Great Social Media Idea: When the Students are Away, the President Will Play

Happy Monday, friends! (For the record, Denis and Lois is the best Happy Mondays song. I'm sure a lot of you out there are dropping your jaws in disbelief and saying it must be Step On, but no. You'd be wrong.)

It's always fun to start the week off with a doozy of an idea, so start the week with a doozy of an idea I will.

Check out this awesome video from Truman State University:

Super great, right? It's funny, it's clever, and it's terrific content for the holiday break period, which is pretty much deadsville for most everyone in higher ed.

It's proved to be very popular - 53,000+ views in a little over a week - and it's gotten some terrific media coverage... from Washington Monthly to Good Morning America.

Best of all, Truman State has acted quickly to take advantage of a good thing, updating its Facebook cover photo to a video still (or publicity shot they smartly took while shooting, just in case they needed it) that absolutely blew up with likes, shares, and comments... even more than the original video itself.

Just look at those comments! And those shoes!

Just look at those comments! And those shoes!

I would wager a guess that they have also proactively sent this via email to their community as well... striking while the iron is hot and what not.

Obviously, this video works first and foremost because of Troy Paino - who has proved in the past he's totally down to make funny videos and who appears to be a natural in front of a camera - but also because it's a solid idea and very well executed by the team that put it together. You can tell from all the different props and camera angles that this was really planned out. As someone who spends a good deal of my time working on producing videos, I'm obligated to give props to everyone who put in the work behind the scenes to make this happen.

It's funny... in so many ways, this reminds me of one of my favorite things I wrote about in December - Regis University's Christmas video. I remember the first time I watched that one thinking that it would have a story similar to this one - when the students are away, the president will play. But instead, that one zigged instead of zagged, turning disarmingly sweet and sentimental. Very different in tone, but also effective and popular.

Clearly, this is a trope that has produced some really great videos. Might be time to start thinking about ways you can feature your university's president in a video about what happens when the students are gone. It's a terrific way to show students that they are cared for and missed, and also a really neat way to show parents how the university is a good steward of their children. And alumni like it because it takes them back to campus and reminds them of the community they are a part of and feeling nostalgic for the days when they actually had holiday breaks.

Major, major props to Truman State for this great video, and hats off to president Troy Paino for being such a good sport and being willing to put himself out there like this in the marketing of his university. Terrific stuff!


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