In 2016, the University of Portsmouth and Business School chose Aluminati to develop their own branded online engagement platform, Portsmouth LinkUP, offering a professional networking directory, eMentoring and searchable events and jobs.
We were looking for a platform that would primarily facilitate online mentoring. This is something we had been wanting to set up for a while but were apprehensive due to the small size of our platform team. Our Business School then decided that they wanted a social platform for their alumni, so we decided to find something that offered a solution for both requirements. In addition, we liked that Aluminati are a UK-based company and the support that this enabled them to provide.
The experience with Aluminati has been great. The team have been very supportive and understanding of our limitations in terms of small team resources. Each stage of the process was well explained and we were given lots of support with the marketing and communication of the platform. Overall the experience has been straightforward and as simple as it could be. All the customisations have been implemented as requested and last minute changes were accommodated. It has been great having a named Account Manager as the single person to deal with and Louise has always been available whenever needed.
Portsmouth LinkUP launched in September 2016, and is offered as part of the Portsmouth Alumni Association membership, initially facilitating alumni-alumni relationships, but would later be opened up to current students to enable them to benefit from the wealth of knowledge and skills within their alumni community.
In November 2017, the platform was further enhanced with a digital library of online resources, and a few months later, the platform was also extended to all Portsmouth staff to use.
The platform quite successfully reached over 1000 members quickly. As the programme progressed it became more demanding, and the team knew that with some extra support they could grow the programme even more. With limited staff resourcing and great ambitions for the platform, a year after the initial launch, Portsmouth decided to engage Aluminati’s Mentoring Consultancy Service to increase the numbers and activity on the platform as well as to minimize the daily resource put into the project, whilst still attaining excellent results.
The consultant, Maria Gutierrez, designed a recruitment pack for the Portsmouth team with email and social media content, as well as a mailing plan to get new alumni and students on board. An ‘Improving Engagement’ strategy was also developed, which included a plan to manage internal stakeholders, a full analysis of members on the platform, and content to recruit and engage more mentors as well as to encourage the sync of profiles with LinkedIn among other factors. The third element of the project was the creation of 20 mentoring resources that cover an array of fascinating topics for mentors and mentees.
The results of the project have been astounding and in just two months, the Portsmouth LinkUP platform saw the number of students on the platform grow by 7 times, a 44% increase on the number of alumni members, and a 62% increase in the number of active mentors on the platform.
Some comments from the team at the University of Portsmouth:
Maria has helped us to get the mentoring programme off the ground by providing invaluable advice and content. She enabled us to focus on a number of key communications with different target groups and provided both the content and segmentation for these. As a small team, working with Maria saved us a lot of time and resource and has helped us to grow the programme much more quickly than we would have done on our own; she has saved us a good few months of work.
It has been great to speak to someone who understands the pressures of running the platform single-handedly and we wouldn’t have seen the growth we have in the last 6 months had we not worked with Maria.
The mentoring resources provided by Maria are great and have been very well received by alumni and students. They are generating a lot of views on our Digital Library and saved us a lot of work in sourcing these resources ourselves.
The whole consultancy process was very straightforward and easy to do, and working with Maria has been an absolute pleasure. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and has been a great support to me in other areas of the platform as well.