Snow people and social media

February 19, 2010

Last week at the CASE district II conference I wrote a note to myself in one of the sessions about social media. I commented that people in the session seemed to think figuring this social media “thing” out was so hard. I had an experience this past week that makes it seem easy and just about connecting people.

You may have heard that we got a bit of snow here in the Mid-Atlantic region. A few of our alumni staff members built some snowmen outside of the main administration building and dressed them up in Gettysburg gear, and sent us a picture. (below) The online content editor used it as a photo of the day (http://www.gettysburg.edu/news_events/photo_archive.dot) and we posted the link to our Facebook Fan page. It took all of maybe 10 total minutes total to execute. What were the results?

14 likes and 2 positive comments on Facebook

The page on our photo of the day site that we linked to got close to 400 unique views (which is more than our average news story)

Social Media is all about connection. Connect people to what they remember, love, want to see about your school and you probably can’t go wrong until the sun comes out and melts your snowmen away…


Social media icons on the homepage part II

October 8, 2009

Wow has it been an incredibly busy start to the school year. It seems like we never let our foot off the gas from commencement to convocation and we are speeding right through the first semester.

My last post on adding social media icons to the homepage received a number of comments asking me to elaborate on the negative comments I heard.  So I thought I would provide the community with some insight.

I think at lots of places there is probably  a reluctant acceptance of social media. What is this reluctant acceptance? The understanding that it is important to some audience but it can’t really be here to stay and it can’t really be worth the time that web guy puts into it. Of course maybe they said the same thing about that world wide web thing in the 90’s.

I think Nick was correct in his comment that the  introduction of new colors called attention to the icons instead of other elements on the page. Most of the comments had to do with the “look and feel” and I think people reacted to the blunt promotion of these sites. Every once in a while I still have to answer the question on campus – why are we spending time in facebook?

I did get some links showing me how other schools handle social media icons and a few people wanted us to move them to the bottom. But I think Travis makes a really good point in his comment that if we are going to put time, effort, money, and resources into social media we better be ready to promote them. But that promotion doesn’t just happen on the web. If you have a collaborative integrated marketing team cross promotion in the alumni magazine and other venues are equally important.


Social media icons on the homepage

September 24, 2009

A few weeks ago we moved 5 social media icons onto the homepage and the site tools on the website.

This was part of a broad effort to increase the visabilty of our social media efforts on campus. Why put effort into projects if you don’t promote them right?

I was surprised by the reaction that we got across campus in a couple of ways

  • I didn’t get much of a response just a couple of emails or verbal comments as I crossed campus
  • The emails that I did get were very negative

Adding social media to the homepage is a growing trend in higher ed. If you check out Brad Ward’s blog @bluefuego you can find a post he did in august comparing the use of social media on a homepage over the course of 6 months. Well worth your read.

Good luck as we continue to fight the good fight with social media in higher ed.


Make the brand easy

August 13, 2009

I often hear these phrases in higher education:

“We can’t make our logo easy to download. Then people might want to use it”

Isn’t this exactly what social media and web 2.0 is all about. User generated content. Social networks. Social Media is word of mouth marketing for this generation. Our communities are going to start groups and conversations using our names why not give them the tools to do it right?

There are 2 examples that I think are really good. One from higher education is Skidmore Interactive. Skidmore does a nice job of bringing all their social networks together and maximizing their brand on the sites.

http://cms.skidmore.edu/interactive/

One from the world of politics is the Obama campaign.The downloads section of the site is extremely impressive. You can get everything from a background image, to buddy icons, to posters.

http://origin.barackobama.com/downloads/


Guest Post on higher ed marketing blog

May 19, 2009

Andrew Careaga is the director of communications for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T, formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla). On Monday I was fortunate enough to be selected to guest post on his blog higher ed marketing. Feel free to read about five principles for social media strategy.



What is the value of having a twitter account for your institution?

April 23, 2009

At the CASE Communications Marketing and Technology conference last week we talked a lot about twitter. Some of the attendees really questioned the value and some had to go back and make presentations on the the value. So I decided to tackle that question here.

What is the value of having a twitter account for your institution?

It’s Free
In today’s economy and the budget impact that will be felt by higher education “free” is the right price. Of course nothing is free it might take some staff time but the “cost” to get in is low impact even on staff time.

You can grow incrementally
There is no rule that states you have to tweet live for your institution or how many tweets you need to make a day. There are best practices but to get started you can start small and grow.  Push you RSS feed to your twitter account. Try to tweet one event live like commencement and see how it goes.

You can engage people
It offers a chance to engage people you might otherwise be missing. Maybe you have some alumni who have gotten hooked on twitter and are following the college account – but don’t want to get the e-newsletter. It offers people one more chance to be engaged and connected to your institution.

It’s not just about twitter
With the chance to pull tweets to your webpage I think maybe the largest opportunities with Twitter will be embedding live up to the minute content onto a webpage. Maybe the news article about commencement wasn’t so interesting but the chance to read about it live via a twitter feed to your site might pull someone in. Maybe that trip a student is taking and “tweeting” about is more interesting when a prospective student can read live what the experience is like?

Are there others to add to the list? Let me know.


Sustaining a social media program

March 27, 2009

Social Media is a hot topic. I just got back from the CASE District II conference in Baltimore and every session dealing with Social Media was packed. Some colleges were just trying to figure it out. In my session on Obama most colleges (by a show of hands) had facebook pages. But for those of us that have truly invested time, staff, resources into social media how do sustain the program past a student intern or staff members with an interest? How do we integrate social media into our communications and marketing strategy for the future. Here are a few thoughts please add your own…

Institutional Commitment
People outside the web office need to see the value and start using the tools. If social media is only a web office project you will have a tough time. You need to find buy-in from enrollment, development, career planning, communications and others.

Education
YOU need to take on the role as the social media expert and educate your campus community. You need to encourage others to be courageous and try social media. How can you talk about it and advocate for it if you are not involved with it? Education includes sessions for your vice president, the president’s cabinet, and the board. All of these groups need to learn how important a role social media is playing in your web strategy.

Integrate
To truly sustain a program you need to integrate your tactical strategies into everyday business processes. Social media can’t be a communications afterthought but instead a key part to your planning efforts.



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