The word marketing can sometimes sound a little scary. However, in the field of student affairs, marketing is one of the key tools for campus activities, or any area that provides events for the entire campus population. Here is a point to ponder: Marketing creates inclusive campuses. The more effort going into marketing, the more populations of students see and start talking about it (the buzz) and the chance of coming to an event increases. We should place marketing as one of our top priorities because it increases our inclusivity.
Many students say they didn’t come to an event because they didn’t know about it. They probably saw the posters, but it didn’t stick in their mind because they didn’t constantly hear about it from peers. They didn’t see or hear the buzz about it.
Yes, posters work and we still use them, however, we need to do more besides just posters and signage. Creating a buzz around campus should be the ultimate goal. In today’s world, creating a buzz digitally can be a very effective marketing strategy. Utilize students and create a “digital street team” for students to join. A street team is a group of people who promote events. A digital street team gets more students involved with the institution, builds their resumes, allows them to work side by side with the programming board, and helps you market to students. Collaborating with faculty can provide the student street team with marketing, social media, and public relations information sessions. It is a great way to collaborate with academics and also gives the students an educational experience to go with their practice.
When a student street team starts digitally marketing an event, their peers see it and start talking. Then their peers start talking, and so on.
Here are some very easy, basic ways to utilize a student digital street team:
- Create Facebook events and invite peers
- Share videos on your Facebook of upcoming artists, activities, etc.
- Change cover photos or profile pictures to the graphic for upcoming larger events
- Invite people to like (your department or programming board) Facebook page
- Keep up to date with Facebook page and feature videos, pictures, blogs, reviews of upcoming event
Twitter and Instagram
- Retweet programming board/office tweets
- Tweet for pre-promotion, live coverage, and follow-up for after event
- Take pictures of event and tweet it out or Instagram it
- Create hashtags for certain recurring events, office, programming board, etc.
- Create a twitter account for a upcoming larger event
- Create a hashtag for students to tweet in during the event and have the host read the tweets throughout breaks (Open Mics, Talent Shows, etc).
- Create video campaigns for upcoming events
- Post Snapchat stories for pre-promotion and throughout the event
Other Online Communication
- Email clubs and organizations who may be interested in a particular event
- Collaborate with offices on each others’ social media
- Email advisors and faculty to promote to their students
- Have students blog for you! It gives them experience, gives you feedback, and advertises what is going on around campus to the students.
The most important thing to remember is always have a brainstorming session with the students. Students are the experts on what gets their peers to events and extremely creative! Let the creativity flow in a round circle discussion.