Social media’s ubiquity in our society is undeniable. While many of us have used it for personal, educational, or professional reasons, there may be times when we called to use to advertise our programs and services. After working with some of our departments, as well as the BSU Graduate School and Academic Achievement Center this semester, I thought it may be helpful to share a philosophy on social media marketing consistent with many others in the higher education space.
If you and your department have agreed to utilize social media communication channels to advertise your events or services, consider the following overarching areas:
1. Audience: Who are you trying to reach? Students (resident or commuter), faculty, staff, administrators, parents, alumni, the general BSU community, or all of the above? Often we approach marketing from a “one size fits all” approach and that may not be the best or most efficient way. Consider creating a brief assessment and find out how your audience prefers to receive these messages (e.g. email, text, social media, web pages, printed flyers, etc.)
Also, consider who are the influencers in your intended audiences. Over social media, one way to discover this is to search for their Klout or Kred scores. Using Google Chrome as your web browser, you can install the Klout Plugin and using Twitter.com can immediately see (through their scores) who you should mention and reach out to help amplify your efforts.
Without a full understanding of your intended audience, you may not reach your intended results.
2. Message: What is your intended goal and how can you say this as simply as possible that your intended audience will understand? For example:
– Intended Goal: Get 50 student teams to sign up for the 7th Annual Campus MovieFest Competition
– Simply Put: Who will represent BSU at Campus MovieFest in Hollywood this year?
– How Will Audience Understand?: Join us on a CampusMovie “Quest!”
Often times we over complicate this step with operational details… instead, keep it simple. If you have to change your audience or have multiple audiences, you must repeat this step all over again.
3. Social Media Tool(s): What main social media tool(s) fit the message(s) you are trying to share with your intended audience(s)? With so many tools to choose from, how can you make this as simple as possible for your audience to consume the message? To continue the example from point 2:
– Social Media Tool(s): YouTube, cross-posted to Facebook and Twitter. Our intended audience are student filmmakers, so using a medium that shares videos is important. As secondary tools, Facebook and Twitter amplify the original message, making it easier to share with wider audiences.
4. What Kind of Help Do You Need? After making decisions on the first three, its important to consider what kind of help you will need to pull of the details together. Will you need to cover any costs not planned for (e.g. Targeted Facebook or Twitter Ads?) How can you use RCC (soon to be Student Affairs) Marketing services to implement some of your ideas? Reach out to those who may be able to help!
5. Defining Success: Finally, determine what types of metrics you will use to measure success. To continue on the example above:
–Final Numbers of Teams for the 2014 Campus MovieFest
– Number of clicks to: Video, Facebook, Twitter, Bit.ly links
– Analytics information from Facebook and Twitter’s backend, including: Unique views, retweets, re-shares, comments, and mentions.
At the end of these steps, you should be able to tell a STORY about what you and your department are trying to do that INSPIRES ACTION to share, encourage, or even take part. As a division, our intention should be to find that story at the intersection of the audience, message, and social media tool used.
How do you approach marketing in your department? Why or why not is social media included in your strategy?