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

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6 Steps to a Successful UGC Instagram + Facebook Giveaway

sou giveaway post  copy 2

For my most recent client, Southern Oregon University, I created a UGC initiative on Instagram during the first 2 weeks of school. It was the perfect time to leverage excitement around a new school year. 

The intellectual and creative capital of the faculty and the students make SOU a vital place. The ask was for the most important people on campus to document the amazing experience of a new school year AND determine the winners.

After an Instagram submission period of 2 weeks, we curated 5 images, and gave the community one week to vote for the finalists on both Instagram and Facebook. The combined community votes on both platforms determined the 2 winners. 

1

Goals:

– Create awareness around a new Instagram account and increase engagement on Facebook

– Generate school spirit by celebrating current students and faculty as media-makers and connect-in to school nostalgia by engaging parents and alumni.  Engage all populations – current students, parents, faculty, alumni, and prospective students.

– Use a unified handle @souashland and hashtag #SOUAshland and require students to tag photos #SOUAshland in order to enter the giveaway to establish brand recognition and reach. There had been some confusion before I came on board for what the University twitter handle was (multiple accounts had been created). My solution was much inspired by this post from Social Media Examiner. 

Outcomes: 

1. The Facebook announcement of the 5 SOU YOU Giveaway finalists received 14,912 impressions and received the highest virality (Likes, Comments, and Shares) in the history of the Facebook page. Students asking their friends to vote for + share their image to gain more votes was a key component in impression number.

finalists announced cropped

2. A sense of participating in one’s community was achieved. When one’s agency is celebrated (I document my life, this is my view from here) and sense of place is celebrated (My school is awesome), retention is a likely outcome.

I received some great feedback from students when I taught a 2 hour class fall term on Social Promotions in the SOU Business School:

  • Over 3/4 of the students in class participated in the giveaway – around 30 students in class
  • One student said that participating in the giveaway made her feel a part of a community
  • Another student said she made new connections and friends because while participating in the giveaway on Instagram, she found fellow students on Instagram

SOU instagram grab of all grid

2

Pulled from both FB and Sprout Social analytics and one-to-one conversations:

– Current students and prospective students – On Instagram
– Parents, alumni, current students and prospective students – On Facebook

3

Remix the giveaway announcement graphic in one to two ways, but keep it recognizable (each week we’d swap out an instagram image in the the announcement card).  Be mindful to not flood the feed with your promotion. Post once a week to encourage participation and keep your promotion messaging consistent.

sou you insta

4

Back Scratching

Leverage the influence of a few key people, or as Malcolm Gladwell would say, find your Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. And be sure to give them love along the way.

The incredible thing about being on a University campus is you have built-in brand evangelists: students, parents, faculty, alumni, and even prospective students.

The SOU Instagram Giveaway CTA was for people from our community to share their photos. It made sense to ask a few visible brand evangelists on campus to lead the way, and set the tone:

– Ask a student with a popular on-campus blog to blog about the giveawaytwiter SOU YOu chazlyn thanks

– Ask a student and faculty member active on Instagram to share a few of their own Instagram images for us to use in the promotional announcement graphic – and include their handle on the image

– Publicly thank both of them for providing their images to support the giveaway by tagging them on FB/ twitter and linking to their social properties. Back scratching. This is the SM code, key etiquette.

– Send an ask email to all faculty to share the Facebook announcement post. Succinctly ask them to support and let them know how supporting you provides clear benefits to them. See 15 shares below.

announcement-cardSend The Ask Email: A note on engaging influencers/ brand evangelists

Sending an ask email is a very standard aspect of running an successful social media promotion. The goal is to educate and seduce the email recipient into taking action on your behalf in order to spread your messaging.

Perhaps not so much for this initiative as faculty as already positioned as brand evangelists, but if you’re emailing – see my post Listen, Love, and Leverage – you really want to lead with seduction. Use language to connect-in to your demo. Complement them, let them know how awesome they are, and how much you’re like them too.

This was how I got The Recessionista, a blogger with over 12,000 followers that is courted by many top fashion brands, to promote a Shoptopia Giveaway. We also had a phone call. I cannot underscore the value of face to face, voice to voice, Skype to Skype, in this digital world. Voice and facetime (in the flesh) still matters.

Before you send the ask email, my recco as I established in this blog post, is to RT and tweet to these influencers before sending them the ask email or DM them.

Work hard at sending them love, and mean it! Be innovative with your language! This hard work and authenticity really gives context and builds rapport. Which is key. Be real about it, and be on your game, please.

It’s helpful to provide pre-crafted tweets as illustrated here in my portfolio; this is something I’ve done with all blogger outreach initiatives I’ve conceptualized and managed. This keeps the giveaway/ promotion messaging streamlined. But you must say something in your copy that acknowledges that the blogger knows their community best. No-one likes it when you put words in their mouth.

5
Brand the 5 finalist images and cross-promote. Direct traffic from the FB post to Instagram and Instagram to FB. Tweet and link to both platforms.
6
Celebrate and enjoy the amazing images your community shares with you! Make a post of the winners receiving their prizes, a great way to put a big cherry on the pie.

winners announced

sou you winners FB

Stats:

  • Opened Instagram account on 9/3. By the end of the giveaway, on 10/24, our follower number = 252. From 9/27-10/22 we gained 223 Instagram followers because of the giveaway
  • We had over 286 photo submissions on Instagram
  • Over 950 people voted on their favorite image on FB and twitter
  • One finalist’s image was shared to 26 other FB pages, on Instagram this image was voted for 230 times.

Here’s a cheat sheet for you:

6 steps final