Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Distance education provider says Facebook is one of the primary platforms today for supporting students

The benefits of Facebook as a platform for communication between organisations and their fans or followers is well established. But Australia’s largest private distance education provider is taking that one step further by using Facebook as a primary platform for supporting students.

Open Colleges’ Facebook page has received more than 115,000 likes, and is a popular digital hangout for its 40,000 students. While the numbers are impressive, Open Colleges’ general manager for marketing and communications, Kevin Lynch, says more important is the level of interaction that students have on the page.

“We’ve seen huge growth in how many questions and queries we are getting from prospective students on Facebook, but in addition to that we’ve seen a huge growth in current students engaging with other fellow students,” he says.

For this reason Open Colleges has added a number of staff to its community management team to help handle the workload. Responding through social media makes sense for Open Colleges as its demographics means much of student’s study takes place in the evening.

“From the hours of 7.30pm to midnight we get a lot of questions from students either through Facebook or our own social tool through our learning platform,” Lynch says. Questions are on everything from course work to support issues.

“The important thing is how timely and responsive we are to the questions that students or prospective students might be having,” Lynch says. “We pride ourselves on quick turnaround time and try to resolve issues straight away. We have dedicated resources that focus on social day in, day out, because it is a great way to engage with prospective students and customers as a whole.”

He adds that the feedback Open Colleges receives through Facebook is usually more honest and at times blunt than what it receives through its Web page.

“There’s always more we can do,” Lynch says. “There are more people using it, and the people who using it are using it a lot more, because people are starting to feel more comfortable with social as a medium.

“Our students are getting huge value from Facebook to communicate with other students, to communicate with their trainers and assessors, and to communicate back to us. They might have great suggestions on how we can improve a course or a service. So for us then it is really a great market research tool.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Hey there! Very interesting article, thank you for your input! I found particularly interesting the part where you mentioned that certain...

Martin Valovič

Companies don’t have policies to disrupt traditional business models: Forrester’s McQuivey

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

The biggest concern is the lack of awareness among marketers and the most important thing is the transparency and consent.

Joe Hawks

Data privacy 2021: What should be front and centre for the CMO right now

Read more

Thanks for giving these awesome suggestions. It's very in-depth and informative!sell property online

Joe Hawks

The new rules of Millennial marketing in 2021

Read more

In these tough times finding an earning opportunity that can be weaved into your lifestyle is hard. Doordash fits the bill nicely until y...

Fred Lawrence

DoorDash launches in Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Highlights of 2020 deliver necessity for Circular Economies

The lessons emerging from a year like 2020 are what make the highlights, not necessarily what we gained. One of these is renewed emphasis on sustainability, and by this, I mean complete circular sustainability.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Have customers really changed?

The past 12 months have been a confronting time for marketers, with each week seemingly bringing a new challenge. Some of the more notable impacts have been customer-centric, driven by shifting priorities, new consumption habits and expectation transfer.

Emilie Tan

Marketing strategist, Alpha Digital

Cultivating engaging content in Account-based Marketing (ABM)

ABM has been the buzzword in digital marketing for a while now, but I feel many companies are yet to really harness its power. The most important elements of ABM are to: Identify the right accounts; listen to these tracked accounts; and hyper-personalise your content to these accounts to truly engage them. It’s this third step where most companies struggle.

Joana Inch

Co-founder and head of digital, Hat Media Australia

Sign in