Home' Independence : Independence Vol 36 No 1 May 2011 Contents Independence Vol 36 No 1 May 11 63
associations. If you post too much, or
perhaps make just one post that people
find irrelevant or annoying, at the click
of their mouse your avenue to them is
silenced. And there is no way for fan page
administrators to know how many people
have silenced their voice.
As a mechanism for finding people,
Facebook is unparalleled; as a tool
for communication, it has significant
limitations. To make the most of the
networking capacity of Facebook
while effectively targeting their alumni
with relevant information and, most
important, keeping them engaged, some
schools are using private networks.
A good private network offers huge
advantages in community segmenting,
targeted messaging and data harvesting
to enable schools to strategically build
their own strong relationships with
alumni and between alumni themselves.
Our network also has the capacity to
automatically search Facebook for ‘lost’
members (for one client we found over
5,000 alumni), and then contact them.
We also link directly with all the popular
social networks. With this combination
we believe that we get all the information
and networking benefits, while keeping
the privacy, security and personalisation
of a private network.
As an example of message refinement
one of our clients, Caulfield Grammar,
has around 6,000 online community
members. Data analysis shows some
10 per cent of these alumni have listed
business breakfasts as an area of interest.
The school might then email all online
community members about a forthcoming
breakfast event but SMS only those
‘tagged’ as having a particular interest.
Members can then register and pay
online. That’s intelligent communication.
It’s difficult for any education institution
to keep track of alumni; it’s harder still
to engage them. We recommend schools
use social networks for all they offer,
but seek to build online communities in
environments that allow for intelligent,
targeted relationship building.
Further information about Potentiality can be
found at www.ptly.com.
There are currently between 13,000 to
14,000 registered members of the Caulfield
Grammarians Association (CGA) on
our mailing list. When we began looking
at the possibilities offered by digital
technologies, our first priority was to find
a tool that would keep us in touch with
these members. Older alumni are generally
more comfortable with hard copy mail-
based systems of communication but,
increasingly, younger alumni expect us to
keep in touch with them through website
information, email and SMS.
We chose to use an outside supplier
because that enabled us to access an
extensive range of online facilities that are
useful both to us and to our membership
at an affordable rate.
Once people have logged in to the alumni
portal on the school website they are in
what is essentially a stand alone system.
They are able to communicate with other
members of their class and a year above
and below. They also have access to a
business networking system: they can
put up a page about their business on
the website, which all alumni accessing
the site can view. The facility also allows
MARKETING & DEVELOPMENT
members to post photos, and the CGA
can post photos of reunions, sporting
events and so on.
The users update their own information
on this site. This gives us an opportunity
at virtually no cost to keep our database
up to date as much as we possibly can
about what past students are doing. It
allows us to monitor career paths of past
students and this assists the school in
terms of inviting past students to help
the current student population with,
for example, careers advice and career
We monitor and facilitate the website
so that privacy issues are maintained
with integrity. Alumni appreciate the
opportunity the website offers to keep in
touch with us and with each other in a
Potentiality’s Facebook interface search
facility has helped us find an enormous
number of students of whom we’d lost
track. Of the 6,000 members using the
website, perhaps 3,000 were found over
the last 18 months using the Facebook
Lost Member Search Engine.
We have also been running Potentiality’s
footy tipping facility for six or more
years. For the previous AFL season we
had between 400 to 500 tipsters. We ran
a World Cup Soccer competition as well
last year, which gave us a peak of over
4,000 log ins during June 2010.There are
a wide selection of additional modules
including one for fundraising. At this
stage we aren’t using that, but that’s not
to say we won’t in the future.
Executive Director, Caulfield
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