Great Social Media Idea: Haunted Homepage

Still battling sickness, but ain't nothin' gonna break my stride, nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no, I've got to keep on bloggin! (By the way, if you want a visual representation of 1) what goes on in my head and 2) what I wish my life were like, this video probably comes as close to showing it as possible. The hair! The pants! The dancers! The sequin tanktops! The KEYTAR!!! Sigh... I was born in the wrong decade.)

It's something of a blog tradition (well, as much tradition as a seven-month-old blog can have) to highlight my favorite holiday-related posts. It's important to remember that I generally like things that go against the grain, that stick out among the onslaught of holiday-related posts. Now that "real-time marketing" is an official thing (I went to a social media presentation a month or so ago and had to work very hard to prevent my eyes from rolling right out of my head as some agency SM folks extolled the virtues of car companies posting about the royal baby), it's all that much more difficult to get people to pay attention to holiday and other similar types of posts.

Meaning you have to go the extra mile a bit, which is exactly what Vassar College did with this amazing Halloween takeover of its official website. I mean... look at this! 

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Hoggy Hogwarts!

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Hoggy Hogwarts!

I absolutely love it when higher-ups are willing to do something tongue-in-cheek and charming like this. (MAJOR bonus points for the little pumpkin Halloween basket with the "Make a Gift" link. So awesome!)

As would be expected, it was extremely popular on social media:

I genuinely believe it's worth doing things like this, even if there is no direct "ROI" and the value of doing it is fuzzy at best. If you can make people smile, if you can make people feel a twinge of pride in their school, if you can make people think your school is really cool for doing something like that, it's absolutely worth it.

We don't always think of it in these terms, but for all the immediacy, fast-pace, and ADD nature of social media, our role as social media managers is really about the long-con, not the short-con. Slowly building favorable sentiment, increasing awareness, instilling pride, generating positive associations... these are things that are going to impact our institutions in the long run when it comes to giving rates/amounts, attending events, recommending the school to children of family and friends, etc., not the number of likes/comments/shares/RTs a particular post gets. Never lose site of the real power of the digital forest for the seductiveness of the engagement/ROI trees.

And in my book, promotions like this - even if they seem silly - are the types of things that stick with people and do yeoman's work when it comes to building those positive associations. Much more so than a run of the mill "It's Halloween! What's your favorite candy when going trick-or-treating?" post that will get a lot of comments but does absolutely nothing to make people look more favorably on your brand.

Well done, Vassar! Both to your marketing and web teams. You guys won Halloween! 


Great Social Media Idea: Aca-Awesome Meme Hijacking

Music at Midweek: Velvet Underground