Great Social Media Idea: Meet a Bobcat

I just got home from a very long day at work (nearly 14 hours... yuck), and I was very much not looking forward to writing a blog post when - lo and behold - my email inbox contained the sweetest manna from heaven imaginable: an entire post (way better written than anything I could hack out to boot!) submitted to me via the suggestion box. I'm not sure I've ever been happier. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to whomever submitted this!!!

I am a huge advocate of staying nimble when it comes to digital engagement. Social media changes constantly, and if you pour all your time and effort and resources into one idea or one campaign, it's likely that idea or campaign will become irrelevant if social media introduces a new feature or changes its format somehow. You can't be afraid to stop doing something that isn’t working and try something new. 

At Frostburg, this past fall we changed up our admissions social media outreach. It was clear that prospective students weren't really interacting with our Admissions Facebook Page, so we got rid of it and launched a new social media campaign called “Meet a Bobcat,” which involves a student-run Twitter account and an Instagram account that work together to connect with future students.

The Meet a Bobcat Twitter account is "taken over" by a different student Bobcat Ambassador each week and works in tandem with the Instagram, which is designed to share Frostburg's story with the world, one Bobcat at a time. The Instagram account provides the Twitter account with visual content and context beyond 140 characters, and allows us to introduce each student who takes over the Twitter account each week.

The Instagram account is kind of like a Frostburg version of “Humans of New York.” It’s pretty much a real-time viewbook that we promote to prospective students, so they can hear from people who make up the Bobcat family. It's sort of a hybrid between crowdsourcing and cross-promotion, because we take the pictures we create on it and tweet them out from our other Twitter accounts, and it's made up of a variety of different people: students, faculty, staff, alumni. We also promote this Instagram on our Facebook Page, through screenshots and other select content. 

Meet a Bobcat is fun because it’s designed to reflect the way prospective students share ideas and communicate online, as a multi-community experience. It’s also a nice mix because we get to play with visual content from Instagram that we in turn share on Twitter, with our university’s hashtag, #instaFrostburg, linking everything throughout.

And it’s important to note that we don’t have an official Frostburg State University Instagram account and took this approach instead, because it uniquely reflects our campus culture of being close-knit, personable and a place where people really get to know and mentor each other. It’s firmly anchored in our philosophy that our Bobcats are our best storytellers and online ambassadors.

Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!

And again, huge thanks to the wonderful person who saved my bacon tonight and submitted an incredible guest post!

A Social Media Q&A... with me!

Music at Midweek: The Magnetic Fields