those around us on when each of these forms of communication are used and how to use them appropriately.
Do you agree? What are you thoughts on this?
I thought I would write a post this time. I have had several guest bloggers lately but haven't really said anything myself so I thought I would weigh in on a few things.
Lately, there have been quite a few interesting posts about the use of social media. From everything to use in higher education to no longer needing business cards.
While I am an obvious supporter of social media these articles made me stop and think. I think social media tools are great and useful but the questions these articles and the use of social media in general have raised for me, and I know for many others, is does the use of social media make us more impersonal and anti-social in in-person settings? Also, do you think kids/students today are more or less engaged as a result of social media use?
I know these are not easy questions to answer but I thought I would put them out there and see what you think about them.
I will post what I think in another blog in the next week or so but I don't want my opinions to sway yours. I want to see what others really feel about this topic. What have your interactions with students and colleagues made you think in regards to these questions?
I look forward to reading your comments!
Many people in international education often wonder "Why should I use social media?" or will say "I work in international education so how does social media fit?" In this post I want to address this idea.
All of this, of course, is my opinion but it is based on over five years experience in the field of international education which includes starting my own office from scratch, working in a one-person office, as well as developing and implementing faculty-led programs among many other duties.
I have found social media to be a perfect fit for international education. Here is why.
It allows people who are being asked to do more with less to be able to continue to do more. For example, instead of having to read three or four newspapers every day or go to four or five different websites I receive the news instantly via my Twitter account or through Facebook. For instance, when the State Dept. posts a travel warning it hits Twitter first before it hits my email. This also allows me and others who I have talked to about this to actually more effectively and efficiently do our jobs because it saves time and we actually get the news much quicker and can respond, if need be, much faster.
In addition, I am also able to monitor much more closer what is being said about my programs as well as my office. Instead of waiting for a complaint to come in via someone calling or coming in in-person (which they still do), I can monitor the internet using key terms as well as various social media sites to see what students are saying about our programs and can address any issues (positive or negative) much faster. (People actually do say some really great positive things about what people are doing within international education that most won't know about unless they were on social media.)
Finally, I love using social media to promote our programs. I post photos, repost student blog entries, post news articles and much more. This not only allows me to let other students know about the great things we are doing but also lets faculty, other universities, our providers, as well as the general public know the great things our students are doing to make themselves citizens of the world.
Social media really does have reach. I have actually been contacted by the press after posting information about a program. So what you post really does matter.
These are only some of the reasons that international education and social media are a great fit. I encourage others within the international education field who are using social media to add further to my list by commenting to this post.
Thanks and more soon!
P.S. You can also find out about a lot of great free or low cost resources, workshops, and webinars by being on Twitter and Facebook. With these economic times that is a major plus.
This blog is all about social media. I hope to offer tips, tricks, advice and more on using social media within international education and international travel.