A flyer here, poster there, and perhaps a tweet or two. Does this sound like your current marketing plan? During this webinar Samantha Armstrong Ash, introduced attendees to 25 ways to improve social media marketing.
Samantha Armstrong Ash, Ph.D. currently serves as the Associate Director of Student Activities Involvement and Leadership for Eastern Washington University. In her tenth year serving, guiding, and working alongside students as a student affairs administrator, Samantha specializes in student involvement, leadership development, and sorority/fraternity life. In her life and work, Samantha has seen firsthand how co-curricular involvement and student engagement outside of the classroom enhances the cognitive and affective development of students while in college. Samantha holds a Ph.D. in higher education and leadership from Washington State University, an M.Ed. in student affairs administration from Western Washington University, a B.A. in business administration from Idaho State University, and a B.A. in secondary education, history emphasis, from Idaho State University. When she is not doing the work, she is spending time with her furry kid, Kobuk the Newfoundland, and partner exploring the Pacific Northwest or binge watching bad TV – sometimes we all make bad choices.
What do your current marketing plan(s) consist of? Samantha explored answers to this question with audience members and pointed out the importance of making time for intentional planning for the marketing of events and programs. This may be common sense but often it is not a common practice.
Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand. — Amy Jo Martin
5 for strategy
Who is your audience? This is the great place to start when thinking about your strategy. What are your goals? Detailing out your goals allows for a thorough evaluation of your social media strategy to determine your level of success. Create a timeline and leverage the power of free online social media management tools to to reduce your social media stress, set it and forget it!
Samantha reviewed 10 popular outlets that are being used in social media strategies in higher education and explained how she has used some of these outlets in her own strategies. She shared how pinterest can be used to create boards around school spirit, leadership team builders, great study techniques, etc. In another example, she spoke about linkedin and how posting on this outlet can help keep former students connected to groups they were a part of during their time in college. Also linkedin is a great tool for connecting current students with alumni.
5 for content development
One of the ideas Samantha highlighted is to tap into your creatives, these could be students, graduate students, or event fellow staff members. Know who these individuals are and leverage their talents. Another idea is to engage with your audience, tap into people's desire to share and connect through social media. Dear world recently visted Eastern Washington University (EWU) and the organization engaged students on campus prior to the event by tapping into this exact desire. Having professors, guest speakers, and others connect with your audience through social media prior to the event can greatly enhance your reach. Don’t forget to codify your event through the use of consistent #hashtags in your print, digital and social media marketing.
5 for engagement
Two of the tips that Samantha provided for enhancing your student engagement through social media strategy are intentionally increasing your audience and creating a community of support. Through the use of consistent posts you can create a following and increase your audience. At EWU the have, soulpancake sundays, ted talk tuesdays, wellness wednesdays, service saturdays, etc. These consistent weekly posts and hashtags create content that your audience is anticipating, sharing, which in turn enhances your reach and followership. It is important to give your audience something to look forward to besides just posting about the events happening on campus.
Making it manageable
Another things to add to the list, but it is important to fit social media marketing into your work week. Samantha suggested 20-30 minutes each day that you set aside and focus only on marketing and social media exploration. What is working and what isn’t working, talk about it in your staff meetings. Create a community of social media strategists, it takes a team to engage a campus.
Resources for social media innovation
She provided insight about some of her favorite places to seek out innovation for enhancing her social media strategy.
Lastly, Samantha provided audience members with a guide to help them develop a social media strategy. The guide can be accessed through the watch webinar link below.