Meet the Community Cloud: 4 Ways Higher Ed Innovators Are Using Community-Building Technology

By Nathalie Mainland | June 10, 2016 | Communities, Higher Education

Companies have recognized and proven the value of online communities in helping them attract, retain, and provide service to customers. In higher ed, early adopters are seeing equally powerful results when the technology is applied across the student lifecycle: higher prospect conversion, increased student retention, and more engaged alumni.

Beyond Email Communities WebinarLet’s take a quick look at the Salesforce Community Cloud and a few of the colleges and universities that have implemented it.

A “Community” is a portal, a forum, a directory, a knowledge base, a help desk, and a private social network – all rolled into one (and IT departments are often happy to learn that a Community can replace all of these).

Your students will start to think of the Community as the place where they start and end their day. Your prospects will keep coming back to check their application status and personalized to-do list. And your alums will use it as a space to network and learn about events.

Unlike the static portals of the past, Communities are mobile-first and based around groups and feeds, follows and likes — just like the apps your constituents already use. But unlike those apps, you can report on user activity, so you can understand how constituents are interacting and engaging.

Community Dashboards

Four common use cases for Communities have emerged among the higher ed institutions that have implemented them:

Applicant Communities
Attract and convert more prospective students with an immersive application experience that keeps them on track with tasks and engaged with your recruiters and ambassadors.
Student Communities
Student Connect
Increase retention and satisfaction by giving students a one-stop shop that’s more than just a service portal. It’s a digital space for them to connect to people and groups across campus.
Alumni Communities
Alumni homepage
Foster your alumni community by providing a place for them to read the latest news, expand their professional network, sign up for upcoming events, and of course, make a donation in just a few clicks.
Faculty & Staff Communities
Faculty homepage
An internal community can revolutionize the way your faculty and staff work together, and break down siloes like never before. Facilitate collaboration in recruiting, application review, fundraising campaigns, and other projects.

Schools like Cornell University, University of Florida, and Western Governor’s University are already using Communities. How will you foster your institution’s community on campus and around the world?

See how Columbia University and Babson College are using Community Cloud in our upcoming webinar Beyond Emails & Websites: Using Salesforce Communities to Connect & Engage Your Alumni Network, featuring 7Summits, an expert Community implementation partner.

Download the “Community Reimagined” E-Book