Great Facebook Idea: Fashion Photos

Pretty in Pink.

Pretty in Pink.

Flower Power!

Flower Power!

This post is about me. And fashion. And it's super long. Deal with it.  Why have a blog if you can’t toot your own horn a bit, amiright? Hand me that sweet, sweet sax.

One of the most popular and enduring initiatives I did this year with the University of Portland Facebook page was a series of photos highlighting student fashion. I’m lucky enough to work with a very talented photographer (Jeff Kennel – he’s the best!), and one sunny day in the fall we decided to wander campus for an hour and capture the styles of the season. Knowing next to nothing about fashion, I convinced a stylish female coworker (hi Mary!) to join us and help pick out good subjects. It was such a hit, we ended up doing three more over the course of the school year.

Here are all the photo galleries: SummerFallWinter, and from last week, Spring.

Not sure if this is true for all you other college social media managers out there, but sometimes it’s challenging for me to get current students interacting with out page – a lot of the time it’s mainly parents and alumni. Probably because I’m old, and the stuff I post is utterly uninteresting to 18-22 years olds. Sigh…

Tres bon!

Tres bon!

But I digress. One thing I current students ALWAYS love is photos of themselves. Especially really high quality photos of themselves that are perfect for profile pictures for Facebook or otherwise. To increase my chances of success, I collected the names and email addresses of all the people we photographed with a link to the Facebook gallery and a very direct call to action to tag themselves and their friends. 

Unsurprisingly, these pictures spread like wildfire. All the galleries received more than 100,000 photo views within 24 hours (for a page with 12,500 likes and a total student population of 3,500, that is awesome) and got thousands of likes, comments, and shares. Nearly every photo got a tag, and I’d estimate that about 50% were used as profile pictures for at least a little while.

Extra cool was that these photos got picked up by the local newspaper, and helped result in a nice feature story about a student, written by the fabulous Casey Parks. Not only that, but several of these photos have been used for our own print publications for admissions and development. They've definitely served a purpose beyond simply Facebook fun, which is always a goal I try to keep in mind.

One lesson I learned doing this – the most popular pictures of all were photos of especially beloved faculty members. Those provided something for all of our alumni followers to interact with and resulted in some pretty amazing comments threads. Click the photo to the left of the stupendously sartorial French teacher for a great example.

If you've got a photographer on staff or even a talented student from the school newspaper, I’d definitely recommend trying out something like this. If you don’t want to do fashion (not sure why you wouldn't though... lighten up, it's just fashion!), other subjects we considered included dorm rooms, faculty office doors, shoes, modes of transportation (bikes, cars, skateboards, etc.), hair, tattoos, books… lots of different directions to go. 

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