The Scroll: Hamilton's Social Media Strategy/Platform


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Creating a true strategy for social media can be a very trying effort. Besides choosing the most appropriate channels for your audience, you also have to create content, choose a voice and maintain conversation and engagement at a pretty high level. You also need to decide how loud your audience's voice is in comparison to your own. At Hamilton College, our strategy has turned this idea on its head: what if the audience was the primary content creator and voice? How do we then 'feed the beast' and highlight the great content coming from our campus, our alumni and our communities? Enter 'The Scroll' - Hamilton's home grown moderated social media mash-up. Find out the strategy behind this endeavor, how content is being curated, cultivated and maintained, and how research, buy-in and education lead to its creation.

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  • my first task was to do nothing.Of course we had all of the social media are ‘supposed’ to haveHow were other offices on campus using social media.What I first noticed was that the alumni voice was strongbut what I didn’t see was a lot of student voices.
  • Hamilton needed a way to stand out from the do we qualify this statement? Where on the web can we see this verified? Where are we giving students and alumni the forum to showcase this for us?As a 200 year old institution, entirely homogeneous, preppy, rural school without personality?
  • We cant tellAnd they don’t want us to. We need to show this. This speaks to the power of authentic content. not paid interns or ambassadors – but just the daily social media ramblings
  • The way to win in any marketing endeavor and especially social media is to fully understand what effect you are trying to have.Without knowing this, its just feeding a machine with no output. After listening to the landscape the next step in our process was to define the issue at hand.
  • Hamilton’s social media voice and tone is not that of an all seeing all knowing bodyUse institutional accounts and their content sparingly. This especially helps with the limited capacity our office has for researching, creating and achieving lift of our own content. Their interactions with the institution are not as important as their connections to each otherShowcase not only positive, but differences in the student body
  • community is so varied, there is no one Hamilton experience stereotyped for, however positive it may be. By allowing the community to tell their experiences, we broaden the scope of what Hamilton is. in the words and pictures of actual students who arent being paid to report their experiences.discourse and critical thinking. Political policies, type of milk available in the cafeteria
  • multiple accounts/networks in one locationshare it out in their preferred networkCampaigns help elevate this as well as we use The Scroll as our go to source for all social media campaigns on and off campus.
  • Like most social media strategists and community managers, I follow a lot of content.listening strategy fully extends to The Scroll making it a great catch all tool for Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook. We cultivate content from accounts, keyword mentions and via hashtags. I get to see all of these great mentions – lucky that 99% of our mentions are positive. allow others to add to it and share from it.
  • virtual firehose of content. A steady, fast, real time stream of sentiment and activities as experiences by our community. Now that we know this content exists, ‘content asks’.
  • sell everyone else on how great of an idea it is. how it affects all of their communications and events. Social cant be one way channelthese meetings are extremely necessary and numerous. Board of Trustees. Achieving buy in was the number one reason we were able to achieve such a status: it belongs to everyone, not to the comm office
  • especially true when it comes to students/alumni. For instance, this picture was not solicitedBecause we cultivated student feedback early, they knew this platform was for them and theirs to use. We sought out the super users on campus, and uncovered an interesting phenomenonWith Alumni, we worked with the alumni executive council also giving them a first look at the product as it was in development. We helped them and their leadership volunteers understand how this could help their own social media efforts for affinity and regional groups for events and connections.
  • Storify/Rebel mouse Itseems much easier to hire out for this type of productionwe quickly realized that the talent existed among our own employees to satisfy The Scroll’s needs. We also knew that with an external consultant, time, cost, explanations and project management would be a lot of worka high tide raising all boats. The marketing team and the design team
  • For launch in February, we knew we wanted to do something a little different. Rolled scrolls with just the visual identity, the website and the hashtag. leaked the link to the student superusers so that they’d be able to have first crack, help publicize to others and provide content to prepopulate.
  • And the content came and kept coming.
  • And we keep it going with hashtags not just for Twitter, but also for use in Instagram and Tumblr. We try to create the tags with the groups providing the event or pull them from the community if something is already being used. We also try to publicize them in many ways, on our website, in all forms of social media and integrated into print materials as well.
  • But obviously, this isnt without its very real fears and moderation woes. Part of giving this idea over to the community involves some discomfort. But in order to remain authentic, we need to be sure not to sanitize the content to the point of it losing all meaning. It’s a very fine line.
  • most prevelant fear is of negative comments. Give people a forum, and they’ll test it. How much can they get away with? What is the limit? DO I like this limit?allow for a variety of opinons. They may go against institutional decisions. But they are viewpoints shared among the population and do have a space in the conversation.This photo was in reaction to the newly created rule that bikes were not allowednew pledging rules for fraternites or for a beloved professor not receiveing tenure or for a new solicitation technique.
  • This one can be the most difficult because it really involves a judgement call. Basically, if it adds to a commentary, its ok. If its just a blantant use of an F bomb. Then it’s a no. Generally, we’ve not seen a lot of this. This specific animated gif was in reaction to a write up in Colgate’s student paper regarding a stiff on an invitation to collaborate on bringing big acts to the region. It was too perfect to pass up.
  • We all have those spoof accounts: Hamilton Hipster, Buildings with personalities of their own, Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton problems and the list goes on. But, the beauty of the scroll is that it’s a safe zone for all content. But we also have a nationally recognized streaking team. This brings up the nudity issue – if the nudity is in context, and people are not distinguishable, it’s a go. If its nudity for shock value and nudity’s sake out of context? It’s a no. Again, its all about context and commentary – if it is a generally recognized part of the student experience we cant deny it a space on The Scroll.
  • You’d think these would be the worst, the almost automatic ‘nos’s, But, its just the opposite. Giving these subjects the stage only helps to illuminate the problem and allow others to be involved in the conversation. Much like a community in social media will self police, a community on and off campus will also become stronger for dealing with their issues out in the open and thru a variety of opinions. By promoting these issues via The Scroll we’ve seen an uptick in others sharing their thoughts and feelings on a varitey of touchy subjects.
  • In order to ensure that we apply the criteria evenly and so that others may rule justly, we came up with only these 4 crieria for content.
  • Students requested thisGovtdept also involved, professors
  • Storify used to take the place of this
  • Pictures with alexander hamiltonPrearival hash tag to build excitementLive interaction while waiting
  • Staff feared the worst
  • Content campaigns/contentsStudent/alumni createdIntegrated into all admission and student activities = alumni
  • The Scroll: Hamilton's Social Media Strategy/Platform

    2. 2. “A problem well stated is a problem half solved” - Charles F. Kettering
    3. 3. #1- Grow the student share of voice
    4. 4. #2 – Give brand ownership to the community
    5. 5. #3 – Increase visibility in social media
    6. 6. HOW?
    7. 7. #GetScrolled #HamiltonASB #Hamilton13 #CampHammy
    13. 13. CONTENT RULES • Context and Conversation • Personal Attacks • Threats to Safety • Untrue
    15. 15. #HCDEBATE
    16. 16. #HAMILTONASB
    17. 17. #HAMILTON17
    18. 18. #CAMPHAMMY
    19. 19. FEEDBACK
    20. 20. THE FUTURE
    21. 21. INTEGRATION
    22. 22. THANK YOU! Jessica Krywosa Director of Social Media Hamilton College @jesskry