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Jeremy Tiers: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. This is Jeremy Tiers from Tudor collegiate strategies, and you're about to check out the latest episodes of the mission admissions podcast. A show that's designed to help higher ed become better recruiters, communicators, marketers, and managers. Each week, I'll introduce you to an industry leader or difference maker who will share helpful advice, tips, and strategies that will help you grow professionally and personally.
Mission admissions is part of the enrollify podcast network and is made possible by gecko. An engagement platform that makes it easy for your team to deliver a better student experience. I'm excited to share my latest candid conversation. So let's get started.
Hey everybody, it's Jeremy tier, [00:01:00] and this is episode nine of the mission admissions podcast. I'm excited to dive right in with my latest guest. Jennifer Radkey. Jenna is an international speaker. Author trainer and strategic business leader, who is also the CEO of the national Institute for social media, an organization that offers social media training and certification programs.
Jen is also a mom of teenagers. So we have all kinds of fun stuff to talk about today, including a son who just started his first year of college down at Texas a and M she's also a Minnesota Vikings fan like me. Which is a good thing. Hopefully this year fingers crossed. So welcome to the show,
Jen Radke: Jen, thanks for having me, Jeremy.
I'm excited to be here.
Jeremy Tiers: I appreciate you spending some time with us today and there's a number of things I definitely want to pick your brain on. I would love to start though with this idea of having, you know, just gone [00:02:00] through the college search with your son. I'm always interested. I have neighbors across from me and next to me, who just like you in the last 12 months have, have lived it.
And it's been very interesting to get their point of view just from a parent lens. And so just, if you're willing to share with us, what, what were some of the biggest fears or concerns you had as a parent going through this process? Whether it was, again, you know, Minnesota to Texas is obviously a big, ultimately transition there.
Anything you're willing to share around that. Yeah,
Jen Radke: absolutely. So a piece of information I, uh, maybe haven't shared with you yet is I actually spent 12 years in higher ed admissions. And so when we started the process with my son, I wasn't very nervous about the admissions itself. Right. I know this right.
I know what we need to do. And I quickly found out that that's not necessarily the case [00:03:00] anymore. A lot had changed in the 10 years since I had left higher ed, not only the intricate see, uh, details about things like, um, universal app or how people are applying with test scores or not test scores in a edge of COVID world, but really kinda what was the method for the students to be prepar?
so what happened for me as quickly? I learned, I didn't know what I thought I knew and there wasn't anywhere to go find it. Uh, so I felt like I was a little lost in supporting my eldest, getting ready to go off to school. And then because of the communication has changed so much and we use social media.
Texting and, and those types of things a lot more than we did 10 years ago when I was in admissions, I was like, not in the conversations. I didn't even really know what schools he had applied to until I sat down at the kitchen table and said, [00:04:00] Hey, what have you done? Where are you going? So some of those concerns were just around being, um, whether or not I was being helpful.
then there comes the ones once I've realized where he was applying and only one of them was in the state of Minnesota. And I went, oh, now that provides all kinds of new things. And I couldn't say a word because I left Minnesota and went to Texas, uh, to school as well. So I couldn't say you have to stay close, but then it became things like, well, what does an out-of-state student need to be successful?
What should we know? As far as. Registration financial aid moving in, you know, what are the legal things we should have in place for an 18 year old, who is technically an adult, but will likely need support. For example, if they get sick, do you have a healthcare directive and power of attorney and that kind of stuff?
I hadn't [00:05:00] even thought about.
Jeremy Tiers: So where did you ultimately, you know, as somebody who's familiar, you know, at least with college admissions a little bit and how it works on your end, and then, you know, you obviously know what I do in my day to day. Colleges are sending a ton of emails, a ton of text messages to all different kinds of groups, students, and, and their parents throughout this process.
Where did you ultimately find a lot of that information? Did your son connect with his admissions counselor at a and M? Was it you went to the website? Was it a combination of
Jen Radke: things? It was a combination of things. Uh, a and M is humongous. , it's a massive institution. That's been around a long time. Um, so there wasn't.
And admissions counselor that he could reach out to. Um, so we did look a lot on the website, any emails that he would get, um, there were some groups on Facebook for parents that were entering for this year. So we asked a lot of, or could listen to, I [00:06:00] didn't actually ask a lot of questions, but, um, I could listen to a lot of the questions and answers that were being given.
we were a little fortunate because Paul, my son was, um, looking at the core of cadets, which is, uh, an ROTC program within Texas a and M. And therefore there was a little bit more of, uh, ease of contact between those folks. What do we need to know for somebody entering into the core? And, and so we had some additional contacts to look at there.
For the most part, it was trying to comb through websites and emails that we were
Jeremy Tiers: given. Well, and as somebody who kind of lives in part of that world in your day to day, I mean, what advice would you give anybody listening to this who works at a college? If they just want to. Make this whole process easier, not just for parents.
Right. And, and it doesn't have to be the website specifically. It can be, but just, what do you think, right. Knowing what you know, now, if colleges would just do maybe one or two things, [00:07:00] this would make this process a lot easier for families.
Jen Radke: I think everybody, but especially those in higher education. And I've been guilty of this as well.
Cause I spent a good portion of my life there. We need to simplify what we're doing. uh, less is more so create some helpful checklists differentiate, maybe your in-state students from your out-of-state students and provide resources. It's great to talk about all these wonderful accolades that your faculty have.
That's great because we want a quality program, but when it comes to the admissions process, help us through. by making it simple. What's the process. What's the path. Um, stop trying to impress us financial aid. Isn't super impressive. Right. Just tell us what we need to know and the steps we need to have it done.
And it is,
Jeremy Tiers: it's just, there's so many different steps in this process. And unfortunately it's not the [00:08:00] same at, at every institution. Right. And so anybody listening, just anything you can do from a communication standpoint, as Jen said to simplify, I continue to hear the same thing from, you know, again, the neighbors that I referenced earlier, just when they were actually able to connect with somebody at the school, their son and, and the daughter, and one example chose and, or.
Right read through some of the massive amount of emails they were getting. And they actually found a few that were a little bit more easy on the eyes and, and simplified the process to your point. It just, it makes at least part of what is a super stressful process easier. So how do you think social media plays into all of that?
Because this is your world. And I know you're very good at it. I gotta believe it probably is. Different from an impact for, you know, somebody like your son going through the process versus a parent. But if you were advising a college or university, just, you know, in terms of how they should be utilizing social media, uh, [00:09:00] going through that process again, what would you tell them,
Jen Radke: keep your audience in mind?
A lot of, uh, schools or the different ones that he looked at as well as the ones my junior currently is looking at for two years from now. when you go online and you look at their social, sometimes the message is just really convoluted and confusing. And you can't tell if they're speaking to a student or a parent or an alumni who might be a donor, or just putting out something for the sake of putting it out.
Right. Um, the schools that really attracted our attention on social and, and a, and M has some social channels that do this really. Are the ones who are keeping their audience clearly in mind. Right. And sharing the information that's relevant and important for that audience. And not trying to add a bunch of other stuff.
One of the challenges I think, for an institution is what does that look like? Because, [00:10:00] um, you know, when you've got a school, the size of, and we'll just use a and M as an example, they've got hundreds of channels. If. Thousands, uh, of different departments and different groups offering things on Facebook or Instagram and it's.
And so it's like, how do you keep that message on brand? How do you make sure that there are things that are being compliant that are sent out and, and that all just kind of goes back to having a good outline for your team and making sure that they're always addressing the audience and their needs. Um, it's a challenge.
I don't envy the large schools for having to, to manage all that, but it is, I think, important. We found it helpful when they were simply talking to the audience and if it was me as a parent on Facebook, Then they were giving different information than they were to my song on Instagram.
Jeremy Tiers: I don't think I've met a single higher ed professional that loved everything [00:11:00] about their technology stack.
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You need to check, get, go. You can learn more about their firstname.lastname@example.org slash RFI, and be sure to tell them that Jeremy and the RFI team sent you their way when you hit on the two platforms that I, you know, and all the data we have when we ask students and, and parents going through this process, Hey, if you're gonna go to social media for different colleges and universities that either the students looking at, or, or that their child is looking.[00:13:00]
You know, parents say, I tend to go to Facebook and students say, regardless of how many of these you let me check Instagram. Number one is where I go right now, more than I go any place else. So I wonder to your point, and, and I've heard other people talk about this and I'd love your take. Would it be helpful?
Is there enough advantages to a school saying, okay, instead of having 600 Instagram accounts or 600 Facebook accounts, we're gonna try to minimize this because then if we do that, how does that allow us to speak to our audience? Knowing that to your point, there are a bunch of different audiences we're trying to speak to.
Jen Radke: I do think that there is a value in consolidation to a point, right. Um, for example, perhaps the athletic department is all one channel, but you don't necessarily need a tennis, a soccer, a football, a swim, a, you know, et cetera, et cetera, [00:14:00] because typically somebody who's gonna be excited about the athletics is gonna be excited about more than just one.
Even if they're they're football fans.
It's challenging because like I said earlier, you know, like a and M is so large and we were fortunate because Paul was looking at the core of cadets. We had a smaller group of people to kind of contact. One of the challenges we had though, was that the information coming out from like student life and housing was not the same, uh, for us.
So I. oh, I don't even know at least a dozen packets from resident's life mailed to my door with how to buy bedding. Right. But my kids in the core of cadets, he has allowed white flat sheets and a maroon comforter period. Right? Like there's no, there's no customizing his betting because of the ROTC portion of the [00:15:00] program.
And so I was like, wow, you guys are wasting a lot of money sending. To a parent of that can't use it. Right. And so there, I think there are differentiations that need to be made, but we need to really think about what's the easy piece that communicates simply to those coming in, what they need to know.
and hopefully saves us a little money and energy too.
Jeremy Tiers: well, no doubt. And, and I don't think you'd have anybody on the other end listening to this complain, right? If, if they could do things a little more effectively and efficiently, and to your point, content creation, I feel like on social or quite honestly, in any, any regard with communications from colleges, if you understand your audience and you make content for them and not you typically, right.
That's the content that seems to resonate and be most helpful. What do you think are some of the biggest dos and don'ts then when it comes to social media right now, like, as you're working with different clients and talking with people, just what are you telling them, Hey, we need to do more of this, or we need to start this, [00:16:00] or you need to stop doing this.
And here's why I, I
Jen Radke: don't think it's really any different from what most people have been saying for the last couple of years, we need to be visual. As much as possible. I think that is to your point earlier as to why the students are going to Instagram is they wanna picture themselves at said college and university.
They wanna picture themselves as part of that community and organization. And so having videos, having images that allow them that opportunity to visualize it and maybe see themselves there is huge. The parents, they, yeah, they wanna see. But more than that they wanna understand and comprehend. So being a resource sharing information, that's likely gonna be in text format may be video, right?
Like if you need to know an explainer or something like that, but really, uh, making sure that the content is right for the audience and fills that need, that they have answers the questions that they have, not just what [00:17:00] we think is most important. Right. And that's, uh, It's a hard balance. It's tricky one of the schools and I'm not gonna pick on them by name, but one of the schools that my son had applied to added me to some parent emails fine.
Right. A lot of the schools did, but this particular college added me to the safety warnings email. So I was finding out about maybe any shootings that happened in the area or. Break-ins that had happened in the area but I wasn't getting any of the other stuff. And so I was like, what are they trying to do here?
Right. Like send me away from this school because now that wasn't the reason he didn't go there, but it was very interesting to me that that was what they had chosen to provide as content to incoming freshman parents. We need to think through that. And I'm sure that the thought [00:18:00] process. You know, we need to tell people we're on top of it and make them aware.
Cuz maybe they're worried already about the city. I wasn't worried. I know the city. Right. Um, so tell me instead, what's good. And what's happening, how we can get through this process. What does starting off as a freshman look like for our student, if we go to this school. So it really is thinking not through what we feel we need to communicate, but what.
The students and the parents need to hear.
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah. And I think the easiest way I would argue Jen, to always get that answer is just to ask, I mean, you know, and I understand you can't, if you're listening to this and you work obviously to college or university, you can't ask every student and parent in this process, you're not gonna get ahold of every one of them.
Let alone have everyone reply and engage with you and tell you, but there is just so much data out. We see it all the time. When we ask specifically, Hey, what do you want to see on social media? What [00:19:00] should colleges and universities be showing prospective students? And to your point, the answer's the same almost every time.
It's six to eight things around. What's it gonna be like if I come there as a student, but I also want to see it more from the current student point of view and not necessarily, uh, the admissions person, the marketing person, the leadership on this, you know, part of campus. I just want to hear from an authentic voice that hopefully hasn't been told exactly what to.
And can speak to some of the things that I'm wondering about, cuz I'm not there every day. And then, you know, for parents, same thing. Right. Okay. If I'm gonna send my child 30 minutes away or seven states in a plane right away, what is that gonna look like from a standpoint of safety? How is my child gonna be cared for?
How does that change the cost potentially in all of those type things. And it's, it's just to your point, getting that feedback from your audience, I think, and then figuring out how do [00:20:00] we explain these things then in a way that's gonna resonate with them, hopefully that helps them see themselves here more than so at other schools.
Jen Radke: absolutely. Absolutely. And to your point, hearing the voice of the current. Is immensely powerful, right. And impactful. What, what are they learning? What are they loving? Right. What activities are they in? And, and is there time for that?
Jeremy Tiers: how much did your son connect with current students when he was going through this?
Not just at a and M where he ended up choosing, but you know, you don't have to name schools, but did he actually have an opportunity or did schools create either through different email opportunities through if you visited campuses through any medium. The opportunity to offer either the current student point of view or connect him with current students.
Jen Radke: of the five that he applied to, I would say a and M was the best at that. Um, they offered opportunities specifically for like an overnight, with the core of cadets. So he could actually [00:21:00] go stay overnight. We went to a midnight yell, we went to a football game, you know, we did those types of things. The other four, I don't know that he actually had a lot of opportunity, uh, to engage with current students.
It was more admissions inviting him to such and such event. Right. And there wasn't much of a highlight of the fact that there might be students there. And so we went to very few, um, other events because he didn't feel like it was needed. He's like, I already know what I need for admissions. I've applied.
Right. I've been accepted. So. Why do I have to go through this other admissions thing? And that surprised me. Um, I figured there might be more, you know, group messages or, you know, group me organizations or something of, of students that were looking or accepted at schools that wanted to connect with, uh, current students or even each other, uh, to communicate.
Why are you choosing schools? What are you looking at? [00:22:00] That's important. What stood out to you?
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah, and, and that definitely exists. I would argue through a bunch of, you know, different opportunities, but it is interesting that you bring up this idea of boy, these admissions events, the way they were basically.
You know, laid out to us was more, well, you're gonna come here about all of what I would argue are transactional things that you just need to do in this process. And you have, you know, a student over here going great. Okay. It's not that that that's not important, but I'd much more hear, like to hear about obviously the current student point of view and just, you know, things again that you can't.
I would argue unless you go visit and just spend time with a student somehow know about. Right. And so I think definitely the way that colleges focus on advertising, those events needs to change. Why do you think then we know how powerful social media is, right. Like, I don't think there's a person listening to this who doesn't understand the reach, the [00:23:00] capabilities of, you know, when you communicate, you know, in an authentic way with content that your target audience finds helpful and valuable.
So why do you think marketers? Not just in higher ed gen, but in so many different industries just underestimate the power of social still in 2020.
Jen Radke: Ooh, that's kind of a big and loaded question. Um, I think they know the power deep down harnessing it is the challenge, right? And so we skip over it. We don't do the planning necessary to really spend the time and identify who are our audiences that we.
To reach, what does that content look like in each of those different ways? Um, because it is, it's extremely time intensive and challenging and requires us to not just post every day, but to spend that time focusing on, are we actually meeting what our goals are? Uh, I think the other struggle [00:24:00] that a lot of folks feel, and I love input from, from your listeners here, but, um, you know, I think they feel, uh, pressure.
From leadership often to just go out and do this thing because it's new or they heard it's working for somebody else, or, you know, their kid told them that that's where they're spending all their time. And there isn't any support given to doing the work and the validation that that's where your audience is for this particular.
Organization or institution. Right? So I, I think a lot of marketers, they get the power, but they can't quite harness it yet because of that backend planning that isn't supported quite to the level that we need
Jeremy Tiers: it to be. I was on a, a campus, you know, a couple of weeks ago. And it was funny, you know, an admissions leader said to me, I was having a conversation with another group on campus and they said, well, why don't you just send the students another text?
Or why don't you go post something on social media? I'm. [00:25:00] and to your point, right? That's not always the answer, even if other people seem to think it is because this generation obviously likes to text each other, likes to DM each other on social platforms. You hit on something there though that I know I get asked a lot.
And so I'm curious, what advice would you give then to somebody who's like, okay, we do have to show results to leadership and we are trying to measure how, whatever we're creating. Is actually working or not working. So what type of advice are you gonna give people? If I say gimme a couple of things they can do to try to make some more measurable, you know, results from ultimately all of the content they're creating on social.
Jen Radke: Yeah. If we've done the planning process and we've set, um, benchmarks and goals for ourselves, hopefully they follow. One of the fantastic acronyms around setting goals, we use the smart acronym, right? So [00:26:00] specific, measurable is number two, achievable, uh, relevant and timebound. So if we set our goals in a way that they can be measurable, then it's easier for us to go to leadership and say, here, here's how we produced on this measure.
The challenge, I think a lot of us have is getting away from those, um, vanity metrics. You know, we. A thousand more followers on Instagram and really into those engagement metrics. Those me metrics that actually give us a better indication of whether or not we are reaching the audience in a positive way.
You know, I can put out motivational quote after motivational quote, but does that bring me any new social media strategist to get certified likely not. Right. So we just need to, to take a look and, and decide. What are those goals set those measurements right away and then report on those measurements.
And a lot of that means we have to [00:27:00] communicate very clearly with leadership as to why we're measuring the things that we're measuring and why it's not okay. Just to say, we need a thousand new followers on Instagram. Um, and so becomes an educational process as well as a reporting process.
Jeremy Tiers: What are some of those engagement metrics, Jen, that you're talking.
Jen Radke: it kind of depends on where you're at, but, you know, uh, clicks, uh, comments shares. Those are all a little bit more valuable than a, a simple, like, or even a reaction, uh, to a post. Because like I said, I can post motivational metrics that will get reactions all day long, but they're not gonna actually start conversation or push people through to a website.
Jeremy Tiers: And I was gonna ask you about this later, but now seems like the perfect time based on what we've been talking about. I don't know how much you dive into social, listening with your clients. I know how important it is. I think, you know how important it is. I think it's the next level once right. Schools get more consistent with their [00:28:00] content.
Have a full-time staff member actually producing said content and not somebody who has it as a secondary responsibility. So how much do you think social listening actually factors into this whole measurement and being able to show results then? Oh,
Jen Radke: I think it's huge. Not so much initially in sharing results, because I think you have to know what you're gonna do with the information you're listening to.
Um, we had a client at one point that had invested thousands of dollars into this software that put together all this social listening data, but they weren't doing anything with it. Right. So that, that doesn't help to have the data. If you're not actually gonna take action on it. Um, but social listening should be key to finding out what content does our audience need.
You know, if we're out there and we're listening to keyword that are relevant to our industry. So if we're talking higher education, right, talk about [00:29:00] admissions and universities and choosing schools and all of that go listen to the conversations that are being had. If 75% of the questions are about this area over here, does our content answer that area?
Right. Have we put something out there that can help address that? And then you can look more specifically at the relevancy of your content and measure it.
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah, I think we're gonna see schools harness that a lot more in the coming years. Um, but to your point, I think. Step one for so many people I see is just slowing down and kind of back to where we started.
This conversation is what we are putting out content wise, actually helpful in what our audience wants to see, or is it something that we think they need to see, but we really don't have any data that actually supports that. Right? Yep.
Jen Radke: Well, I was gonna say Jeremy, but when we're thinking about listening to one of the things, a lot of times that gets skipped is we listen to the mention.[00:30:00]
right. We're tagged in something. We address that, but it doesn't stop there. We need to be looking for the people who maybe don't know how to utilize social properly to tag us, or who might not mention a specific school, but have a question or a need that we could fill. Um, hashtags can be really valuable here too.
I was shocked back. Oh gosh. It must have been November when Paul and I drove down to Texas for an overnight. I took a picture, put it on, um, Twitter and I did tag Texas a and M and they replied, um, but I also tagged road trip and I was shocked at the brands that jumped into that conversation and wished us safe travels, you know, like Goodyear tires was right there.
You know, I didn't mention. I didn't talk about my tires. Right. But it's something that stuck with both my son and I, that they jumped into that conversation on those hashtags. So social listening is a little broader and probably a little scarier, [00:31:00] uh, than what some people. Want to invest the time in, and it is something we value.
We actually are just finalizing a revision to our social listening short course. Hey, I'll Zack here from, in RFI. If you like this podcast, chances are, you'll like other in RFI shows too. Our podcast network is growing by the month and we've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed.
Our shows feature a selection of the industry's best as your hosts learn from Mickey Danes, Jeremy tier Jamie hunt, Karen Meers, Jamie Leeson, and many, many more. You can learn more about the enroll five podcast network at podcasts dot enroll, five.org. Our shows help pirate ed marketers and admissions professionals.
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Jeremy Tiers: There's no doubt. It's powerful. And I would argue to anybody listening to this, you know, there are all kinds of tools [00:32:00] out there that can help you with social listening. Um, whether it's stuff that Jen and you. She's doing with the national Institute or, you know, those of you who are familiar with campus sonar.
Yes. They do some amazing things in that space as well. They do. I just think, you know, at the start of the day, going back to having a plan and figuring out how are we gonna take whatever data we accumulate and actually put it into action versus just saying, look at all this data we have now, what? And, and unfortunately, right.
That's I think what I see too often, What else has your attention lately? Just where, where are you focusing a lot of your time, Jen, whether it's social or not even that it's something else you're doing with clients. What's, what's got your attention,
Jen Radke: uh, personal branding. It has come out a lot over the last couple of years.
It's always been important. I think for individuals to understand what they stand for, who they are, what value they bring to an organization. But I think that COVID and the digital environment that we entered [00:33:00] into for the last few years has really brought that to attention. People are focusing a little bit more on what they put out, um, personally and professionally.
So I, I think that'll continue. Um, the value of communicating our expertise via digital platforms will continue. One of the things that, um, people need to more than ever steer away. is the cold cell situation online. Uh, you were talking about it. And when we were discussing the, the tools, you know, in leadership saying, just do this fun thing, cuz somebody said it was cool.
I have a great example. I just got yesterday, which was somebody on LinkedIn sent me a note and said, are you utilizing TikTok for your advertising? And I'm like, if you would've looked at. We don't even use TikTok right now. Right. And so I responded and I said, no, we're not. Um, and then it was immediately why?
And I'm like, well, if you know anything about what we do, [00:34:00] you might realize that that may not be the main audience that we have currently. right. And if you don't, then maybe you should ask those questions before you're just selling me your TikTok ads. But that's exactly what happened when I said I didn't, I was sent links.
You know, these case studies of where it worked really well. And I'm like, that's not relevant to my world right now. Um, is TikTok valuable for certain brands? Absolutely. Absolutely. Is it relevant for me right now? No. And do I have the bandwidth? No. And that's an important question we forget to ask too. Um, and folks need to stop selling and start learning and listen.
Jeremy Tiers: Personalization and relevancy, right? Two things that I would argue, especially those going through the college church process want from different schools need from different schools more than they're probably getting to your point. It's, it's become so much harder just to get our attention in 2022, that if I start to read an [00:35:00] email and go wait, this has nothing to do with me.
Why would you send this to me? And, oh, by the way, I don't know who you. Right. It's like a double whammy of click delete I'm out and young people I would argue would the exact same thing. And I would like to dive in a little bit more to this idea of building your personal brand, because I agree with you.
It's something that comes up a lot. And I hear people all the time saying, well, I always wonder what this is, or what is this person on campus doing? I. Go ask them, number one, if you're comfortable doing that. But even if you're not the power of so many different platforms, you know, I use LinkedIn as a good example.
Right? There's so many people who do that role in all kinds of different right. Places across this country, reach out and start trying to have a conversation with some of those people. Right. Expand your network. And I think in that process, right, you educate yourself. About a bunch of things, but, but besides just that, how do you think somebody then listening, if they haven't [00:36:00] started building their personal brand, like where do they start, Jen?
What are some quick, easy things they can do?
Jen Radke: We can start by sitting down with a piece of paper and identifying what is it they think people should know about them, right? Like what are the questions they get asked the most when they go to a networking event, these are some places to start. Right. Um, I agree with you.
LinkedIn is a, a kind of a go to for personal branding, especially in the professional space. So then go to that profile and build it right in the way that helps educate people, helps inform them about who you are and the value you bring. Don't copy a job description. But really describe what you do. And what about that?
Do you love, right? Where do you Excel? Job descriptions are so frustrating, right? Um, and it's boring to hear, you know, I answer telephones. Cool. Uh, do you do it better than somebody [00:37:00] else? Or why is this relevant to the conversation? , you know, tell me more about that. And it is okay to say something that isn't all a hundred percent aligned with your career.
What are those volunteer projects or organizations that you're passionate about? What are those, you know, if you do something freelance on the side, what is that? all of us are more than the sum of the work that we do during the eight hour Workday. And I say eight hour, but you know what I mean?
Jeremy Tiers: 110%.
Jen Radke: in the course of our Workday, you know, we're not defined by that.
What makes us stronger as a value, um, employee at an organization is the sum of all of our parts. Right? So share that with people, tell people what you're passionate. .
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah. And then I think it opens up the opportunity, right. To, you know, get introduced to new communities and become a part of new communities.
That's, you know, something [00:38:00] I actually talked about. My last guest, you know, carry Keating the power of community. I think we all hopefully understand that in 20, 22, as well, and, and social right, and building your personal brand 110% allows you to expand your community online. So, um, I did read a stat that I was curious to get your feedback on recently, which is, and I feel like it ties into this notion.
Like, what is brand, you know, to your son, to, you know, a young person today versus what is brand to an adult, which is almost 60% of teens interact more with user generated, right? Media content than actual quote unquote brand content. So why do you think that is Jen?
Jen Radke: We put trust into folks that look and sound and present.
Like we. and I think that a lot of times brands [00:39:00] miss that mark, right? They've got some celebrity or some, you know, superior athlete repping their brand, but what we really wanna see, and I think what our kids wanna see are people like us that actually use that brand and rep that brand. I know it more so for my son than my daughter, but even, even her as a junior in high school, you know, she looks.
those people that are using the products that she's interested in long before she goes and researches the product brand. Um, whether it be, you know, makeup or handbags or whatever, uh, and the same goes with my son, right? Like if he wants to bulk up, he's kind of a skinny dude. So if he wants to bulk up, you know, he's gonna go look for swimmers or athletes that are relevant to him and what are they doing to bulk up, not, you know, Mr.
Universe or whatever. Those that are already massive. Um, and, and that's where that user generated content comes in. I think they also think it's more [00:40:00] real, right. Because, and some of this we know may not be true, but a lot of the kids think that, well, if it's out here by so and so it's not paid for right.
It's not an advertisement. And we know that that's not always true. Um, there are micro influencers and things that are happening where they may be brand sponsors, but. It looks more legit, more authentic, more real. When it's coming from the marketing department, it looks like you're paid to say good things about your brand.
Right. And so that's why they're engaging more with alternative content.
Jeremy Tiers: I also wanted to pick your brain on the idea that, and I hear this all the time and I'm sure you do too. But I need a young person, Jen, help me be good on social media. Like, how am I gonna get somebody who's in their mid thirties with more experience to like, understand how to communicate with this generation.
So whether we talk about that myth, I would call it more or anything else, like how do you respond to something like that? [00:41:00]
Jen Radke: So typically, and I hear it all the time. You know, I need to find someone young who understands the platform. My immediate response is. Wary because they may understand the platform, but they may not understand the business acumen needed to necessarily represent your brand.
Um, and in there would come maybe a conversation around compliance, right. Just because we use technology doesn't mean we know how to run a contest on, I. Legally within its, you know, terms of service and use. And so I, I do share that often with brands. I also, um, highlight the difference between an individual sharing their daily life and content that helps to educate and.
A potential buyer or a potential customer [00:42:00] community member. Right. And so it's, once you get that opportunity and they've actually validated that statement, like, oh, I'm just, you know, I just need to hire my niece or whatever, and you can have that conversation. All of a sudden they slow down and they go, oh, okay.
Yeah, you're right. But unfortunately it is a huge discrimination piece right now. Um, I know several folks that are in their upper forties and 50. Who have been in marketing who have embraced social media. They understand how it works, but they're being told they're simply too old to do social media and I get blown away by that.
Uh, because those brands need to take a look at those folks a little bit differently and understand do they master the tools? Can they communicate content in the right way? That's relevant for your. maybe you don't need a 60 year old person doing the TikTok videos for an audience that's mostly 13 fine.
So you hire someone to do the videos, [00:43:00] right. But the content strategy and, and the culmination of, of how it works to your goals age, doesn't play into that it's knowledge and experie.
Jeremy Tiers: I don't know if you've thought about it, but I got asked about it the other day and I thought, oh, perfect question to ask Jen.
When I talked to her, how do you think virtual reality will change social media? Any thoughts on that? I know it's early, but
Jen Radke: yeah, it is early. And for most brands right now, I say, just keep an eye on it. Right. Don't stress about it. Um, it's gonna be interesting. One of the things that I believe might come that nobody's really talking about is the.
Increase of disbelief, right? We're already as consumers, somewhat tentative and nervous about fake news, but when you start getting, uh, VR, uh, AR into that world a little bit more, we start questioning. Is this real [00:44:00] right? Um, was this created while I stood on campus at XYZ univers? or did they do this in a alternate reality?
Right. So, um, I think that's gonna come. I think there are some really cool things that could come with it too, though. I mean, better, um, visuals of the, of the audience, more gamification, which we know are the younger people enjoy. Um, I had the pleasure of when we were driving down to Texas the last time to move my son down, we stopped.
the, uh, the national world war I museum in Kansas city. And they had a virtual reality tour of what it was like to be in a bunker in world war. I, it was wild. Um, but it was probably more impactful than any video I've ever seen or any book I've ever read, [00:45:00] uh, read about it. So I think we. See it really helping people, uh, envision situations in a new way.
But I do think we'll have some apprehension a around what's real and what's fake when that comes and plays more into the marketing space.
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah, I totally agree. I think authenticity will be something which again, you and I have heard it. I'm sure tons of people listening have heard it. Right. It's been a buzzword for years, so there's that side of the coin.
But then the other side I go to listening to you, there is, well, how do we all make decisions every day? Well, based on how we feel, right. And if I can feel like, oh my gosh, I'm in a world war I bunker, and this feels completely different than if I'm sitting back in front of. Phone, iPad or computer watching a video.
Right? Like I think it's just gonna be a whole different set of emotions to your point that can get evoked if you've created right content the right way. So it will definitely be interesting. And, and I get asked all the [00:46:00] time, when do you think that's gonna come? And I'm no expert. So I have no idea. I don't know if it's in two years, five years or 25 years, but to your point, keep an eye.
Because it is coming, it's just a matter of time. So
Jen Radke: it'll be fun to watch it. I mean, I, like I said, uh, museums are not necessarily the thing teenagers say let's go to. Right. Um, this particular exhibit was amazing. My son was enthralled. I was enthralled. Right. Like, and as I said, it was more meaningful and impactful than walking through, you know, the eons and eons.
Display booths that had the old guns or the old tanks or the old whatever from the world war I there, because I, I could feel it and, and imagine myself spending 30 days in a bunker that was constantly taking fire, you know, feeling the vibrations, hearing the sounds and think. 30 days. I'm not sure I can take three more minutes.
You know, [00:47:00] so people are using it in interesting ways already. I think we're gonna continue to see that how it evolves into the marketing space is still a bit of an unknown, but it it's intriguing and something that will be fun to watch.
Jeremy Tiers: How is your son, well, how is your daughter going through this college search then differently than your son?
If you're willing to share,
Jen Radke: I have two very different children. Um, Hmm, my son was, um, well at first he was looking at military academies and so, uh, we did some visits of those and after he decided he didn't necessarily want the academy route, he started looking at like ROTC programs and then just random schools that were of interest and cool looking like the university of Montana.
It's in a really cool area, right outside of Yellowstone. Right. And I'm like, does it even have a program you're interested in? My daughter on the other side is very planned and pragmatic. So she is, [00:48:00] um, scoping schools first and foremost, by their degree offerings. She feels, she knows what she wants to do.
So she's looking there. Um, she is keeping an Excel spreadsheet of every college who's reached out to her so far. Um, there are 60, uh, that have reached out just based on her P S a T score that she took last. and she watches, um, enroll, like in, uh, acceptance numbers. Like how prestigious is the school and is it like an Ivy league?
And are there departments well known now she's also look a girl in stem. So she also looks into faculty and says, as a girl in stem, are there any faculty that represent my demographic at this school? So very different approaches. Um, He was looking for a feel, right. What school feels, right. She doesn't really wanna go to a bunch of schools until she knows the academia is where she wants it to be.
And the [00:49:00] prestige is where she wants it to be. Yeah.
Jeremy Tiers: And I kind of figured you might go down that route because you know, I, I hear it all the time, which, well, they're just so different. If I have two, you know, children or go. I think it kind of puts a nice bow on everything we've talked about today, which is your audience is different.
Whether you're talking to them through a social platform or you're talking to them to, through an email, a text eventually, right. Virtual reality, whatever it might be, how are you giving them things that are going to be helpful to them? As well as hopefully educating and making this process a little bit more simplified and easier for them.
So Jen, I've been ending every podcast with the same couple of things. Um, the first is a signature question that I'd ask everyone, which I'd like you to tell me a important piece of advice that somebody's given you at any point in your life that just really is stuck.
Jen Radke: So it's kind of a strange one. Um, at one point in my [00:50:00] life, I was.
Not everyone is naturally talented as you. So I, I was not to expect others to do the things that I did and I was blown away by that because nothing that I do, it's exceptionally talented. Like I don't have any special powers. Right. Um, but what that has done is made me really evaluate the folks that I'm working with and support them.
With resources and tools to strengthen their own experiences. And I think that has been the most helpful thing, um, that I was ever told.
Jeremy Tiers: The last thing I want to do, Jen, is what I call fun, rapid fire. And it's just a handful of things I'm gonna ultimately give to you. And I just want some quick instant feedback from you.
Okay. Okay. Favorite singer?
Jen Radke: Oh, Reba McIntyre
Jeremy Tiers: wine or beer wine. Most [00:51:00] underrated wine then
Jen Radke: oh goodness. Uh, cupcake.
Jeremy Tiers: Okay. Most underrated city in the us though. You've been to, oh gosh, uh, something that's better than you expected it to be. Duluth, Minnesota. It's a very fun place there on the north shore.
Mm-hmm fun fact that most people don't know about you. I
Jen Radke: spent three months in.
Jeremy Tiers: Ah, and what's the best thing as somebody listening to this who lived in Minnesota for years, I gotta believe if it's not an annual tradition, you go to the Minnesota state fair, at least a handful of times. So what's the best thing about the Minnesota state fair?
In your opinion, the food
Jen Radke: yes. Anything honest cookies? Well, that's true. If you wanna be specific sweet Martha's cookies, but anything on a stick, you know, .
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah, I miss that about Minnesota as somebody who lived there for years, I think it's, you know, a vastly underrated, uh, fun activity, love Minnesotans.
You know, anybody listening to this who's ever [00:52:00] been to it probably would appreciate too. Thanks so much, Jen, for just being on and sharing some things with us today. If people wanna learn more either just about the national Institute for social media or just connect with you. What's what's the best way.
How would you want them to go about doing that? Yeah,
Jen Radke: so, uh, LinkedIn probably is the best way to connect with me. You can. Find my name, Jennifer rad key SMS there easily. Um, otherwise the national Institute for social media's website is N I S M online.org. I'm also a big Twitter user, so you can find me there at rad key J so any of those are more than welcome.
Jeremy Tiers: Thanks again so much for your time today, Jen. Thank you,
Jen Radke: Jeremy. It was a pleasure. Hey, I Zach, here from Enrollify. I hope you enjoyed this episode of mission admissions with Jeremy Tiers. If you like this episode, do us a huge favor and hit that follow and subscribe button below. Furthermore, if you've got just two minutes to spare, we would greatly appreciate you leading a rating and a [00:53:00] review of this show on apple podcast.
Our podcast network is growing by the month. And we've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed professional. But Enrollify is far more than just a podcast network in Rafi is where higher ed comes to learn new marketing skills, discover new products and service.
And find their next job. We're a growing learning community of 4,000 members, and we'd love to welcome you into the fold. You can access our free blog articles, newsletters e-courses and more, or purchase our master course on how to market a university with Terry Flannery. At Enrollify.org, we look forward to meeting you soon and welcoming you into the community.Again, you can subscribe for free at enrollify.org.[00:54:00]
About the Episode
The what's what...
In this episode, Jeremy has a conversation with Jennifer Radke who runs the National Institute for Social Media, an organization dedicated to social media certification and education for professional social media practitioners. Jen also happens to be the mom of two teenagers, including a son who just started his first-year of college.
Jen starts by sharing a few insights about her son’s college search from a parent point of view. From there she and Jeremy have a lengthy chat about all things social media - including the biggest do’s and don’ts, content creation, measuring your campaigns and social listening, as well as personal branding.
This episode is brought to you by Gecko - a student engagement platform offering multiple modules to help institutions better engage with students and lighten the load for their staff.
Mission Admission is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Mickey Baines, Zach Busekrus, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jaime Gleason and many more.Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
An expert in communication, relationship development, and leadership, Jeremy Tiers has quickly become a recognizable name and speaker in college admission and enrollment management circles. He is the Senior Director of Admissions Services for Tudor Collegiate Strategies and leads their efforts in partnering with colleges and universities across the country. Colleges and Universities rely on Tudor Collegiate Strategies (TCS) to train their admissions staff, help them personalize enrollment communications, and to increase engagement from prospective students and their parents during all stages of the college search process.
Jennifer Radke is an international speaker, author, trainer, and strategic business leader who currently serves as the CEO of the National Institute for Social Media, an organization that offers social media training and certification programs. Jen has an MS in Organizational Leadership, has been a certified Social Media Strategist since 2014, and is an instructor at both NISM and at St. Mary's University in Minnesota. She is also the mom of two teenagers, including a son who just started his first-year of college.
We partner with the best, to provide the best information.
Gecko is a student engagement platform that offers customizable modules designed to compliment your institutions CRM and SIS. Gecko's plug and play modules enable your team to deliver memorable student experiences at scale while lightening the load on your team. Some of their key offerings include a cutting edge Events module, Chatbot, Cloud Call Center and many more. If you want to level up how you engage with prospective students without disrupting your current processes or ripping out all of your tech, you need to check out Gecko.learn more
Mission Admissions is a bi-weekly show hosted by Jeremy Tiers from Tudor Collegiate Strategies. Tune in as Jeremy sits down with leaders in other industries to see what advice, tips and strategies can be applied to the Higher Ed admissions space.
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