Tag Archives: marketing

Reel Deal Monday: Big Things Are Within Reach, Nina Blanco

This post was originally featured on mStonerblog.com

Profiling current students is one of the easiest ways to show prospective students the potential opportunities available at your institution. This idea isn’t rocket science, but it can have a big impact. Here is the second video in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s new series “Big Things Are Within Reach.”

Perceived Goals

  • Sharing opportunities available for students attending SIU with prospective students. (“This could be you!”)
  • “This series focuses on students gaining hands-on experience and pursuing their goals,” stated Tamarah Cook, manger of social media at SIU.
  • Tamarah added that this series directly supports SIU’s overall branding messages.

Evaluation

  • “Big Things Are Within Reach” videos are created and produced by students on the Social Media Team. Awesome! Giving capable students a project like this is really smart. They’re in touch with the current student body, have the ability to easily find these unique stories, and the end result will often look more authentic.
  • If you aren’t required to have a three to five second intro of your institution’s logo, get rid of it. You can always put your logo at the end of the video or add a small watermark over your frames in the beginning. The first five to ten seconds are critical to retaining your viewers. In some ways I consider those intro-logos to be a punishment!
  • I love the b-roll and effects selected for the beginning of the video. Making it clear very quickly that Nina’s story is unique and taking place outside the typical academic setting was a smart decision. As a viewer, I’m curious to see and hear more.
  • The shots of Nina in action are interesting and fun. Filming the interview from her DJ chair enhances the story and provides authenticity. Smart visual choices!
  • When you’re profiling current students with web video it is really important to select people who will be natural and relatable in front of the camera. Nina was a great choice.
  • Layering music or other audio underneath a person speaking is a common practice, but you have to be really careful to not distract viewers from what is being said. The music was well selected for Nina’s video profile, but overall it needs to be toned down. Many video editors will auto-adjust layered tracks for you, known as “ducking.” Make sure you manually re-adjust if necessary. In fact, you might have to reduce the volume of your layered tracks to different levels throughout the video depending on how loudly the person on camera is speaking. Once you have all the audio tracks properly layered and adjusted, always give the entire video one final listen, with you eyes closed. It’s amazing what you might pick up when you remove the sense of sight and just focus on listening.
  • It’s important to select your visual effects wisely. Too many transitions, flashes, or filters can be a bit overwhelming.
  • Perfect length.
  • More could have been done with the description and tags. What if a student wants to take Nina’s path? What is the next step? Why not provide a link to her major’s academic page? And better tagging will increase the likelihood that other videos from this series will appear in the side column of related videos.
  • In case a prospective student discovers these type of videos on your YouTube channel, create YouTube playlists for your video series when two or more videos are posted.
  • In case a prospective student randomly stumbles across this video, don’t make it difficult for them to discover the rest. Using YouTube annotations you can quickly and easily link to the rest of the videos in your series.

Results

  • This video fits well into the theme “Big Things Are Within Reach.” And Nina is a great example of a SIUC student pursuing special opportunities.
  • The video has received a modest number of views.
  • Selecting a title for the series that is in line with other branding efforts allows SIUC to take advantage of SEO opportunities. For example, notice the first sentence on the how to apply page.

Rating

rating 7.5

My rating for this video is a 7.5. The video series is a fantastic idea to enhance the “Big Things” tagline and profiling Nina was a smart decision. I took into account that this series is student created and produced, but there were some audio issues and other minor details that prevented me from giving the video a higher score. Overall, it is an interesting and enjoyable video to watch.

Thanks for sharing this series, Tamarah!

Don’t forget to submit a video from your institution.


Resource list from #casesmc

Wow! The CASE Social Media Conference was terrific. Kudos to the conference chair Susan T. Evans for pulling together some of the best minds in higher education to serve as conference faculty and presenters.

Here’s what some of the attendees had to say:

If you were unable to attend the conference, I’d highly encourage you to check out the session slides, live blog posts, and conference hashtag. I’ve taken the liberty of pulling together some of these resources for you here.

Slides from the presenters:

Blog posts recapping the presentations:


Facebook Timeline Cheat Sheet

If you are in charge of your institution’s Facebook Page, get ready. Facebook will automatically push Timeline to all pages on March 30. Your institution has a wonderful opportunity to tell its story in a more visual and dynamic way. Change can be a good thing!

Download the Facebook Timeline Cheat Sheet to take full advantage of the new features Timeline offers, see size measurements for various images, and learn tips and tricks.

Facebook Timeline Cheat Sheet

And when you “go live” with your updated Page, tell me! Leave a link in the comments and let me know your favorite new feature.


Inspiration for Facebook tabs from outside .edu (Part 4 of 4)

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this series of blog posts on Facebook tabs for mStoner’s blog. It has been fun to explore how other industries are engaging their customers, viewers, and supporters in social spaces. Sadly enough, all good things must come to an end.

The Book of Mormon on Broadway

book of mormon Facebook

You probably know that Facebook users no longer need to “like” your Page before they interact with wall content. But, did you know that Facebook tabs have a nifty feature where you can limit tab content to those who have not “liked” your Page? Encourage the “like” by telling potential-fans the value that exists under the hood, the value they can only get by clicking the “like” button.

The Book of Mormon, NYC’s hottest show on Broadway, gets your “like” by allowing you to stream the cast recording for free. And there are few things better than free, especially when it comes to streaming music.

book of mormon Facebook tab

See how the tab changed after I “liked” the Page?

The ability to listen to the soundtrack for free is a great way to introduce the show to the un-initiated or give super fans a reason to keep coming back to the Page. Book of Mormon identified the number one value-add they could provide their Facebook community and they were smart enough to require you to “like” their Page first. Kudos!

How do we make this apply to .edu?
I rarely see .edu Pages taking advantage of this feature. The tough part is figuring out what value you can offer to your audience.

If you have a Page just for your institution’s alumni you could place videos from reunion or information about upcoming events under the hood. Or draw inspiration from Indiana State’s approach and offer a roommate finder to your incoming class.

indiana state university Facebook tab

What are your favorite Facebook tabs from outside .edu? We’d love to hear your thoughts and see your examples.


Inspiration for Facebook tabs from outside .edu (Part 3 of 4)

The third post is a series of blogs I wrote for mStoner’s blog. This one is my favorite!

rue lala facebook tab

Discount shopping sites have revolutionized how American consumers are accessing designer brands. Rue La La isn’t the only one in the marketplace, but they are by far the most interesting when it comes to their social presence. I’m often tweeting about how innovative and engaging they are and recently I featured their blog in a guest lecture to a business class at a Vermont college.

second rue la la screen shot

 

A month ago Rue La La did it again, showing their social media prowess with a brand new “Inside Rue” Facebook tab. The goal is clearly to introduce you to the fabulous team at Rue. I think they nailed it.

The tab is clean and full of interactive and sharable content. It incorporates video, quizzes, and calls out to various twitter accounts. There are at least five ways within the tab where you can share content you find interesting with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

 

 

rue lala facebook tab 3

How do we make this apply to .edu?
I hope you can imagine the endless ways this example could be translated to .edu Pages! Feature admission counselors on twitter and their territories. Incorporate your institution’s branding and messaging into fun wall post sayings. Highlight the videos your marketing team spent long hours creating in an easy to view and easy to share format.

My favorite idea to pull from Rue is the interactive quiz. How easy would it be to put together a five-question quiz for prospective students to take so they can figure out what “type of student” they would be?

What ideas are you inspired to try after seeing Rue La La’s tab? Share your thoughts with us!

Next up: Broadway, of course.


Inspiration for Facebook tabs from outside .edu (Part 2 of 4)

Note: I am a regular contributor to mStoner’s blog.  This is a cross-post from my recent entry there.

simpsons Facebook tab for nedna

To gear up for the fall season premiere, the Simpsons asked viewers to vote on whether or not Ned and Edna (Nedna) should stay together. Who doesn’t enjoy sharing their opinion? Fun and interactive, this is something that will engage a casual viewer to the most passionate fans of the show.

The Nedna tab keeps it simple. Watch two 50 second videos to determine whether you are pro or no Nedna and then cast your vote. (My only complaint is that the voting redirects you to the Simpson’s website versus voting within the tab.)

 

How could this apply to .edu?

Research continues to show that your constituents enjoy viewing web video. The 2011 E-Expectations Report from Noel-Levitz highlights that the majority of prospective students and their parents will watch videos about your institution if they are considering you. Comscore reports that in August Facebook was the third most popular site for unique video views.

Is your campus holding a contest? Maybe you are searching for a new mascot or elections for student body president are coming up. Taking the Nedna-approach you can showcase the options with video and then let the students vote.

Many institutions host video contests, asking students to submit videos highlighting their favorite place on campus. Have you thought about letting students vote on the winner? Put the top three videos on a Facebook tab and let the students decide.

Have you experimented with video in a Facebook tab? Leave a comment and share your example.

Next up: Online shopping goes social.


Inspiration for Facebook tabs from outside .edu (Part 1 of 4)

Note: I will be a regular contributor to mStoner’s blog.  This is a cross-post from my recent entry there.

It is important to provide your audience with a cohesive web experience. Customized tabs on Facebook can help achieve that goal, but they can do so much more! In the coming weeks I will highlight examples of compelling Facebook tabs from outside .edu that encourage your audience to “like” your Page and will keep them coming back.

Barack Obama – Are You In?

Obama Facebook tab

No surprise here, the Obama campaign is well-respected for using social media in new ways to inspire supporters.

Obama Facebook tab

I love the idea behind the “Are You In?” tab. First, you show your support by clicking “I’m in!” (simple, quick, and really what could be easier?) and then you are given the option to connect your Facebook account to see if your friends are in too. You are prompted to share that you “are in” on your wall and encouraged to invite your friends to join. Obama wants his supporters to spread the word for him, clearly aware that Americans trust friends and online recommendations far more than advertising messages.

Obama Facebook tab

How could this apply to .edu?
Envision “Are You In” as “Are You Applying?” Once you click “I’m Applying” the tab allows you to connect your Facebook account so you can share the good news with your friends. The tab then morphs into a place where you can invite your friends to join and interact with others who are also applying. Keep it social by giving prospective students a place to offer each other essay writing tips or ask current students questions about campus life.

Is your institution doing something new or different with Facebook tabs? We’d love to hear from you.

Next up: A favorite cartoon.


Rethinking a presentation

Next week I am presenting “Beyond Blogging: Create an integrated online student ambassador program” at HighEdWeb in Austin, TX.   I presented “Beyond Blogging” at two other conferences, therefore it should be a cakewalk, right?

Wrong.

This presentation was built from the perspective of someone who worked in a marketing office at a college specializing in social media.  In the past “Beyond Blogging” was essentially a case study of my former employer and the expansion of a blogging program into an online ambassador program.

I no longer work for a college, or in a marketing office, and I enjoy social media but my job doesn’t revolve around it.

Plus, HighEdWeb is a killer conference and you have to bring your “A” game.

Enter the need to rethink, revise, and expand the scope of “Beyond Blogging.”

Luckily, the knowledge I can draw on from managing the ambassador program is still very relevant and useful.  Insert examples and experiences from other institutions, and voila!  A new presentation is created.  A better presentation is created.  

And in the process the entire point of the presentation changed.  It’s no longer just about showing why ambassador programs are important.  It’s about showing ambassador programs can be created and will work anywhere.

To prepare for the presentation I spoke with higher education professionals at Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Oswego, College of William & Mary, and the Glendon campus of York University.  Combine these interviews with my knowledge from Saint Michael’s College and you have mixture of public and private; small, medium, and large; liberal arts, technical, and research institutions; and even an international campus.  These five schools are a great cross-section of the higher education industry.  (I only wish I could have added a community college to the mix!)  And guess what?  Online ambassador programs work for all of them.

The key is identifying what your goals are and finding the right mix of tools to support those goals.  This is what my presentation will focus on.

“Beyond Blogging” is in the social media track, Monday morning at 9:30am CDT.  This presentation is relevant for anyone who engages in admission-focused marketing.  If you are attending #heweb11 I hope to see you there.  If not, I hope to hear you in the backchannel and I promise to post my slides Monday morning so you can follow along.

Here’s a teaser:

Adam Lambert = Saint Michael's College

I was also inspired to recreate this presentation from a couple posts on Seth Godin’s blog.  Maybe they’ll inspire you too.
Really bad Powerpoint
The atomic method of creating a Powerpoint presentation


A new trend in higher ed video?

The creation of funny and light-hearted college and university promotional videos has been on the rise ever since UQAM published their lip dub to “I Gotta Feelin’” exactly two years ago.  Since then there have been flash mobs, 16 minute musicals, spoofs on those 16 minute musicals, strange British attempts to be funny, oh and of course… more lip dubs.

I’m a little sick of flash mobs and lip dubs (and still waiting for the unflash mob to appear) but one style of video that I really enjoy are the music videos that are being produced by both institutions and students.  Chances are you know by now that one of my favorites is Midd Kid (completely student produced!) but I also enjoy Call Me a Duck from the University of Oregon, a well produced video created to engage an eager audience who learned about the group On The Rocks from NBC’s The Sing Off.  While at St. Mike’s I ran a video contest for students and received two music video entries Knight Vision and the contest winner At Saint Michael’s, proving to me that these videos are of interest to the 18-24 year old range.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Joe Schuberth, associate director of undergraduate marketing at Towson University, asking me what I thought of a new music video he produced with students called I Tell ‘Em Towson University.

My response? “HOLY CRAP THIS IS AWESOME!”  Although, I think I toned it down a bit for my email reply.

Luckily, Joe was willing to answer a few questions about this fantastic video…
_____________________________________________________________________

Where did the idea for “I Tell ‘em” originate?  Were you inspired by other institution’s music videos?

I wanted to do a music video since I started working for Towson a little over three years ago.  If they are done well, they are effective at getting tons of people talking and excited for an organization.  With so many students using social media, I knew a music video had the potential to explode and reach both people who were considering Towson University and those who might not initially have Towson on their radar.  I’ve seen “That’s Why I Chose Yale,” but I wanted to do something different.  I wanted it to be from the students so it felt genuine and original.  It took three years for it all to come together because I needed the right mix of talented students, and I finally found them during the winter of 2011.

What was your process?  You mentioned working with students, how did you discover their interest in doing such a project and what steps did you take with them to produce the video?

I manage a YouTube channel, which features videos filmed and edited by Towson students.  I hired Henry Basta to be part of the student YouTube crew in the fall of 2010 after an impressive interview and viewing some of his work which included a music video he and his friend, Jay Karolenko, produced for a video contest held by the library on campus.  After working with and getting to know Henry for a semester, I was even more impressed with his creativity, attention to detail and his zeal for Towson.  I knew Henry and Jay made up the band, Sharpened Crayons, and I started watching more of their videos on YouTube.  Search them yourself, you won’t be disappointed.  I started realizing that I had an opportunity to work with them and the rest of our student YouTube crew to make the music video I had been talking about for years.

At the beginning of the spring semester, I brought Henry and Jay in to talk over the idea with them.  They were thrilled with the opportunity and we immediately started throwing out ideas.  We met almost every week for the entire spring semester.  We started with the song.  A music video will go nowhere without a well-produced song.  I gave them some guidelines of things that I wanted them to cover, but I really wanted this to be something that came from them as students of Towson University, so I left most if it up to them.  They came back with lyrics, we made some tweaks, and then they added the music to it.  I loved what they did with the music.  I have no musical talent whatsoever, but I do think I know a good song when I hear it, and when I heard their first cut of this song, I knew we were going to be doing something big.  I couldn’t get the song out of my head!

After the song was finalized, we started planning out all our shots.  I also wanted the video to be a quick tour of Towson for anyone who watched it, so I knew we had to have lots of different shots and involve lots of different people all over campus.  We all worked to set up all the shots and made sure we could do things like have a dance party underwater with the women’s swim team or in the middle of a dining hall.

We wanted the ending to be our grand finale, so we spent a lot of time planning that out and getting some of our students, cheerleaders and marching band to participate, as well as our mascot, Doc the Tiger.  All of the student YouTube Crew, including Henry and Jay, played a part in figuring out the right camera angles and techniques for all the shots, especially the ending.  Chad Harrell was the main videographer for most of the shots, and Alex Nearey and Steven Wilson also played roles in filming.  I was really blessed with excellent student talent around me to be able to pull all this off.  After we got all the footage, Henry edited it together.  I gave him some feedback and so did some of the other members of the YouTube Crew our other students, Henry made some changes, and we finally had a music video after four months.

Why did you choose to invest time in a fun promo video?  What are your aims and objectives?

Our students are some of the best people to tell the story of why a prospective student should come to Towson University, so when I saw this opportunity coming together, I had to take it.  The main goal of the video is to increase excitement for Towson University and ultimately bring in more students who want to become Towson Tigers.

How will you be promoting this video?

We are promoting the video through e-mail and our website, and it is the featured video on our YouTube channel.  We will be showing it during our campus tours and our Open House events.  The Towson community liked it so much that we had a request for it to be played on the television screens in our University Union, so it now plays on a loop there too.

What will constitute success with this project?  How are you measuring results?

Measuring results is a challenge with something like this because you will never truly know how many people were affected by the video.  But we will do our best to measure results by including a question about the music video in the surveys we conduct with our prospective students.  Hopefully this will tell us whether or not the music video played a factor in their decision on whether or not to attend Towson University.  We can also obviously measure views.  We’d like to have at least 50,000 views within a year of releasing the video.  We are on our way with 28,547 views so far as of 9/8/11.  The comments on YouTube have been a nice sign of success too.  Alumni, current students and prospective students have all been commenting on the video with lots of excitement and pride for the school, which is exactly what we wanted.

_____________________________________________________________________

Watch the video for yourself!  What do you think about this new trend in higher ed videos?  Leave a comment and let me know.


YouTube Reactions

YouTube Reactions, a new way for viewers to respond and interact with videos, is a service YouTube started testing this summer.  Today it appears they have rolled out Reactions to all videos and made it’s location more prominent.

Here is a screen shot where you can see the call out to “Your Reaction?” at the bottom right.

youtube reaction example

When you click “Your reaction?” this is what you will see if you are logged in:

reaction drop down

My reaction to Reactions

  • Unfortunately you have to be signed in to participate in this feature, which is really too bad.   The very definition of “reaction” indicates a certain level of spontaneity that seems undermined by having to take an extra step.
  • The most popular videos on YouTube (think Bed Intruder, Sneezing Panda, and Evolution of Dance) all have less than 100 Reactions thus far.  Yes, the feature is new, but if these videos can’t get traction with Reactions… will yours?
  • Some videos will fit into more than just one of these categories.  In my example above I would like to select funny and incredible.  YouTube is forcing me to choose.  Give me check-boxes instead so I can express exactly how I feel.  And what about a video that doesn’t fit into any of these 6 choices?
  • Will this get measured? As pointed out in the article linked above, will we eventually be able to sort videos based on “funny” or “what?”  Will this voting system be integrated into Insights?

I’m interested to see how this feature continues to evolve and whether or not viewers choose to use it.

What do you think? Will you use YouTube Reactions?


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