Advisors Update from Abroad101 – Winter 2014-15
Greetings from Abroad101,
It’s the first anniversary of the new management team at Abroad101 and we want to sincerely thank you for your confidence and support. We’d like to take a few minutes of your time and remind you of the various features of Abroad101, and hope that as the semester ends you will find ways to use it in your work in advancing study abroad.
Abroad101 is all about reviews and ratings, so we thought we’d put you to the test. Please rate yourself on what kind of Abroad101 advisor you are, and don’t worry we’re not going to publish the results; this is just an exercise to help you understand the full power of our systems and the potential opportunities for you.
The What Kind of Abroad101 Advisor Are You Quiz:
- Subscribe to Advisors Newsletter
- Aware of directories, occasionally refer prospective students to validate their choices
2-Star User (all of the above, plus):
- Reference Abroad101 reviews in pre-departure orientation sessions, especially for health and safety and travel tips
- Refer prospective students to peer reviews in info sessions and campus presentations
- Have an Abroad101 Advisors account and have logged into your dashboard
- Encourage students to submit reviews to any review website on their return
- Include Abroad101 postcards in resource library
- Follow Abroad101 in Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, etc.)
3-Star User (all of the above, plus):
- Updated your university profile on Abroad101 though your Advisors account dashboard
- Use the Invite Tool to encourage some or all of your returning students to submit reviews on Abroad101
- Encourage students to join “The Study Abroad Advantage” and promote reviews through student’s Linkedin and social media
- Link to Abroad101 from your department’s web page
- Include reference and links to Abroad101 in email newsletters to students and parents
- Re-tweet and Like any of your university’s activity on Abroad101’s social media
4-Star User (all of the above, plus):
- Create pre-approved/recommended programs lists through your advisor account dashboard
- Read and approve/disapprove reviews
- Encourage students to submit crowd funding initiatives through GoEnnounce the partner in Abroad101 Student of the Week
- Use Abroad101 University Widget on your department’s web pages
- Highlight The Study Abroad Advantage in your department’s collaboration with Career Planning and Placement Services
- Let faculty-led and summer program administrators know about Abroad101, help them secure Provider accounts on Abroad101
5-Star User (all of the above, plus):
- Install Abroad101 Program Widget in your department’s own program pages, including Terra Dotta, Horizons and AbroadOffice directories.
- Use Invite Tool to require reviews of all students making Abroad101 the official program evaluation tool at your institution
- Submit faculty-led and “in-house” home student only programs to Abroad101 directories for review
- Export review reports each semester and build statistical archive of student performance
- Utilize comparison graphs for university accountability and share Abroad101 generated statistics with university’s senior leadership
5-Star PLUS User (all of the above, plus):
- Integrate the Abroad101 API tools into your student information system to collect reviews automatically
- Publish Abroad101 reviews on your website
- Use Abroad101 data and case studies in presentations at Academic Conferences and include Abroad101 in those sessions
The above exercise was designed to show you that Abroad101 is more than just a pretty website, it is a platform to capture and share the study abroad experience. It takes a concept as simple as a review, and turns it into something very powerful by taking advantage of a standard set of questions, a sophisticated publishing system and a set of tools built specifically for advisors. You will get a lot from Abroad101 if you invest some time and effort into harnessing its great potential. The system is designed to be Fast – Free – Easy. The rest is up to you.
Now is the time to Send Review Invites
As students from the fall semester return home, now is the perfect time to send the invitation to submit reviews. It is our experience that students will submit reviews when invited, but rarely on their own. Over 70% of all reviews on Abroad101 come from the invitation of advisors, so please login to your account, use the Invite Tool and get those reviews flowing.
Remember, it’s never too late to draw a review so if you’ve not sent an invitation in a while, or you tried other means than the Abroad101 Invite Tool, please come back and use the Invite Tool for summer and even spring of 2014 participants. The Invite Tool is smart enough not to send invites to student who have already been invited and won’t send a reminder to those who have already completed a review.
Also note that reviews collected in 2014 or the result of an invitation issued from Abroad101 in 2014 will be considered for our annual rankings. Send your invitations by December 31 and those reviews will automatically be entered into the rankings process.
Improving Review Participation
A few key words will impact participation. Request/Require is the big one, indicating that you require reviews will likely drive more students to submit reviews. To help improve the quality of those reviews, your message might also include the idea that submitting a review is good for the student. Feel free to use or paraphrase this text:
- Your review will be published on the Abroad101 website and will become its own webpage. This creates a great place to showcase your experience and use it to open doors to your career. Employers are looking for people with an international background and your review on Abroad101 is a perfect place to jump-start your career. We suggest you view the review as a writing sample and a chance to show the real you. Show future employers and recruiters that you can be constructive in your criticism, take responsibility for your outcomes, be reflective and be forward thinking. State your new worldview and use the review as your place to shine.
Our experience shows that invites issued directly through our tool have a higher yield rate, perhaps it is the reminders or perhaps it is the link specifically to the submit review form (as opposed to finding the program, then clicking the “review” icon). When invitations go out from our system, they average 15% completion rates when the request reviews button is selected, much higher if the “require reviews” button is selected.
If using your own means to draw reviews has response rates that are much lower, perhaps you might consider running one set of names through our system and another set through your direct list and do analysis on their conversions; A/B Testing as we like to call this process. It may also help conversions if, in your external message, you provide a link directly to the page to start submitting a review:
Reviews Are Social Media:
Like other forms of Social Media, Abroad101 is designed for sharing. Reviews on Abroad101 are given a unique and permanent web address, provide comment sections and are distributed through a number of outlets. On Abroad101, reviews are summarized by program, by provider, by home institution and by host institution (if applicable), each with their own fixed web page address. Reviews are streamed to third parties through electronic feeds, software widgets and our associated community pages on Facebook and Twitter.
As you manage your own marketing and promotion efforts on campus, we hope you will utilize the Abroad101 content as much as possible. As our “What Kind of Abroad101 Advisor Are You Quiz” highlights, there are ample ways to take data from Abroad101 and filter it to your student audience (web links to your university portal on Abroad101, web links to specific program pages, widgets, RSS feeds and APIs.) Turning these into Social Media posts of your own is one way to utilize Abroad101 as Social Media content for your office; featuring programs and reviews are others.
Each day Abroad101 pushes several programs and up to half a dozen reviews into our Social Media networks. The Cool Program of the Week and Student of the Week are two popular items to share with your social media followers. We also put programs from our advertisers out as Social Media content, we hope that you will share some of these as well. Reviews with their catchy titles and photos can themselves be fantastic content for your Social Media. If you aren’t following us, please do. Then when good material comes across your account, please like it, share it and use it to keep your followers engaged. Reviews are Social Media and are most beneficial when shared.
Check Out Our sessions:
Abroad101’s CEO, Mark Shay presented sessions that outline these topics in further depth. You can download the session slides from our blog:
ISEP Conference: “Social Media & Web Marketing Tools for Marketing and Advising”
NAFSA Region X/XI: “Why Require Student Reviews”
Working Closer with Abroad101:
We are eager to help you advance study abroad on your campus. We want to see more students abroad and we want those that go be better informed beforehand and help them turn that experience into a career building stepping stone afterward. We are delighted to help you do the same and are available to answer any of your questions by email or phone. We also welcome the opportunity to walk you, and members of your staff though the system with an online demo of the back-end features Abroad101. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to take the next step. Also feel free to use this account to nominate colleagues for our newsletter or offer them a free Advisor account with Abroad101.
And, as always, your comments, questions and feedback are welcome. Thanks for a great year; the best is yet to come!