Alumni Marketing Blog

Our thoughts and perspectives on creative technology that drives alumni engagement

Social Media vs. Social Marketing

Communications professionals know that the digital landscape has changed dramatically, marked by the rise of social networks in the past decade and a significant shift to mobile platforms in the last two years. Traditional direct mail response rates, which were never great to begin with, continue to decrease for every age group, and consumers often delete emails before they even finish reading the subject lines. “They don’t respond like they used to” is a common refrain we hear from universities when we first meet. Sound familiar?

The truth is, today’s consumers will only respond to your messages when — and if — it’s convenient. It’s the era of social marketing, and this means more than just updating your Facebook page. You need to expand your social reach with engaging communications, and you need to make it easy and intuitive for people to respond.


Let’s say your university’s basketball team just made it to the NCAA Tournament. You post a congratulatory message on your alumni association’s Facebook page and share some photos from the main university Facebook page. You create Facebook events for local alumni watch parties. You ask your alumni to tweet about the game with a special hashtag. You get a smattering of alumni to like, comment, and share. That’s social media. With social marketing, you take this opportunity five steps further with an integrated campaign spanning social media, email, a giveaway or contest — all supported by a modest ad spend that can kick up your fan count and build engagement that will spread like wildfire. With this scenario, your initiative could touch hundreds of thousands.

While the first steps might seem overwhelming, Activate Alumni can help. We’ll listen to you tell us about your unique school, from politics and roadblocks to goals and success stories. Then, we’ll talk strategy.

If you want to see growth in your response rates, you need to start thinking about social marketing. Activate Alumni can help, and the results will amaze you.

Have questions? Email or call 888.714.7814 to begin the conversation.


Chief Strategy Officer
Danielle Wilberg

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Activate Alumni by MSM
438 Main Street, Suite 201
Rochester, Michigan 48307

Phone: 888.714.7814


MSM – The Alumni Marketing Experts

MSM offers technology driven social media, marketing, website development and business analytics built specifically for higher education. As early adopters of all new technologies, we enjoy finding alumni marketing applications for emerging social and mobile platforms.

We know how to adapt to the rapidly changing social landscape — and how to lead our clients through successful transitions into new opportunities as they become available.

For more information about MSM’s full suite of technology driven marketing solutions, visit our agency website at