Keeping Meetings Interesting

Every now and then I write about my staff social media group. People who work here at Coastal Carolina University and have proven to be leaders when it comes to social media on campus meet with me each month. We chat about trends and how we can improve the social experience at #CCU. We even organize and work together on events. Heck, sometimes the news even does a story on us.

One way I wanted to make this group stand out while also energizing the meetings was to institute a fun competitive rivalry. This morning we concluded our third #CCUSocialMedia Dream Team competition.

Throughout the semester, the dozen or so staff members in the group have opportunities to earn points. They can pick up these points in one of two ways. The first option is to score them at our monthly meetings. I open up each session with an icebreaker type game. Usually always having a social media theme worked in, the challenge can be classic such as “name that tune” or trivia. Sometimes I present games that depend on chance or that require the group members to use strategy. Whatever it is, points are always awarded to the top finishers.

This is the original group. Our crew has grown over the past couple semesters but here is what the original tally looked like.

This is the original group. Our crew has grown over the past couple semesters but here is what the original tally looked like.

The second way to earn points is via the e-mail update I send out. In between meetings I will touch base with the group by sending an e-mail that details happenings, ideas, and concerns within social media at Coastal. Sometimes it can get quite lengthy. In another effort to foster fun but to also get them to read the whole update, I embed a question randomly in the e-mail. Once a staffer comes across the question and identifies the answer, he/she e-mails me. The first person to respond receives 5 points, the second person to respond receives 4 points, the third person receives 3 points, and everyone else who responds receives one point.

These two opportunities work to develop better engagement within our group. Some people do get pretty competitive. Prior to this semester, a clear winner had emerged atop the leaderboard both times. However, when the dust settled with this most recent competition earlier this month, something I didn’t really expect to happen did.

There was a tie.

These are the final standings from this semester's competition.

These are the final standings from this semester’s competition.

It was a perfect storm with a few different things falling into place that enabled April Betsch from CHANT411 to tie Andrea Daniels from Dining Services, 24-24. I took the weekend to decide what I would institute for the tiebreaker and when we returned to work that Monday I told them my plans…an Instagram contest.

Although I am now retired from participating in such contests, I have no qualms about organizing them. I told April and Andrea to submit a CCU-related photo to me so I could post them back-to-back on our main @CCUchanticleers Instagram account. Whoever submitted the photo that generated the most likes and comments would win the semester competition.

This was the photo that April submitted for the Instagram contest.

This was the photo that April submitted for the Instagram contest.

I had the Instagram contest last six hours and both ladies worked their tails off during the whole duration to win. When the buzzer sounded, April had just narrowly edged out Andrea. After I went through and verified all the comments, April had garnered 510 total likes and comments to Andrea’s 506 likes and comments. For it to come down to that slim of a margin was pretty remarkable.

This was the photo that Andrea submitted for the Instagram contest.

This was the photo that Andrea submitted for the Instagram contest.

Today was our final social media meeting of the semester. As is custom, this particular one takes on more of a festive feel than the others with the main attraction being the announcement of awards. Winners this morning included Alex Souza (athletics) for Post of the Year, Travis Overton (Dean of Students) and April Betsch (CHANT411) for Promotion of the Year, Jennifer Sellers (sustainability) for Most Inspirational, and Andrea Daniels (Dining Services) for Rookie of the Year.

Here I am with today's winners. Moving clockwise starting in the top right that is me with April, then Alex, then Andrea, then Jennifer.

Here I am with today’s winners. Moving clockwise starting in the top right that is me with April, then Alex, then Andrea, then Jennifer.

Of course the announcement of the big victor came last. By winning the semester points competition, April was automatically crowned MVP. For all her efforts she didn’t get much; a photo commemorating her accomplishment, a $15 gift card to a local burrito place, and a certificate. However, as April and the other two MVPs before her will tell you, it isn’t about what you get in return, it is just about saying that you were the best for that semester.

Me with the MVP, April Betsch. She is holding her framed photo.

Me with the MVP, April Betsch. She is holding her framed photo.

I told my co-workers today that I appreciate them playing along. It takes a nerdy person to stage such a silly game in a professional environment. For them to put up with me is pretty nice. Don’t Blink.

Talking to Young People About Social Media Image

This morning I had another really cool speaking engagement. I was invited to speak to students enrolled in our “Each 1 Teach 1” program here at Coastal. Designed to give high school students a head start to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills before hitting college, this program is the brainchild of both our business school and education school.

Myself with some great Coastal Carolina students and Conway High School students after today's presentation.

Myself with some great Coastal Carolina students and Conway High School students after today’s presentation.

The topic I was specifically asked to address? Social media image.

I have spoken about this topic before and I think sometimes people have a different idea on what I am going to say. When I go up in front of others though, especially young people, I never present a message of doom and gloom. I don’t tell students to fear social media, post sparingly, and/or set all their accounts to private. Rather, I tell them to completely embrace social media in a way that will enhance their personal brand.

Today I told the students to stay up on latest social media trends and to have a solid presence on all the major social media networks. I tried to relay to them that a job candidate with a vibrant and professional social media presence will appeal to employers more than the candidate with zero social presence at all. I explained that folks who maintain engaging social media public profiles show that they are sophisticated, current, and have little to hide.

Ooops! I am definitely blinking in this photo.

Ooops! I am definitely blinking in this photo.

Of course I did touch on the unfortunate users who sabotage their social media image with loud opinions, insensitive comments, and embarrassing rants. We went around the room talking about each of our social media pet peeves. I cautioned them about a common career-ending feature that is available both on computers and iPhones, the screenshot, that can make your most ill-advised tweet or post live forever. I let them know that social media does have a dark side.

But by a wide margin, my 30-minute presentation today was mostly focused on the opportunities we all have to utilize social media in a way that will help us achieve greater success. To the high school students in the room I told them to start now on building their social media presence and personal brand. Don’t be afraid to showcase what makes you stand out and what you can bring to the table via your social channels. There is no greater tool we have to tell our own individual stories than through social media. Don’t Blink.

Successfully Bolstering Our Snapchat Account

Last week I excitedly wrote about a social media event I was holding called SnapchaNt. Having already established a solid Snapchat account for Coastal Carolina University I wanted to bolster it up a few notches. Before we started marketing this past Friday’s event we had 304 followers and for each snap we added to our story we received around 150 views.

I was a little nervous on how SnapchaNt would go.

I was a little nervous on how SnapchaNt would go.

The premise of SnapchaNt was simple. On March 27 we would shut down all of our other social media outlets and communicate with our audience solely through Snapchat. Because our family of social media networks would be absent of content for the day, we would make up for it on Snapchat by snapping interesting images/video all day long.

I didn’t know exactly how SnapchaNt would go. It is definitely not beyond me to create an event that turns out to be a dud. I didn’t know if I would receive a backlash from the folks whose only social media consumption is viewing Facebook from a desktop. Sure we already had 300 people following us but was that the cap? Did any more students out there really want to connect with us on Snapchat?

Although my fears were legitimate, they never materialized. The minute we started to promote SnapchaNt early this past week we had a steady stream of users adding us. By the day of the event, the steady stream had turned into a ferocious stream. Early Friday morning it became apparent that campus was on board with our Snapchat push. Between my intern Jada and myself, we added about 50 images to our Snapchat story. The only hiccup was about mid-afternoon when for whatever reason some Snaps wouldn’t upload to the story.

We sent out fun Snaps but we also sent out informative Snaps.

We sent out fun Snaps but we also sent out informative Snaps.

A couple really cool things happened. First, I ran a few contests where I would send a Snap out inviting our student body to visit my office for a free promo item. That morning I greeted numerous students who walked through the door for a complimentary prize. Second, also through a Snap, I asked students to send us #CCU-related Snaps. Once again, we received a heavy response.

Just a few of the Snaps we received from our audience.

Just a few of the Snaps we received from our audience.

Of course the best thing of all was the tremendous growth our account profited from. At the end of the day Friday, our account had grown from 304 followers at the start of the week to a whopping 851 followers. Better yet, the majority of our Snaps added to our story received well over 600 views.

As you can see from these numbers, SnapchaNt was a huge success.

As you can see from these numbers, SnapchaNt was a huge success.

I would recommend that all universities have a presence on Snapchat. From there, I would definitely encourage that one day be set aside to devote completely to Snapchat in some sort of fun way. I don’t get to say this with all of my events, but SnapchaNt was a massive success. Don’t Blink.

Sweet Way to Start the Thursday Rundown

It is the last Thursday in February. However, no matter if it is the first or last, any Thursday means it is time for the rundown. Time to get started.

#CCU Director of Athletics – Today news came down that our university now has a permanent athletic director. The man officially in charge of our sports program is Matt Hogue. Not a stranger to this huge responsibility at all as he served as the interim athletic director for the past several months, I couldn’t be more thrilled for Matt now that it is official. He was one of the three members on the committee that decided to hire me. When I came for my on-campus visit almost one year ago he was so welcoming and professional. Since I have started working here at Coastal he has humbly reached out to me several times and has even asked for advice whether it be about social media or about how we would do certain things at Montana. AD Hogue has already done a great job in his interim role and will continue to move Chanticleer Athletics forward now that he is the guy.

This is a photo I took of Matt during summer commencement.

This is a photo I took of Matt during summer commencement.

Recognition for #CCUSocialMedia – Yesterday I received word that our summer #CCUSA campaign was recognized in the Educational Advertising Awards. Entered in the “Social Media: 4-year Institution, 5,000-10,000” category, it received the bronze award. Although I am much more interested in winning gold awards, earning any type of national recognition is a cool deal and a great starting point for our social media program. Thank you to Kevin Olivett and Jon Fernandez for their great help assisting with the conception of the #CCUSA campaign.

#CCUSA earned some recognition through the Educational Advertising Awards.

#CCUSA earned some recognition through the Educational Advertising Awards.

Very Interesting App – Last week my brother drew my attention to an app called Fling. Here is the concept: You take a photo or video, hit send, and then the app will transport the media you created to 50 random people worldwide. My brother likened Fling to a cross between Snap Chat and Chat Roulette. I personally like it because I can broadcast my blog to 50 new people at a time over the whole planet. Sadly, I have found out that not everyone is as enthusiastic about my website as I am. You see, people who receive your “Fling” can respond. I have had a couple people tell me in not so nice terms that they don’t really care about www.brentreser.com and that they rather see a hot girl instead.

This is the Fling logo.

This is the Fling logo.

Silly Weekend Planned – Saturday will be a lot of fun! I am not going to release the exact details now because I am going to write about it on Sunday night but I will say this: It has to do with Sidney and I traveling to the area of Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a typical “Brent Being Brent” trip. Stay tuned to www.brentreser.com for a recap at the end of the weekend.

Words of Wisdom– Exactly one year ago today, these words of wisdom appeared on my “Life’s Little Instructions” calendar. This definitely goes down as one of my favorite pieces of advice. Personal disappointment is tough, but nothing helps remedy the pain more than by lifting someone else up. I have tried to use this remedy as much as possible as I have faced my own setbacks. With these words appearing exactly 365 days ago, I knew I had to share.

Great Advice!

Great Advice!

———————-

Have a superb weekend, everyone! As always, I am very appreciative of your readership. Don’t Blink.

#CCUSocialMedia and WMBF Helping Out

To view the news story that this post is based on, click here.

As a proud Chanticleer football season ticket holder, there was no way I was going to let my two tickets go to waste. It was 1 p.m. on Saturday and I had no one to give my tickets to. With the game sold out and demand high from people who didn’t get tickets, I offered up my seats on #CCUSocialMedia.

I simply sent out a Tweet on our official twitter account asking our audience to retweet it. At 2 p.m. a user who retweeted the message would win the two tickets I had to giveaway. Twenty-five people responded with a retweet but one Coastal student added a little more.

This was the tweet that was sent out asking our social media audience to retweet it for a chance to win football tickets.

This was the tweet that was sent out asking our social media audience to retweet it for a chance to win football tickets.

After retweeting the @CCUChanticleers tweet, Marissa Reusch replied with a tweet of her own. She stated that she didn’t have tickets but she did have a dad who was only in town for the weekend before he would fly back out to Kuwait. If at all possible, she would like to take her dad to the game that night.

Besides retweeting the tweet, Marisa sent this.

Besides retweeting the tweet, Marisa sent this.

Well it was a no-brainer from there. I selected her as our winner of the promotion and hand delivered them the tickets when they arrived on campus. I managed to snap a photo of father and daughter with the tickets in hand.

This was the tweet announcing Marisa as the winner.

This was the tweet announcing Marisa as the winner.

Okay, this isn’t the main point of the blog post. Of course anyone would have done what I did given the situation. Who would deny a man serving our country and a daughter begging for a special experience with her dad a couple of football tickets? No one. But it is what came next that really touched me.

Marisa and her dad, Darryl, with the game tickets they won on Saturday afternoon.

Marisa and her dad, Darryl, with the game tickets they won on Saturday afternoon.

Journalism these days centers on social media. Forget about press releases and websites…reporters discover their stories through social media. WMBF, a local news station in the Myrtle Beach/Conway area, noticed the Twitter promotion. The station also noticed the subsequent Facebook post that identified the winners and their special story. Brooke Holden, a reporter for WMBF, tweeted at Marisa with a story request. The next day a news crew was at the airport to speak with Darryl and Marisa Reusch.

This was the story produced by WMBF. It chronicled the social media events of Saturday afternoon perfectly. But what it did even better was show the love between Marisa and her dad along with the heartache of saying goodbye. Watching them hug with tears in their eyes made my own eyes water up. The uneasiness of having a loved one serving overseas in a war country is unfathomable to many of us.

I want to thank WMBF for putting together such a heartfelt story and to Marisa and Darryl for doing it. As I got misty-eyed at my desk this morning I couldn’t help but once again realize that I love social media and I love my job. Don’t Blink.