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.