July 6, 2016

Marketing Infiltrates College Campuses

“Be strong. Stand tall.” These words of wisdom came from Duke University’s crane. Indeed, this is a construction crane that was set up on campus for renovations. Nowadays, intramural sports teams, dance groups, acapella groups, clubs, Greek organizations, libraries, and yes, even a construction crane are all active users of social media.

On campus, it appears as though every possible student-run group is what the advertising industry would consider a client. These organizations have realized the importance of marketing to draw attention to their groups on campus. With this undertaking, however, come the responsibilities of a social media manager: issues of image, branding, targeting, content and the like.

But do these groups hire others to manage their accounts while students cram for their studies? Not a chance–they do it themselves! The only thing missing from all that planning, time and creativity, is a salary. I look forward to seeing your suggested wages, college!

Here are some ways in which college students are using social media to promote their student-run organizations on campus.

Facebook Pages

The first account created for a student-run group is typically a Facebook page. On this site, the group must post links, quotes, pictures and interesting related content multiple times per week. Humor and campus-related posts are always encouraged. The page administrators must also engage with questions and comments to ensure that their peers view their group as active and up-to-date.

Facebook Events

Whether it’s a philanthropy event, free breakfast, sports game or party, Facebook events are used to quickly spread the word. This platform allows the event administrator to update details and answer questions efficiently. And it helps the environment by limiting paper invites and flyers!

Twitter

Each group also undoubtedly has a Twitter page. While these may not be updated as frequently, they must remain somewhat active for individuals considering joining the group. And not to worry, the Duke crane also has a Twitter page to keep you updated with all of its whereabouts.

Instagram

Students will only consider following a campus organization on Instagram if it posts photos daily. Much like on Facebook, the social media director must engage and communicate with the audience. As social media director of my dance group, I make an effort to post about five times a week using related hashtags, featuring our members and displaying our involvement in campus activities.

Music Videos

We may not be as #flawless as Beyoncé and her clique, but nonetheless, acapella groups, dance and sports teams and sororities alike have started to engage their audiences and promote their name with music videos. To see one of these professionally filmed and edited films, check out the Youth Music Video.

Monitor Yik Yak Activity

More so an issue at colleges than in the mainstream, Yik Yak can create all sorts of chaos due to its anonymous nature. Members must scan this application to downvote any negative mentions of their organization and upvote positive comments to support their reputation on campus.

Snapchat Filters

Information about events such as dance shows, Greek life events and the like is spread using the ever-growing Snapchat geofilters. These are personalized to the group or occasion and help students promote awareness. Here is an example of a Snapchat filter a dance group on campus used for their annual showcase.

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Staying active on all of these social platforms is viewed as a must for student groups, and while it can be overwhelming to manage at times, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Groups meet throughout the course of the year to evaluate the current social media strategies and to set goals moving forward.

You may see some similarities between tactics that are used in colleges to those used by professional marketers. It will be interesting to see how group members’ expectations of social media will change moving forward.

This post was written by Renegade intern Katalina Bock. You can follow her on Instagram @katalinabock.