@Portland_State Here You Go.

I recently read an article about how colleges can take their social media presence to the next level. It was an insightful article with good points on how colleges can embrace social media and use it to engage current students and recruit potential ones as well.

After reading the article, I sent a tweet to my alma mater, Portland State University:

I didn’t think much about it afterwards. But after a couple of days, I actually heard back from them:

I’m pretty considerate when asked for ideas in regards to public relations, social media, marketing, etc. My philosophy is that if I can take a little bit of time to help someone achieve greater success, I’m going to do it. So Portland State, it’s your lucky day! Here are some ideas on how you can take your social media to the next level:

  • Recruit more student bloggers for your official blog, PSU Chronicles. No one knows more about what PSU is all about than the students themselves. By leveraging student bloggers as creators of content for the blog, you’ll simultaneously create an information hub for current/potential students…by the students.
  • After digging around on your website, I finally found what I was looking for: a resource page that lists all of the relevant social media accounts for the university. Great job on the social media index! My suggestion would be to place a link or image on the PSU homepage because that’s where the majority of traffic will come from. Maybe a trimmed down version of this image?
  • Find a brand ambassador. Someone who’s interesting that can speak well of the university and be a representative of the school. Someone like…PSU President Wim Wiewel? Of course, I’m guessing he’s a busy man. So is President Obama, and he has more than nine million Twitter followers. Just an idea. He doesn’t even have to do it himself (although preferred)!
  • Besides the website, how are you letting people know about your social media accounts? Think about generating some buzz…offline. Idea: If I remember correctly, the park blocks is filled with student groups and organizations during the start of the school year correct? That’s a perfect opportunity to create some sort of interactive giveaway during new student orientation week by setting up a booth with a plasma screen streaming tweets (create a hashtag) next to your booth. Use location-based marketing such as Foursquare, so when students check-in to the booth they receive a prize or something. Go “old school” by placing signage regarding PSU’s involvement in social media throughout the campus.
  • Team up with university organizations and businesses for a major contest/giveaway. People love giveaways, especially students! Create prize packages, food court coupons, etc. Collaborate with the university’s Office of Communications, student-run publications and radio station to broadcast awareness of the contest. Instead of entering information (e.g. email address) to enter the giveaway, focus on giving students the opportunity to engage with your online networks. For an example, see: An Award-Winning Oregon State Fair.
  • Utilize photos and videos more. Less so from you guys, but more from students, faculty, etc. Encourage people to post photos on Facebook or create a Flickr set of only student/faculty submitted photos (not sure if you’ve done so already). Perhaps create a sharable map on Flickr which includes photo tags of places across campus. Imagine new students being able to see not only where a building is located at, but also what it looks like. I know I would of found it helpful!
  • Analyze your Klout score. Is what you see a good representation of your online identity? If not, adjust your strategy as needed.
  • It’s all about engaging with your diverse audiences. It works both ways…two-way communication. Give your followers, your fans, your readers the tools to engage and create content for your school.
  • And lastly, use the upcoming few months to plan a campaign for the upcoming school year. This is a great opportunity to welcome back students and reach out to new ones. Hence, a great time to build your network. Some questions to ask yourself beforehand: What do you want to accomplish? What tools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) are you going to use? How are you going to measure your success (results)?

As Oregon’s largest university, I know it can be difficult to plan and implement a campus-wide social media strategy. These are just a few thoughts after exploring your current social media efforts. Hopefully these points will spark some ideas for you guys!

Good luck!

Class of ’08

Image courtesy of Portland State via Facebook.

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