The Sweet Case for #Selfies at #Graduation + Happiness In General

PicCollageAh, graduation is over – congratulations to all of the 2014 graduates across our country! Here is a lovely quote from Shonda Rhimes’ Dartmouth Commencement speech this year that went viral:

“Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy, and every single time you get a chance, stand up in front of people. Let them see you.”-Shonda Rhimes

The results of the #SOU2104 #Selfie Graduation initiative were awesome. Truly, pictures do tell a thousand words. Elation, authenticity, and that particular coolness that simply comes with a pair of sunglasses, a graduation hat tassle (must be an official word for that), and a strong sense of graduate pride and accomplishment were evident in the photos.

Documenting graduation via selfies was a way to involve students in celebrating their accomplishment in graduating and the initiative creates a visual record on Instagram of college completion.

sou selfie 7

This topic of – letting them see you – is quite apropos in light of this year’s  controversy surrounding taking selfies at graduations. From Bryant University to the University of South Florida – many college campuses banned selfies at graduation.

I encouraged top leadership at SOU to consider the counter. Let us encourage this millennial gesture.A pitch is always in order, which is part of what I enjoy about working as a social media marketer. 

sou selfie 5  image(1)

The whole idea of letting them see you defines social media. Social media is all about us as the viewer witnessing the author’s participation. In life. In clothes. At a show. On vacation. Cooking. At Graduation.

UCG with strategic hashtags is streamlining the content towards particular marketing goals.

And, sure, you can hire a photographer for a job – but there’s nothing like a UCG initiative to obtain images mediated not from an outside party, but from your own demographic.

Plus, you’ll always get a swift turn around time – such as in real-time – on photos taken by and from your own demographic. That sure makes me happy!

sou selfie 3 small#SOU2014 #Selfies

The pitch:

  • Now is a time to leverage anything positive – let our students know we celebrate them!
  • Let us also have our students do positive word of mouth marketing for SOU – by documenting their experience and take selfies at graduation. 
  • Prospective students – millennials and their younger friends – all use the hashtag #selfie. They search for #selfies. If we encourage the hash #selfie in combination with the hash #SOU2014 and #SOUashland – this expands our reach on social media, e.g. we reaches new markets.
  • Posting banners on-site raise awareness around this initiative and is a pro-active step to make crystal clear what University expectations are on the appropriate spaces students can celebrate their success via selfie photos among friends and family but NOT on stage or while getting their traditional SOU portrait taken by a hired photographer
  • The secondary goal with the signage and banners is to create visuals that do not detract from the overall Commencement, but simply meet the goal of succinct eduction on the appropriate spaces students can celebrate their success via selfie photos among friends and family.

Outcomes:

  • Engagement on the FB Album was positive, but to be expected did not receive as much engagement as Instagram. I uploaded all of the selfies to Instagram (regrammed them) some pics reaching more than 40 likes! 🙂
  • Upon reporting the outcomes to top leadership today, I was thrilled to get extremely positive feedback. Hot tip: words like “phenomenal” and “great work” mean good things in the workplace.
  • And most importantly, you can see from the happy comments below and on many of the pics on IG that students thought it was cool that their school regrammed their selfies. Cuz it was.


PicCollage2

Conception:

  • Research #selfie #graduation on iconosquare and IG
  • Pull graphics for inspiration and brainstorming session with Graphic Designer
  • Greg had the idea of adding “we did it” as opposed to “i did it” to the banner – which was a genius idea!

collage selfie brainstorm

Final banner outcome:
Selfie Banner 4-BLOG 2014-JUN 17

The Making of #LovingSOU

Tracking the visual snaps and language your demo crafts on social = rich source material and inspiration for ways to conceptualize a social media campaign.

Here’s how SOU’s latest Preview Weekend Instagram Contest was conceptualized.

1. I search #SOUAshland, #SOU on twitter and insta often. “Searching often” is a very “soft” term. I’d say in truth, I obsessively track our demo. Kidding. Nope, not kidding at all.

2. I saw that many students are both snapping pics of their Acceptance Letters…and of course taking pics of their experience on Preview Day, and writing a bit about their experience. I take grabs of these posts to share with my department and other departments to keep them in the loop on the conversation on social.

3. The work I do with the Graphic Designer and Marketing Assistant is collaborative and open. I shared this snap with my Graphic Design collaborator, and he noted, “someone wrote, ‘Loving SOU.'”

social preview weekend crcl (1)

Well, it just so turns out that SOU’s Preview Weekend begun on Valentine’s Day and ended the day after. Perfect. I decided to move on this and named the contest #LovingSOU Preview Weekend Instagram Contest.

4. I’m obsessed with theburninghouse.com. And I thought it would be great to do a giveaway where we took a photograph of SOU and Valentine’s Day related items…pulling from Gen Y visual culture, and illustrating what items 1 randomly selected winner would receive.

We teamed up with the Admissions Associate Director and Admissions Counselor and went to the bookstore to pick the items as a team.  Each of us brought items to the table with the goal of reflecting different types of students in the objects to be shown in the promo graphic: from the athletic or sporty (water bottle, sweatshirt, cap) to the hipster (plaid scarf, sunglasses), and (hopefully) everything in-between.

The object I think truly captures the “spirit” of this campaign, is the journal with the text, “There is no set path, just follow your heart!” that the Admissions Counselor picked out. I also ran to a store off campus and found Hershes kisses, glittery sparkle hearts and leopard print socks with hearts on them. But of course.

I shared this visual template with the Graphic Designer and he snapped a few photos, laying out the items. He took a few photos with his feet in them, and I thought this was something to keep, it’s a cool way to innovate upon the uber clean look of theburninghouse.com. Feet-in-the-frame was an “accident” that in my mind truly makes this image unique. It brings the viewer into the frame and adds quirk.

Loving SOU Card 2250x

5. The contest was announced at Preview Weekend. Prospective students were asked to follow SOU on twitter and instagram AND tag each photo with #lovingSOU, #SOUAshland and #PreviewWeekend.

Tagging #PreviewWeekend was essential, as prospective students who may not know about SOU may come upon the promo graphic on insta from the tags students make of the photos they take. New students may also learn about the contest via the promo graphic and messaging that includes the hash, #PreviewWeekend.

loving sou tweet with graphic and t BG

6. We received 131 photo submissions. A great number, considering the total number of Preview Weekend student attendees was close to 140 students.

7. Our winner’s photo was randomly selected and she then received her fab items. True love!

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loving sou winner instagram