Social Media is my passion and here are a few things I believe about it:
- Social media has the potential and power to effect online and off-line perception and behavior
- We can use social media to inspire, encourage and inform followers
- Every person deserves to be acknowledged (at least once) regarding their comment, question or opinion shared on social media
- Approach the way you use social media as a telephone (conversation) rather than a megaphone (yelling your message)
- With the ever-changing algorithms and formulas, you may only have one shot to convey your message. Make it worthwhile.
The online and social media space doesn’t have to be filled with negativity and fear. Be the difference.
— Chris Norris (@CNorris_10) November 1, 2017
Social Media has evolved drastically since I began my career in Higher Education. Since 2012, I have seen several new social media outlets burst onto the scene and even more importantly, I have seen a shift in how our audiences are using social media. Along the way, I have adapted, tried new things and found ways to engage effectively with students past, present and future all while maintaining consistent tone, voice and quality content.
Here is a snapshot of our social analytics since I took over Mercyhurst’s social media channels.
Engaging with Followers
Interacting and engaging with the college community is the best part of my job. Meaningful and helpful conversations can happen via social media and I welcome the opportunity to converse with students, parents, faculty or staff. Here is an example of a fun (and effective) interaction I had with a prospective student:
Here is an example of a mother of a student reaching out via Twitter DM to get details about move-in day. We were able to get her specific details related to her son and follow up with an answer. When mom is happy, everyone is happy!
Mobilizing a Team
Student Communication Team
In the fall of 2017, Mercyhurst established and launched their first student-led communication and social media content creation team. As our online communication and social media presence continued to grow, it became apparent that we needed to expand our team. We hired a team of students to perform various web and social media-related tasks including:
- social media content creation
- social media monitoring/listening
- Live Chat response
- Google and social media anyalytics
- social media ads
McLane Church Social Media Team
I believe strongly in is using your passions to do good things. That is why I started a social media ministry at McLane Church. Volunteers on this team were given tools to share their faith online and to paint a picture of the church to their followers. Here is the type of content volunteers were encouraged to share:
- inspirational quotes
- verse images
- worship photos and videos
- upcoming church-related events
I believe strongly in sharing authentic, real-life content to our audience. That is why we often utilize our students to tell authentic stories about their college experience. One of the most successful ways to do this is through giving students control of our Snapchat account. Each week, we schedule several takeovers ranging from “Day in Life of…” to athletic events to “Ask a Laker” Q&A takeovers.
Student Stories – Why Hurst Wednesday
People like stories and social media is great place to tell stories. Luckily, universities like Mercyhurst have lots of stories to be told so we look for and tell the stories of our students through what we’ve tagged, “#WhyHurstWednesday.” Students are selected and featured on Instagram telling their story about why they chose to be a Mercyhurst Laker.
Student Stories – My Mercyhurst Experience
A series of videos to be used across social media, the website and added to a playlist on our YouTube channel, these stories highlighted our students and their real, un-scripted stories about why they chose Mercyhurst.
*Winner of a Silver Award at the 2016 Erie Advertisement Awards
Being at the helm during an event on campus and managing content curation is lots of fun. Staying informed and involved with the conversation is important to make sure an event like #HurstDay is a hit on social media!
Often times, your followers are the best voice for your brand and in the case of higher ed social media, our students have some great things to say! With that in mind, we decided to search for student tweets about Mercyhurst and have our president read them on camera. The mix of school spirit and presidential tone made for some “Sweet Tweets” worth sharing.