LinkedIn is a powerful platform that helps colleges and universities strengthen alumni networks, share achievements, and promote initiatives and events. But few institutions have attempted to leverage the power of LinkedIn Influencers to drive engagement and name recognition.

LinkedIn Influencers are networking superstars, CEOs, career coaches and thought leaders that provide advice by regularly publishing blog posts. Influencers have huge followings, think hundreds of thousands, regularly consuming their content. Each Influencer has a large global network and their advice-based posts are frequently shared.

Marketing your Influencers

At Longwood University, we created a week-long webinar program designed around four LinkedIn Longwood_Influencer2Influencers. During this program, we provided live web events to our own stakeholders and piggy-backed off the reach of our Influencers, capturing a global audience and gaining recognition for the University.

We created fresh, informative, and interesting content that remains available in our digital library forever. We re-purposed the same content for use on social media and other content marketing strategies. As we’re working to fuse together alumni and career services at Longwood, having this type of influencer content is particularly useful.

The program was a great way to build relationships with our Linkedin Influencers – Jeff Haden, Bruce Kasanoff, J.T. O’Donnell, and Stacy Donovan Zapar. We’re now making plans to continue those relationship moving forward.

Lessons learned

We just finished LinkedIn Influencers Week. Here’s what we learned and a few stats:

Our initial goal was to sign up alumni participants, but we were open to anyone and everyone joining. When the week was over, we had over 3,500 webinar registrations from nearly 2,000 individuals around the globe.

Having never tried this sort of digital initiative before, we weren’t sure what to expect. Our alumni engagement numbers were small with just over 50 registrations from alumni.

Bruce, Jeff and J.T. authored original posts on the LinkedIn blogging platform. They wrote about career-related topics, promoted their individual webinars, and the LinkedIn Influencers Week program within the posts. For many people around the globe, this was their first time hearing of Longwood University. You can read their posts here:

Their three posts combined received just shy of 60K views, more than 2,500 likes, and were shared more than 500 times.

As a higher ed engagement program, we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to this type of marketing. While the initial alumni footprint was only a fraction of our overall engagements, the global reach is undeniable. We were pleased with the results of our Linkedin Influencer Week at Longwood University and look forward to next year’s addition.

A big thanks to Paige Rollins and Parks Smith for their help with the program and putting together this post. 

 

Article Author

Ryan Catherwood

Ryan Catherwood

Higher Ed Live blogger and Former Host of Advancement Live
Assistant VP for Alumni and Career Services, Longwood University

Ryan Catherwood is the Assistant VP for Alumni and Career Services at Longwood University. Prior to joining Longwood, he was the Director of Digital Strategy in the University Advancement office at the University of Virginia. His work is dedicated to strategies that utilize events, crowdsourcing, inbound and content marketing, email marketing and social media community management in order to drive alumni and student engagement, participation, connections, networking, volunteerism and giving at Longwood University.