5 Social Media Campaign Ideas from Public Universities
For schools operating in the current marketing environment where Facebook is “in” and paper brochures are “out”, creative ways to not only approach students, but also create buzz and engagement are popping up.
This article focuses on public universities and the widely used attempt to get students more engaged with the school’s social media presence: the social media campaign. While we may not endorse all five of these ideas, we do find them to be useful examples to those who are struggling to create a campaign of their own.
Number 1 – Texas A&M Facebook Cover Photo
Texas A&M’s University Libraries utilized Facebook’s Timeline format to generate direct student involvement. Students in any of the Texas A&M libraries are chosen at random to appear in the cover photo with their name and class year displayed. This is a simple, effective way to showcase students on a public platform like Facebook. Also, it gives students an incentive to visit the library!
Number 2 – Mississippi State Study Abroad Photo Contest
Students are encouraged to capture special moments on camera while they are away on their study abroad programs. Students post their photos on the general Facebook Page for Mississippi State Study Abroad. Once the photos are posted, there is a mad dash to get your photos the most likes, and once the deadline passes, the three entries with the most likes are deemed winners. Students obviously gravitated toward the idea of sharing their once-in-a-lifetime experiences, as over 250 photos were entered in last year’s contest.
Number 3 – University of Minnesota Driven to Discover Video Contest
Here, we have a video contest that is a part of the Golden Gophers’ “Driven to Discover” marketing campaign. Students are instructed to submit videos that not only match the “Driven to Discover” mantra, but also highlight what students look to accomplish in their lives. Minnesota awards a total of $30,000 in scholarship money to 16 total students. The two grand prize winners receiving $5,000, four $2,500 awards, and ten $1,000 awards. All of this scholarship money is awarded based on the amount of Facebook ‘Likes’ each video receives, and the total votes amounted to a staggering 16,659. Not only was this the most creative engagement-manufacturing contest we found, but this is also one with a great, practical prize.
Number 4 – University of Oregon Pin it to Win it
While Oregon’s attempt to stir up activity on Pinterest may not be one we recommend, we figured it would be interesting to share their campaign with you, as well as their campaign’s lack of effectiveness. Students were encouraged to pin an item related to the university using the tag ‘#nationalbrand’. While, some may argue this contest is more interesting than the typical ‘Like to Enter’ on Facebook, the small number of pins (56) for quite a large school highlights how Pinterest may not be the best platform for a university’s social media campaign.
Number 5 – The University of California-Berkeley Foursquare Page
The Golden Bears created their social media campaign with Foursquare. This Berkeley Foursquare page lists nine places that every Berkeley student supposedly must visit before they leave campus. This seemingly clever bucket list-type idea has flopped in a way similar to that of University of Oregon’s “Pin it to Win it”. Only 68 have saved the list, and like Pinterest, Foursquare may not be the best platform for schools to maximize their reach to students.
Social media campaigns can be a great way to create student engagement and we have presented a few great ones and a pair of unsuccessful ones. Just remember that social media campaigns are only a small part of a holistic marketing plan. Now go forth and try it out for your own!