#findray

March 23, 2010

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Annual CUPRAP Spring Conference. It was a good conference and worth my time. But I saw an interesting social media campaign by a vendor that I thought was worth mentioning here.

A few days before the conference I started to tweet using the hashtag #cuprap. Whenever I speak on social media I like to use the conference hashtag as a teaching point. Zone 5, a communications firm, was also using the hashtag with an interesting promotion. They were encouraging people to #findray at the conference. There were buttons and logos and Ray even started tweeting from sessions and some of the nighttime conference functions. At one point I think Ray even made a comment about the mustard sauce at the Thursday night dinner.

Eventually I did find Ray – or maybe Ray found me. But Ray turned out to be Ray Witkowski an employee of Zone 5 who had not attended the conference before. Once you found him you got a t-shirt and a chance to win an Ipad. I found the approach refreshing, interesting, and a good use of social media to create buzz. I may never use the firm but they will stick in my head as innovative and interesting in the future.


CUPRAP Conference

March 11, 2010

I had the opportunity to attend my first CUPRAP conference today and present with Alana Mauger, Director of Communications, at Montgomery County Community College in PA. We had a great session with lots of good questions and interaction. You can follow the CUPRAP conversation on twitter at #CUPRAP. I promised to post our powerpoint so here it is please feel free to download it and share/steal ideas from it. I’m sorry we didn’t get through everything but as one twitter follower commented this afternoon”You’ve done a good job when you don’t get to finish.”


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…


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/


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.



cost benefit analysis who is minding the web …

February 10, 2009

It is an interesting time in higher education web communications. The economy is down, endowments have taken a hit, operating budgets are being looked at closer than ever. In the January issue of Campus Technology the lead article is about how to keep your “IT” job.

While all this is happening I have found myself in the interesting dilemma of spending more and more time on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I am spending less time on our insitutional site at a time where we need to make sure our messages are sharp, focused on value, and consistent with our brand? Of course increasing my institutions visibility on these third party sites is important but what is the trade off?

While we are all out trying to figure out how to best take advantage of social media who is at home minding our institutions website? What is the “perfect” balance of time between the .edu site and Facebook?

I am not sure I have figured it out. We are trying to make sure that our insitutional site is on message while promoting and prompting conversation about that message with social media tools. What thoughts do other web professionals have?


Rolling out a new president

February 8, 2009

Over the course of the last week I have been “heads down” as I like to say in a project. I ignored twitter, articles piled up in my Google reader, and some of my on campus constituents heard “we’ll get to that next week”.

Last week I had an opportunity that doesn’t come around every year for a marketing professional in higher education. On Friday Gettysburg College trustees unanimously named Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 our 14th president. It was one of the most interesting and quite frankly fun professional experiences of my career.

Since Dr. Riggs had been presented to campus the week before as a sole finalist we had a about a week to prepare for the announcement roll out but we wanted to think outside the box and incorporate our Web 2.0 and Social Media strategy. We had a detailed plan for the week with assignments so everything was all set to go come Friday morning and all we had to do was push the buttons. (It never quite works out as you plan but Friday was pretty close)

Shortly after the board voted the announcement was made in the following ways:

  • News release posted on website (also pushed to RSS feed and twitter account) Included within the news release was a short video (also posted to YouTube) of  Dr. Riggs which outlined her vision for Gettysburg’s future as well as a flicker photo gallery. Since she graduated from Gettysburg we were able to find historical shots from her yearbooks.
  • Large flash banner on the college homepage changed to reflect the announcement
  • On-campus email
  • Alumni and parent email
  • Text message to those who had signed up
  • Facebook update to fans as well as the fan page photo was updated to reflect the announcement
  • Gettysburg College Linkedin group had the news release posted

We attempted to keep things current throughout the day as well.

  • By around 3:00 pm we had posted a video interview with the chair of the search committee that was done that morning around 7:30 am.
  • We also posted to our flicker photo gallery photos from the different campus events and receptions throughout the day
  • The President’s website was completely updated by the end of the day.

Since we had enabled comments on our news releases in November and sent an update to fans on Facebook we have had quite a response to the announcement. We have received over 30 comments from alumni, parents, and friends on the news story and an additional 5 or 6 posts on the fan page.

As I said at the top of this post this experience the most interesting of my career. How did we do? Could we have taken advantage of Web 2.0 and Social Media tools in different ways? Could we have engaged our audiences better?

Let me know.


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