7 Creative Ways Colleges Are Using Social Media

  • April 2, 2015

    college social media campaigns

    All across the United States, colleges and universities are utilizing social media to increase enrollment, connect with students and alumni, and drive goodwill towards their institutions. They’re running social media campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other major social platforms and receiving positive responses in return.

    Marketers in any field can learn from these unique campaigns and get “schooled” on how to effectively use these sites. Let’s take a look at seven ways that colleges are tapping into the power of social media in creative ways to fulfill their marketing goals.

    Northeastern – #ResidentPresident

    During the fall 2014 semester when students were arriving at school, Northeastern University released tweets that the president of the college, Joseph Aoun, was moving into the dorms. The brains behind the campaign created a hashtag, #ResidentPresident, that got students talking on Twitter and posting selfies with Aoun. In the video, the president is seen conversing with his new roommate, offering students coffee, and trying to persuade people to go on 6 a.m. runs with him every morning. It received more than 7,000 hits as well as numerous mentions on Twitter.

    UC Irvine – #UCIGrad Social Screen


    For the 2014 UC Irvine graduation ceremony the school was able to get a very special guest: President Barack Obama. The ceremony was held at Angel Stadium in Anaheim and everyone attending had to be in the building two hours prior to the President arriving for security reasons. With two hours to kill, the organizers created social media stations all over the park and prompted grads to share their tweets and photos with #UCIgrad.

    The social photos were then curated and displayed on the stage screens to motivate others to share their photos as well. The social plan was a success with over 5,000 people using #UCIgrad on Twitter and another 1,200 on Instagram.

    University of Dayton – Social Scholarship Contest

    Instead of simply asking students to write essays about why they should receive scholarships, the University of Dayton held a contest that incorporated YouTube and Facebook instead. In 2011, 2012, and 2013, the school offered $ 50,000 in scholarships to applicants who liked their Facebook page and created a video explaining how they would make a difference in the world. Then, applicants had to ask their friends and family to vote for them. In 2012, the school garnered 52 entries and almost 60,000 votes. Their Facebook page has over 16,000 likes as well.

    Fordham University’s – #Fordham4Me

    Fordham College Instagram Social Media Campaign

    Students typically find out they’re going to be admitted to a college several months before they actually go. To ensure that students were still excited about attending Fordham University, the admissions department decided to run a social media campaign called #Fordham4Me. They used Tumblr and Instagram to try and reach 90% of all admitted students and to prompt those students to create their own content about the college. Image courtesy of mStoner The campaign generated interest from admitted and current students on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Over 900 visitors explored Fordham’s Tumblr page, and nearly 300 Instagram posts with the #Fordham4Me hashtag received 6,500 likes.

    University of Oregon – #NationalBrand

    Oregon College Pinterest Social Media Campaign

    In 2012, the University of Oregon ran a Pinterest contest to amp up excitement about their sports teams, the Oregon Ducks. They asked people to pin Ducks-related images with the hashtag #nationalbrand and offered $ 350 in prizes to the winners. Participants pinned photos of green and yellow items, since those are the teams’ colors, as well as images of Ducks merchandise. Image courtesy of Pinterest The campaign received attention from numerous users on Pinterest, and today, the University of Oregon Ducks Pinterest page has more than 4,600 followers.

    Wabash College – #Wabash430

    Officials at Wabash College in Indiana wanted to raise money for their students. Their goal was to garner $ 43,000 in donations from 430 alumni in 24 hours. The college took to Twitter and Facebook to reach their core audience and raise the money. Image courtesy of Twitter The campaign was so successful that the #Wabash430 hashtag was trending in Indianapolis throughout the 24 hours. Additionally, the Facebook page for the college received 13,000 views that day. Above all, the school made more than $ 465,000 from their donors. Today, it has more than 7,600 likes on Facebook and over 2,000 followers on Twitter, which isn’t bad for a school that has only 902 students.

    University of Kentucky – SeeBlue.com

     Kentucky College YouTube Social Media Campaign

    In 2007, the University of Kentucky started a “See Blue” campaign, which is a nod to its official colors, blue and white. The campaign is now located on a microsite for the school, SeeBlue.com, which contains videos from real students talking about their experiences. It turns out that connecting with students through video as opposed to printed catalogues is extremely effectual. These days, the University of Kentucky has over one million views on its YouTube page and nearly 2,000 subscribers.

    What creative college campaigns have you noticed on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest? Were they effective? Let us know in the comments section below.

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