Great Facebook and Twitter Ideas: Engaging Admitted Students

I've been doing this blog for about three weeks now, and the more time I spend checking out what other schools are doing, the more I realize how much great work is being done out there. Social media managers at colleges and universities... we're pretty much bad-ass. So today I'm breaking the mold and highlighting two colleges today: Morehouse and Williams. My blog, my rules!

I've managed social media for University of Portland long enough to know that some of the most excited, engaged followers are admitted students - they post pictures of acceptance letters on Instagram, they post things like "Can't wait to be here!" on the Facebook wall, they Tweet non-stop about being excited for college... it's like they're 18 years old and ready to be done with high school or something.

Despite all that energy, I've never really focused on a good way to get them all together in the same place, sharing that excitement with each other. Probably because due to the wonderful academic silo system I don't work in admissions (or athletics, or alumni relations, etc.) and they are in charge of their own social media presences even though the "official" accounts I manage have many more followers and much more engagement. And, you know, me and my brilliant ideas. (That I steal from people like you - thanks!)

Having said that, of course I know that all social media work at a college is indeed admissions work. So these two examples have inspired me to be more intentional about tapping into this important group. Maybe they'll inspire you too. Or maybe not. But if they don't, you suck. (No no... you've read this far, so you most definitely do not suck. I love you!)

First up: Morehouse College with a unique (to me, anyway) use of a Facebook event to conduct a chat with admitted students.

Using an FB Event for a chat. Brilliant. Morehouse Social Media = Wizards.

Using an FB Event for a chat. Brilliant. Morehouse Social Media = Wizards.

The fact that the school president was involved makes it a winner from the start. Many kudos to Dr. John Wilson for being willing to take part. Two admissions officers were also on hand to take care of any more specific questions the admitted students had.

The use of a Facebook event seemed strange to me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was in fact very clever. That tool makes it very easy to invite people to take part, and it also has the added benefit of being much more easy to use than their main page's wall. Not only that, but Facebook tends to pump out a lot of notifications when people post on the wall of an event, both in newsfeeds and in the alert globe thingy at the top. (You know what I'm talking about.) They are planning on doing one every Monday in April. Very cool!

Next up: Tweet-up brilliance by Williams College. #Williams2017

I mean... damn. This thing got so much traffic I could hardly believe it. Current students, prospective students, staff, alumni - such a great cross-section of people took part, and you really got a sense of community.

What up Tweet Up?

What up Tweet Up?

Tweet-ups tend to terrify me because you never know how many people will show up (an empty Tweet-up is a sad, sad place to be - "Damn, I think they left their teeth on the table."), but this one was clearly planned and promoted really well. Would love to hear more about how they pulled this off - there are definitely lessons to be learned for all of us who are interested in doing something like this but aren't quite sure how to do it.

I haven't contacted Williams about that yet, but rest assured - I will. Some day. When I'm not being lazy or unsuccessfully trying to win tickets to a Prince concert in Portland this weekend, where he's playing at a small club and it will be AMAZING. Sigh.

But, one thing I know they did that was very, very smart... they primed the pump with a lot of people ready to take part. Staff, current students, alumni - there were a lot of people on hand to answer questions and participate, and that gave it such a more real, authentic feeling than just the official Twitter account answering questions using the Royal We.

Fantastic work, Williams College! And you too, Morehouse College!

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