At the end of April, Pamela and I were lucky enough to spend two days in Brighton attending CASE Europe’s Social Media and Community Conference. It was the first time that CASE Europe had dedicated an entire two-day meeting to social media. The diverse agenda and impressive attendance was a clear sign that social is very much at the core of digital communication in higher education. Packed with insights into industry trends, methods to measure return on investment and practical examples of how to increase engagement, the meeting provided a host of very tangible ways to enhance the efforts of any social media account owner. Here is a selection of top tips we gathered from the conference.
Social media trends
Recent trends include live-streaming and real-time video. Platforms such as Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope allow you to watch and broadcast live video on your phone. There has also been a continued rise in closed-loop messaging, such as WhatsApp and other messaging apps, where content is not publicly available. Tracy Playle of Pickle Jar Communications introduced us to the term ‘Dark Social’ to describe this trend.
Looking to the States for inspiration, an anonymous platform called YikYak is becoming increasingly popular. YikYak provides a live feed of ‘what everyone’s saying around you’ but its anonymity has led to concerns being raised about online bullying. In response, YikYak has offered to geo-fence campuses if requested.
Reporting your social media efforts
Dave Musson of Warwick University explained the benefits of reporting your social media efforts to internal stakeholders. By finding an efficient and informative way of explaining why social media is important, you can share audience insights, conduct industry benchmarking and demonstrate the value of social media as part of a digital comms effort. Dave recommended using Facebook Insights, Twitter analytics, TweetArchivist and Iconosquare to collect the numbers and Canva to create a custom report.
Fundraising on social media
Adrian Salmon’s session on social media fundraising highlighted some great examples of how social media can be harnessed to increase the reach and impact of fundraising campaigns. The team behind Cornell Giving Day used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to both maximise coverage of their 24-hour advancement effort and to actively encourage donations, and even used Social Toaster to ask keen alumni to spread the message far and wide.
Online service and reputation management
Karlijn de Wit of Delft University of Technology gave a fantastic overview of the ideal way to run a social media team dedicated to online service and reputation management. Karlijn explained how social media at Delft is resourced by student officers, with over 20 students taking on rolling 4-hour shifts to provide a webcare service that is online 15 hours a day, 7 days a week! For those wishing to emulate Delft’s round the clock service, Karlijn recommended using Trello and a secret Facebook group and to log issues and ensure smooth shift handovers.
Inspiration and procrastination
Some cool things to look at when you are in search of an idea or in have a few minutes to spare: