Social media and marketing is an important concept by many standards, especially those on a college campus. AU is no exception. Responsible for meeting the needs of all the departments, the Office of Communications and Marketing does their best to make sure AU is well-represented on and off campus.
“The benefit to any organization in having departments like those in our unit is that you are able to send consistent, relevant messages to internal and external publics,” said Rebecca Fuller Beeler, vice president of enrollment and marketing. “When people all over an organization are trying to do these functions, the message the public receives is often inconsistent and confusing.”
Enrollment and Marketing, one unit within the communications office, focuses on admissions, marketing, content and public relations, community engagement and much more.
Admissions are their largest internal client, and they work together to better the opportunity of gaining future students. Marketing also includes the creative services and design staff, as well as support for programs on campus.
Another unit within content strategy and public relations is responsible for leading the team that manages the AU website, all the institutional social media channels, copy for all communication and marketing pieces, analytics and data and content for print pieces.
The department recognizes the importance of a centralized location for all communication and marketing. The message, tone, voice and writing needs to be clear and similar.
As the department instills changes constantly, new ways of approaching media are continuously updating.
The AU website was redesigned in 2016, the first large overhaul in approximately five years. According to Stefanie Leiter, director of content strategy and public relations, the goal was to move to a “mobile-first marketing site that was geared to prospective students and families while still representing all our audiences.”
This year, the department plans on trying Facebook live in order to bring together communication masses.
“Everything we do is strategic with our online communication efforts, so our planning retreats each semester and summer are critical to review current and future trends, discuss what is manageable for our smaller staff, and how to involve students to help create the content and speak into the process,” said Leiter.
AU has just finished its first year with a centralized marketing and PR unit. Through this process, they found some ways to increase efficiency and save money, making progress with branding continuity, integrating AU’s values and mission and keeping materials up to date.
For Beeler, the transitional year has involved a lot of meetings, which has meant that she has had to rely on each unit’s directors for day-to-day operations.
“We have regular meetings about their individual departments and about the unit as a whole,” she said. “I enjoy working in those meetings to make sure that the department’s activities fit into the bigger picture for enrollment and marketing and for AU.”
Beeler says that the department would love to see more students, faculty and staff “engaging in AU’s social media accounts and sharing their own photos and experiences.”
Everyone on campus is important to AU’s story. The department of communications and marketing is present to ensure that truth.