When summer rolls around and students leave campus, many professionals in higher education have the opportunity to become lackadaisical. The good ones don’t of course, including the social media marketers. While things definitely do slow down it doesn’t mean you stop trying to improve. Especially in the realm of social media where you spend all academic year trying to engage your audience, the last thing you would want to do in the summer is slack off and lose everyone.
The months of June and July give me an opportunity to be especially creative while experimenting a little bit. In tonight’s blog post I will give three quick examples of what I have done this week to make sure we stay in front of our social media audience.
Snapchat Alphabet Soup – Yesterday afternoon I placed a time sensitive challenge over our large and engaged Snapchat audience. I gave them a half hour to spell out “#CCU” anyway they pleased. They then of course had to Snap us a photo. In 30 minutes, I received about 30 images! Some people got really creative as one person used waffles, another used M&Ms, and another used s’mores ingredients! Others wrote the hashtag in cool calligraphy or wrote it on the beach. In the end I chose a winner (the s’mores entry won) and posted a really cool photo gallery on Facebook from the Snaps I had captured via screenshot.
Value Your Alumni – During the summer, students have the tendency to stray away from social media because they are on vacation. However, that is not the case with alumni as most work year round so they stay consistent with their daily habits (which includes looking at social media). Today on Facebook I asked our alumni audience to comment underneath my post so that we could thank them for attending Coastal. With that motivator of a personal thank you from CCU, we had hundreds of alums leave comments. I spent today writing over 230 replies to Coastal grads. Don’t think I was just saying “thank you” either. I tried to work in a personal note for each person. It was time consuming, but fun, and best of all, our audience really appreciated it.
Face-To-Face with the Future – During the summer, our university hosts nine different freshmen orientations. Last year I used guerilla marketing tactics to reach this very valuable group. On the second day of each orientation, there is an info fair that takes place. When this year rolled around, I wanted to take a more organized approach than what I did previously. I requested my own table for #CCUSocialMedia. This past Friday I was given a half table but by the second orientation on Tuesday I had my own space. During this one hour info fair I run social media promotions exclusively for the freshmen and bait them with sweet swag. I have had the opportunity to talk to many parents and students while literally watching our following on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat shoot right up.
I don’t love summer just because it is hot outside and I get to eat a lot of ice cream. I also like it from a work aspect. Although it is more of a low key time, there is the potential to make some big gains. While some higher education social media marketers might use it as a time to rest, we at Coastal Carolina University are using it to get better. Don’t Blink.