Vibrant social media Strategy

Conn College Slide 1This is a live-blogged post during the 2013 AMA Higher Education conference. Josh Jenson, Director of Marketing Communications (@JoshuaJensen) and Andrew Nathanson, Social Media Strategist (@AndrewNathanson) presented.

In 2011, social media world looked like one person posting to Facebook, Twitter and the web… but they quickly realized that the world was much bigger. Connecticut College knew they needed to make a change about how they thought about social media, but how would they harness the enormity of it?

Connecticut College's view of social media in 2011

The result was @ConnCollegeLive – a Twitter channel that allowed the school to harness the power of all content contributors campus-wide. The channel gave those contributors a voice by interacting with every post it was tagged in.

Realized that the first step needed to be governance

  • Fancy way of saying, “Who does what and what are our policies?”
  • They wanted a policy that would lead the college forward
  • Knew that social media, as a communications vehicle, had to meet needs of the community. Wanted to take a vibrant campus community and create an equally vibrant social media community, and needed a policy to support that.

Bieber at Conn-Three Steps to Building a Vibrant Campus Social Media Community as an External Marketing Strategy-

Step 1. Build vibrant community on-campus

Food was the first thing that made @ConnCollegeLive a valuable resource: the school tweeted menus to help fulfill the basic human need of “what am I going to eat today?”

Shortly after the channel’s launch, Hurricane Sandy blew through Connecticut College. The school used @ConnCollegeLive to provide updates throughout storm. Students turned to the Twitter profile to find out about power outages, what buildings were open, what classes/meetings were canceled. @ConnCollegeLive “filled the gaps” of what their traditional communication channels missed.

Students saw the account as a source for immediate information of what was happening on campus. If Connecticut College was going to build a vibrant community on campus, it wasn’t going to be a 9-to-5-when-we-have-time effort, but it would be a 24/7, relevant, timely initiative.

Key Learning: Make it valuable. Give the people what they want and they will follow! (And don't view social as a 9-to-5 job)

Step 2: Bring everything together in coherent way

Connecticut College has a beautiful campus, students consistently shared pretty pics. @ConnCollegeLive RTs and spotlights the best pictures.

#CCfallweekend – started months in advance, built a storify page that served as a way to share the alumni weekend/campaign celebration through social media and not the college’s official news channels.

#finallyacamel – way to get enrolled students excited to come to college. Put together a student survival guide and integrated social media into the book, explaining that Connecticut College is a place where students use social.

Key Learning: When creating content, it needs to be relevant to your audience. The same goes for gathering content—it has to be just as relevant.

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With the FB and Twitter firehoses plugged into the engines indexation, you should be doing everything you can to encourage the social coefficient of your content.  A few shares or retweets per piece of content can go a long way in keeping your site's crawl/indexing fresh (especially on large content sites). As the engines get a little smarter about measuring social reputation and authority, yo…

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