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!

lovingsou2

loving sou winner instagram

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8 #HESM Content Creation Ideas

  • Your #1 priority as a content creator is to identify the wants and aspirations of your demographic, and give them content that speaks to that.
  • Why? The likes, shares, and comments on your content get on the radar of your friend’s friends.
  • We create gorgeous looking content not only because it looks cool…but because it has been proven that a 37% increase in engagement is experienced when Facebook posts include photographs. This is consistent with research by Dan Zarrella of Hubspot (stats from Heidicohen), and tweets with pictures are shared three times more often.
8 higher ed text card - bottom cropped
Below are 8 Higher Ed Social Media Content Creation Ideas I’ve executed for my current client, Southern Oregon University. I conceptualized the cards and initiatives and provided copy and examples. SOU’s in-house graphic designer determined the font and design of each card. The final bits of content have arrived through a collaborative process.
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1

  • The tagline of Southern Oregon University is: Outstanding People, Place, and Programs. I used these pillars to structure SOU’s social media content calendar and determine the content to create and post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • I emailed faculty members and asked them to provide a quote about their field of study and working with students at SOU. I linked to their department’s FB page and/or information about the professor’s most recent accomplishment.
quote card jackie instagram
quote card kevin FB
2
preview day count down card instagram share your visit
preview day count don card
3
  • Here I used an image one of our student interns took in Lithia Park (to celebrate Place) and pulled a quote about learning.
  • There was no CTA; sometimes just wishing people a happy weekend and letting a quote card speak for itself resonates best.
aspirational quote
4
  • When you release a video, it’s essential that you have a plan in place. The You Tube manager posted the new SOU “About” video  to You Tube during Winter Break. As many students might not see the video over break, my plan to extend the life of the video by pulling video stills to create text cards and create social property backgrounds (Facebook and Twitter) became even more essential in extending the life of this asset.
  • I asked the editor to export 18 video stills out of his editing timeline by providing screen grabs with the TRT. On the first day back from Winter Break, I posted this Facebook cover photo collage created by SOU’s graphic designer.
  • Text was added to the FB cover photo to direct students to the video.
sou anthem video FB cover
anthem video cover photo post
  • I paired the image below to reflect the student’s lifestyle options at SOU…yoga and coffee are as important as Calculus 101, yes? Additionally, my goal was to build awareness about yoga on campus…and nurture the relationship SOU has with a great coffee shop across the street, Case Coffee by tagging them in the post.
  • I added the copy “SOU Salutations” to the card – pointing to both yoga and the greetings we exchange when seeing good friends for coffee.
sou salutations instagram
5
  • Asking students to identify locations on campus is a fun way to engage this demographic.
  • Identifying parts of campus inspires “new ways of seeing” and experiencing the day-to-day.
  • The first example below is an Instagram video.
close ups sculpture
grid stairway
campus close ups
campus close ups floor
6
  • Posting a simple photo CTA celebrates the people and place that make SOU outstanding, and creates a feeling of inclusion. This bear was really popular! 

ugc bear

ucg thats so sou instagram
ugc student on mountain
7
  • #tbt is a great way to celebrate the history of SOU as an institution, and the history of the area.
sou visitors of note
 
8
  • Infographics are statistics in pictures. Beautiful and educational – created by SOU graphic designer. 
sou infographic 1
sou infographic 12

The 3 Key Stages of Social Media Strategy

lll mass social strategyTo be an effective social media manager, you’ve got to have your social media strategy in place. Listen, Love, and Leverage are the stages I’ve named and step through with all new clients. It’s a great way to introduce clients to the way I work, and step them through how I’ll be using social media to meet and exceed their unique goals.

Listen –  Be it on Facebook or Twitter, the first rule is to listen. Listen and identify what topics have currency with your community. Your social media manager has to have the ability to connect in to the feelings and wants of your brand’s particular demographic. For me, listening informs much of the messaging and other content I generate or find.

With twitter – click on the @connect tab to see who is tweeting you – i.e. – wanting to get on your radar. Also check the #discover tab to see what hashtags people are using to connect with your brand. Use Facebook Insights to help you dial into the demographic and most importantly, what has the highest virality. Use deeper and more targeted tools such as Klout, wefollow, commun.it, and the heavy hitters if your budget allows – such as Radian6. Identifying is about understanding who your community is.

Love – This engagement phase includes commenting and direct messaging on Facebook, and retweeting, favoriting, and replying other people’s posts. You must maintain some element of exclusivity. Who you decide to engage with has much to do with if they have the kind of influence you are seeking.You have to figure out who is worth your time to love. So true, so true.

Leverage – The goal of social media is to authentically connect with your community and at the same time expand your brand’s message. This is the time when you propose an ask to someone (most likely a high influencer) you have been “loving.” After your relationship/rapport is established, you’ll request a guest blog post, or ask this influencer to do a “shout out” on your behalf or support a marketing initiative your brand is launching. I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine is the subtext of much that goes on in social media.

Additionally:

Decisions – From success stories on fitness Moms who have lost weight by eating healthy protein bars, to stories about fierce feminist bloggers,  to generating buzz around a beta launch of an online learning application – if these posts or features are getting the most likes, shares, retweets, and comments on Facebook or Twitter, it’s a cue from your community for your social media manager and marketing team to find, create, and promote more content like this.  Analytics are are the roadmap for your content creation.

Details – You must map it out – your editorial calendar, your weekly messaging, your month’s themes, your promotions, and goals related to when influencers will be identified and leveraged – all the while knowing and being ok with the reality that social media is rooted in real-time, immediate call and response.

Demands – Strategy, verve, and spontaneity are all central to social media. What this means is that social media is fast and unpredictable. You have to establish in advance how to handle negative posts (do you delete them or leave them?), if posts will happen on the weekends, and what each brand’s standards are for how long is too long for a post to go unanswered, and how many posts should be made daily. I have found that this varies from brand and demographic.