student experience

University taps students for online brand building success

A North Carolina school is using an online promotional tool to tout its students’ successes to family, news outlets, and potential employers. Brand building is an added benefit.

No one calls. No one writes. Mercifully, only a few still send holiday letters. Instead, digital natives and immigrants alike now head online to share the news of their lives. Fayetteville State University is hoping to capitalize on this reality with an online promotional tool that extolls its students to family, potential employers, and media outlets—and burnishes the university’s brand at the same time.

Part of the North Carolina state college system, NCFSU soft-launched Merit Pages little over a year ago. Developed by a company of the same name based in Albany, NY, the tool creates online student profiles that are optimized for social media and automated distribution. Each student at the school receives his or her own Merit Page, which is populated by the university with information about that student’s achievements.

“It’s a very innovative tool—simple to use—that enables us to recognize and celebrate our students’ accomplishments,” said Dr. Jon Young, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at NCFSU. “It gives students something to share through their social media and allows us to push these achievements out to the press in a really automated way.”

How It Works

Each Merit Page is divided into two sections. The first is controlled entirely by the university and contains official information such as Dean’s List awards, Chancellor’s List honors, and scholarships. The student controls the other portion and can populate it with whatever he or she wishes. “There is a distinction on the page so a viewer can see what the university has put there and what a student has also added,” said Young, who initially worried—erroneously, it turns out—that students would embellish their records.

(Next page: Brand building success in targeting community, employers)

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