mySchools, an interesting social media solution for schools and students

I found this great picture of my Alma mater on Flickr (by wallyg) and I knew it would be perfect for this post. 

I chatted with Sasha Peterson, President at Hobsons EMT, about their mySchools offering. Similar to the way Parature brought its helpdesk CRM integration directly into Facebook, Hobsons EMT is bringing their enrollment CRM application directly into Facebook, benefiting potential college students and universities in the process.

For those of you unfamiliar with Hobsons EMT, or Enrollment Management Technology, the solution is a CRM application specifically designed to enable higher education to manage the application and enrollment process.  They have more than 650 installations and were looking for a way of helping their customers in higher education to more easily interact with their customers (the potential students) where they were already hanging out. Facebook was, and still is, the right place to engage with these users.

The Facebook application is fairly light-weight for now.  Hobsons is on an eight to ten week agile development cycle and expects to deliver much more in the near future.  For higher education customers of Hobsons the application is free, it is simply another tool that enables them to reach out to their audience.

For potential students using the Hobsons College Views and/or College Confidential applicationsthey will be able create Facebook badges to dynamically display their top five schools. Not much, not yet, I agree.   However, this starting point should lead to additional buzz as students discuss their college choices, as others want to display their badges, and ultimately lead to more promotion for the  institutions using the product.  Ultimately, that is goal.

As a father of a soon to be college freshman I could see this starting point being of value.  However, if Hobsons wants to fully leverage this channel for their customers they should also consider improvements such as:

  • Dynamically updating as the student narrow their choices down to the last choice.  Perhaps showing a new badge as the top choice.  Something that will further give students a reason to discuss the school.
  • Enable wall updates based upon news feeds from the higher education institutions.
  • Hobsons could offer value added wall updates like general tips discussing tips and best practices for students going off to school.  The goal,provide great information while giving students more to discuss.
  • I am also a big fan of some level of game integration, even if nothing more than quiz-style games that enable students to work through a pretend degree program.  Fun, engaging, building awareness of the university and Hobsons.

While not directly related to the Facebook product, it’s worth noting that the Hobsons EMT product enables organizations to manually define rules about how to best communicate with a given student.  For example, if one student spends the majority of their time on Youtube while another spends hours on Facebook the solution will deliver information to the student over the channel that they are most actively using.  Smart approach.  One that is far better than the carpet bombing approach many companies use today.

What else would you like to know?

John

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Filed under: CRM, Social Business Strategies Tagged: apps, CRM, interviewing, Social Strategies, Support Communities
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