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Sabiha Afrin

Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications
American University School of Public Affairs

Sabiha Afrin is the Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at the School of Public Affairs at American University. Her work focuses on growing business and territory while driving quality traffic to company and institutional websites and sales portals. She has extensive knowledge in developing large-scale marketing campaigns in several advertising agencies and global organizations in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to holding a master’s degree in marketing and communications, she has over nine years of experience researching trends, creating cutting-edge strategies & content, and delivering measurable results. 

Sabiha’s successful record of doubling audience engagement for clients in the education field led her to American University, where in a short period of time she and her team were nominated for the Staff Performance Award for their work on a university-wide fundraising campaign that far exceeded goals. Sabiha is proud to be a part of SPA at AU in Washington, D.C., as she firmly believes that higher education in public affairs and policy shapes the knowledge, skills, and values of our future changemakers.

Sabiha Afrin’s Session(s):


Utilizing Social Media to Drive Meaningful Engagement with Students and Prevent 'Melt' in the Hybrid Era

While enrollment numbers at the School of Public Affairs at American University stayed steady in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, it soon became clear that students would not be able to return to campus in the academic year 2020-2021. With this news, new challenges emerged for SPA’s in-house communications team. How can they tease the excitement of college life without a campus tour? Finally, how can they ensure that these students show up for a class in a virtual world?

Relatively quickly, they realized that their normal strategies of paid social ads and organic content would fall short of the deeper student connection they sought and that an overtly salesy approach would seem insensitive of the times. So, with direction from their dean, the team rolled up their sleeves and designed an innovative social media campaign that doubled their video views across all platforms and saw the strongest engagement rate ever. This campaign helped them connect effectively with current and prospective students and compelled them to “show up” for that first day of the virtual class.

As we define the new normal for higher ed marketing after COVID-19, it is essential that we build innovative opportunities for a virtual connection. Chay and Sabiha will share their tried-and-tested strategies to tackle the communications and branding challenges for a hybrid education system post-COVID 19.

This presentation will focus on:

  1. How to make your faculty your brand’s spokesperson on social media to attract and retain students.
  2. Proven strategies, tips, and user-friendly apps/tools for designing an integrated video campaign and staging engaging virtual events using organic features.
  3. At the end of this session, attendees will be able to develop innovative organic social media campaigns to build meaningful connection with their target audience in the hybrid world.  

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