The 2019 ASMA Conference: The Need for Online Advocacy in the Academic Community


On September 16th and 17th in Mumbai, Sociabble was honored to participate in the ASMA 2019 Conference, an event that promotes the adoption of social media in academia and education. With a focus on how digital transformation can help academic institutions succeed, the conference highlighted the latest breakthroughs, trends, and evolutions within the education sector. Below are some of the key learnings from the event, regarding employee advocacy in education.

Education is about people. It’s a social industry.

The education sector is a very people-first industry: it is motored by the skills and enthusiasm of teachers, students, researchers, and administrators. A school may be a physical structure, but what makes it a place of learning are the people that teach and learn there. Which is why it only makes sense that universities begin tapping into their most valued resource. Yes, their people! This obviously includes the teaching staff and student body, but it can also encompass alumni, donors, even education thought-leaders. Essentially, online advocacy is the missing piece in the marketing mix for universities. Engaging your academic community internally, and then empowering them to become your brand ambassadors on social media externally, is the logical next step.

The need for authenticity is just as present in academia. Advocacy is key.

At the event, ASMA, India’s biggest conclave on the digital transformation of academia, hosted marketers of the largest universities in the country. Over the course of two days, they discussed media and the role of digital communication for university branding and admissions. The consensus was that the share of digital in the marketing mix is only going to grow, and the need for authenticity in student experience and word of mouth was key to optimizing the experiences of current students and staff, as well as attracting new students and staff of the highest caliber. Advocacy was definitely a new tool that we at Sociabble were excited to introduce to the audience. As we explained, the landscape is changing and advocacy can be a vital piece. Employee advocacy has already helped global corporations and government institutions. But it can be just as effective in academia, where the student body and administrative staff can provide just the same authentic insights as employees at a corporation.

How the right online advocacy tools can make a difference.

Just like in the business world, employee advocacy in education can benefit from the right strategy and proper digital tools. Encouraging an academic community to post and share content, to interact with the posts of others, and to engage with the latest school news can make a tremendous difference. It can turn a group of uninterested, unengaged community members into active, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable advocates. For example:

Quizzes & Polls

Use frequent online polls to acquire feedback and improve the academic experience. Keep tabs on how procedures are working and being received.


By adding campaigns, challenges, rewards, and badges for creating and engaging with content, the academic community has a fun incentive to be involved.

Tailored Digital Newsletters

Having a digital newsletter that’s tailored to specific segments of the community (i.e. a newsletter for students, a newsletter for teaching staff, a newsletter for administrators) can increase the rate of engagement with the latest news and events.

Monitoring ROI

The ROI isn’t just your internal engagement statistics but also your ability to measure clicks garnered (equivalent to paid media saved), and it can also extend to lead generation.

Translation Capabilities

Given the international nature of today’s academic communities and the diversity of its student body, a translation capability for your advocacy platform can bring access to a whole new world of content, and give a voice to everyone.

Mobile Notifications and Alerts

Given how much people rely on portable technology, being able to give them the latest updates and news no matter where they are is often the most effective communications strategy.

Combine the right strategy with the best digital tools.

Having an online platform for promoting advocacy in an academic community can make a tremendous difference. The digital tools described above can drastically change the way members engage and share content about their institution. But it also needs to be backed up by the right methodology. A broader communications strategy is needed to onboard students and staff, to train them to use the tools at their disposal and to monitor their engagement and the overall positive effects of the initiative. And a dedicated team of CSMs should always be on call if any issues spring up. When selecting a partner for employee advocacy in education initiative, both of the aspects should be considered. The proper methodology backed up by the right concrete tools to build a powerful overall platform.

Sociabble is an advocacy platform that does all this and more.

At Sociabble, online advocacy is our specialty. We’ve already helped dozens of global companies with hundreds of projects, providing technical support in the form of our cutting-edge communications platform, and strategic support in the form of methodology, guidelines, and our team of dedicated CSMs. In fact, Sociabble has been used in over 80 countries around the world, including education leaders like MSFT Education and HEC, but also by industry leaders like The Walt Disney Company, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, Group Renault, and BNP Paribas. We provide the experience, the strategy, and the digital tools to turn your community into a powerful team of dedicated advocates, ready to share their experiences, engage with the sector, and promote the awareness and popular perceptions of any organization or institution.

If you’d like to learn more about how Sociabble can help your academic community build an advocacy and communications platform, or learn about employee advocacy in education in general, you can click here for a free demo. We’d love to chat!