Learnings from #CASESMC
Last month I attended my first CASE conference held in the vibrant city of Brighton. The two-day conference provided a fascinating insight into social media with a HE spin. So in true BuzzFeed-style here are my five takeaways from the conference:
1. Ride the wave, not the board
In the digital age we live in there are many new platforms and tools constantly surfacing and as marketers we want to stay ahead of the game.
However, Andy Shaindlin from Alumni Futures, reminded us that we shouldn’t be hung up on choosing the right technology or scrambling to get up to speed on the latest app, but instead we should focus on the interaction the tools will enable and the communities this will create.
Therefore we all need to “ride the wave, not the board”, in other words social media platforms being the board and our community as the wave; we can always get another board but cultivating the best wave takes time.
2. Let’s think for a minute
Instead of diving straight into an exciting social media campaign we all need to take time out to dig a little deeper into how our audiences are actually using digital and online tools – this will save time and effort in the long run if we can justify our actions to various stakeholders including senior members. Tracy Playle from Pickle Jar Communications recommended using Forrester’s social technographic profile as a way of understating how our audience engage online:
Using the above model as a starting point we can begin to understand what to expect from our audience and this will in turn inform future objectives and content plans. For example “spectators” are unlikely to comment on social media updates in contrast to “creators” who could be an influential group in curating content for a campaign.
3. Integrate your efforts
Pamela Agar shared how Imperial College uses embedded live content on their website to showcase events from graduation to community fairs. And furthermore we are seeing more and more live feeds popping up on university homepages [Cornell, Duke, Harvard] to give prospective students a live sense of what’s going on.
The idea of using tools like Storify to create live-feeds at events or report on news items is definitely a more exciting and vibrant way of curating content to tell a story as opposed to a text-heavy press release.
4. The Internet of ME
The amount of content being churned out is huge; something like 5 Exabyte of data every 10 minutes! So the competition to get the attention of our audience is fierce and Tracy Playle emphasised the importance of creating content which will be useful. For example young people don’t want to see pictures of university buildings they can’t quite relate to just yet therefore Instagram takeovers are becoming increasingly popular.
There is a noticeable shift towards creating content associated with a brand rather than content about a brand. A great example of winning content is Griffith University creating 60 second videos to celebrate the power of knowledge – you really get lost in watching video after video as it’s such an engaging way to consume bite-size information and learn what the institution offers.
5. Get students involved
It was fascinating to see how many institutions use students or graduates in their social media efforts – from Coventry University using social media reps in The Student Room discussions to Delft University of Technology who head up a student-led webcare team to monitor and manage social media communications.
I am not suggesting that we should relinquish all control to students but engaging with them through brainstorming and getting their unique perspective on the student experience will surely allow us to create more authentic and relevant content for prospective students.
If you have the opportunity to attend a CASE conference in the future I would definitely recommend it – it’s great having the opportunity to hear from other institutions and network with marketing professionals in the industry.