Share Your Best Face

Today, we’re talking Instagram and Snapchat. Photo sharing sites are incredibly popular with young social media users, and a picture can convey so much more than any text-based message. These 12 to 24 year old web users are the prospective students higher ed marketers are trying to reach.  So don’t just tell them about your school — show them!

Young adults 18 to 24 years old are the most avid Instagram users, with 12.2 million of Instagram’s 50 million users falling into that age group. Instagram counts another 6 million users among teens 12 to 17 years old, according to new data from eMarketer.com. These 18 million Instagram users are the very prospective college and graduate students that your higher ed institutions wants to reach on social media.

Snapchat is the third most popular social media site with young users, trailing only Facebook and Instagram, according to a recent survey by Edison Research and Triton Digital. Snapchat doesn’t release specific data, but 46% of US teens and young adults ages 12 to 24 have used Snapchat, according to the Edison/Triton report. But the very nature of Snapchat presents marketing challenges.  On Snapchat, photos or short videos (up to 10 seconds) are posted and then disappear once a user views the content.

So how can a university or college harness all this potential reach?

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Value of Social Media Grows

Finally, social media is getting its due in the higher ed community. The majority of schools are active on multiple social media networks, and most higher ed professionals now appreciate the value of social media in communications. In fact, according to a new study, 50% of higher ed pros say social media is the most effective way to increase engagement with target audiences.SM14_typesofsocialedia

Facebook is the most-used social media network used by higher ed institutions, but Instagram the up-and-coming player, according to the fifth annual CASE/Huron Education/mStoner social media survey.  In 2014, an overwhelming 95% of schools are using Facebook, followed by Twitter (82%);  LinkedIn (76%) and YouTube (68%). Instagram is used by 42% of schools, but that’s up from just 27% in 2013. That increase correlates with Instagram’s rapid growth among younger Americans — one of the key groups that universities and colleges are reaching out to on social media.

According to the study, which surveyed 2,000 higher ed professionals, the top five uses for social media in higher ed marketing are:

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The Case for Mobile-Friendly Sites

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Still contemplating a mobile-friendly website? Don’t put it off any longer. Higher education websites need to be mobile-friendly to reach prospective students, as teens are avid users of handheld devices.  Among adults 12-34 years old, an

impressive 80% now own smartphones and 55% own tablets, according to fresh data from eMarketer.com. In coming years, those figures will only rise. Any school that doesn’t have a mobile-friendly web product risks missing recruiting and marketing opportunities.

Teens are overwhelmingly using handheld devices to browse university and college websites. Last year, 97% of students have visited a university or college’s website on a mobile device, according to 2014 Social Admissions Report by Chegg, Zinch, and Uversity. But two-thirds of students said their experience with schools’ mobile sites was “challenging” or “just ok”. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.

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Sanmita Partners with IE Design

usc-vit-dm-thumbWe’re thrilled to reveal a new partnership with IE Design + Communications, a Hermosa Beach, Calif. design firm. The IE team offers tremendous experience in both print and web design. Their skills are a perfect compliment to Sanmita’s deep experience in web and mobile development. Together, we can offer our clients a complete menu of design and development services, bringing expert skills and experience to every aspect of a project including branding, print, web and mobile. With locations on the East Coast and West Coast —   Sanmita in New York and IE in California — our partnership will create new opportunities to engage clients nationwide and offer them an expanded menu of services. We are excited to have them as our partner.

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Update: Our Work with Wheaton College

As part of our new partnership with Wheaton College, Sanmita will assist the college with its Luminis portal software. This software powers MyWheaton portal, which is a gateway to Wheaton’s web content for students, faculty and staff. The Luminis platform is popular with many higher education institutions. Students, for example, can use MyWheaton portal to check courses, grades and campus information.

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Rethinking Content Management

Planning a website redesign? The content management systems (CMS) is a critical component.  Your CMS is the power behind your website and it is essential to your project’s success. Among our many services here at Sanmita, we’re proud to offer our own exclusive CMS, AcademicsWeb. Contrary to its name, AcademicsWeb isn’t just for higher education — it a customizable CMS that can work for any industry.

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What Students Say: Mobile Strategy

In higher ed digital communications, mobile usage is a very hot topic. We know an overwhelming number of young Americans rely on their smartphones and tablets for web browsing. Last year, 97% of students have visited a university or college’s website on a mobile device, according to 2014 Social Admissions Report by Chegg, Zinch, and Uversity. And yet, many schools aren’t making the grade.

According to the survey, two-thirds of students said their experience with schools’ mobile sites was “challenging” or “just ok”. They are demanding mobile sites that are easy to navigate and contain the most useful information. So how can higher education institutions improve? We have a few ideas:

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Mapping Out the New BTI Site

One of our strengths here at Sanmita is information architecture. We’re expert at analyzing a website’s structure and flow, and building sites that offer the best experience, from a home page on down. We want our clients’ websites to showcase their best work, and we strive for users to easily access that information.

Our latest information architecture task is working with our partners at Cornell University’s Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research to revamp their site’s structure. BTI offers a dynamic website loaded with great information, but it can be hard for users to navigate. Some of the information is repeated in different sections. We are working with BTI to solve these navigation issues. We’re also helping reorganize the website’s sections. The goal is to improve the BTI site’s flow and organization, while preserving the content that works and streamlining the user experience.

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Sanmita Welcomes Katie Little

photo 2Sanmita is pleased to introduce our newest team member, Katie Little.  As consulting associate for higher education, Katie will reach out to the higher education community to promote Sanmita’s services. Web design, mobile products, responsive design and our exclusive content management system (CMS), AcademicsWeb are just a few of the things Katie will communicate with the higher education community.

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