Student unions are a great resource for students in post-secondary institutions. From planning events to making students heard to top-level administration, it's obvious that students need unions.
However, students are not engaging with their unions as much as they should be. An example of this is through student elections. In the 2014 Dalhousie University student election, only 10.9 percent of eligible student voters voted (a total of 1,828 students). That is the lowest percentage in the past decade. A low student voter turn-out is not just an issue at Dalhousie. In their last student union election, the University of Calgary had a voter turnout of about 25 percent (6,190 students).
How can student unions increase engagement with the student body? With student unions being powered by generally small teams, it is important to make the engagement process as easy and streamlined as possible. Automation is a great resource for student unions for this exact reason. Read on to see exactly how automation can help your student union engage with the student body.
Engage students on an individual level. Mass emails just aren't engaging and the student body will quickly lose interest as a result. If you are able to provide students with the information that matters to them, you will boost engagement because you can show that you have a personal interest in each student.
By keeping a personalized profile of each student, you will have a complete history of all the interactions you have had with that student. In your student union newsletter you may have mentioned certain sporting events. With automation, you will be able to see which students clicked those links and then you can send them more information about sporting events in the future because you now have a record of this interest.
Send communications through several channels
Students can only engage with your communications if they see them. With so many options for communications, how can you know which one each student prefers?
Some people are constantly checking their email or are glued to their phones. Make sure your messages are received by using a multi-channel platform. This type of platform will allow you to send the same message to different people through different channels. This means that the student who prefers SMS messaging will get your message to their phone while the student who prefers email will get the message that way.
By offering several channels of communication, you offer students the ability to receive messages how they want to. This type of personalization is key to maximizing engagement.
Have a strong social media presence
84 percent of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 have social media accounts. As a student union, you need to connect to your audience in ways they are already using. A strong social media presence will engage students in a relaxed environment.
With social media automation, part of an all-in-one platform, you will be able to write and schedule posts in advance and schedule them out over time. This means you will have a strong social media presence that does not need constant maintenance.
Effectively gather information
But, how do you get student information in the first place? On your webpage and social media accounts you need to provide students with the option to opt-in for communications from you. Creating a landing page and promoting it on your accounts is a great way to gather contact information. Having a signup form on your website is also a good way to get contact information from students.
An increasingly popular method of communication signup is through SMS. By providing student with a keyword to text in, you can quickly gather information – specifically mobile phone numbers. These phone numbers are crucial because you will be able to send your communications directly to their phone.
Do it all with automation
Now that you've seen how you can improve students' engagement with your union, are you ready to make this process even easier? SimplyCast's all-in-one solution is the perfect tool for student unions. With SimplyCast, you will be able to engage students with personalized communications easily and automatically. Take advantage of automation to help you gather contact information, post on social media, tailor your communications, and so much more! Check out our on automation for educational institutions for even more information!
Ready to try it for yourself? Sign up for a free 14-day trial!