Going Visual in Digital Communications


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Creating digital, visual content poses challenges for higher education. Here are some ideas and resources I shared with my Frostburg State colleague Bri Huot at the CASE District II 2012 conference.

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Going Visual in Digital Communications

  1. 1. Going Visual in Digital Communications Becca Ramspott: Communications Specialist Brianne Reason: Alumni Affairs/Annual Giving Specialist Frostburg State University CASE District II Conference, March 4, 2013
  2. 2. Past vs. Present … • Everything has always been visual …
  3. 3. Past vs. Present …
  4. 4. Past vs. Present … Neil Armstrong picture from http://charithwg.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-foot-print-on-moonin-celebration.html Red Bull Statos picture of Felix Baumgartner from DachisGroup, “7 Social Campaign Insights from Red Bull Statos, http://www.dachisgroup.com/2012/10/7-social-campaign-insights-from-redbull-stratos/
  5. 5. Eye-opening stats … “A 2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it's the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we're exposed to every day.”* *Walter, Ekaterina, “The Rise of Social Media,” Fast Company, Aug. 28, 2012
  6. 6. Eye-opening stats … • Videos are shared 1,200% more than links and text posts combined. • Photos are liked 200% more than text updates. Bullas, Jeff, “So How Powerful is Visual Content on Social Media?” quote from a study done by Simply Measured, which looked at Facebook’s top 10 brand pages
  7. 7. But creating digital, visual content poses challenges for higher education … • Many of us are short on time, staff and resources • Social media changes all the time … hard to keep up • No control with social media • How to be relevant to our various online audiences … Where do we go? What do we say? • Old school versus new school
  8. 8. SOCIAL MEDIA and the “shiny new toy” syndrome
  9. 9. Frostburg State’s stats • VERY small shop • Limited resources: no full-time videographer or photographer on our staff • No budget for specific campaign projects • Support from senior leadership to take risks, try new ideas >>> Creative problem solving >>> Less red tape >>> Close-knit campus community = familiarity with available resources
  10. 10. Frostburg’s Foray Into Social Media …
  11. 11. Frostburg’s Formula for Curating Content, Conversations • Be a CURATOR! (Visual storytelling, organizing info in an interactive way) – Create an editorial calendar for your social media – No posts/tweets without some sort of picture illustrating the event or announcement, whenever possible – PHOTOS, PHOTOS, PHOTOS (Facebook Photo albums are worth their weight in gold, in terms of engagement)
  12. 12. How Frostburg Curates Content, Conversations
  13. 13. How Frostburg Curates Content, Conversations
  14. 14. Frostburg’s Formula for Curating Content, Conversations • Take advantage of USER-GENERATED CONTENT – Ask questions on Twitter and RT people’s responses with your commentary added – Invite people to share pictures (#instaFrostburg) – Do contests (legality?)
  15. 15. How Frostburg Curates Content, Conversations
  16. 16. Frostburg’s Formula for Curating Content, Conversations • CROSS-PROMOTE your social media communities – Add links to social media in email signatures – Highlight social media on related print materials – Share and share alike across the social media spectrum (think about how students use their mobile devices to discover and share info)
  17. 17. How Frostburg Curates Content, Conversations
  18. 18. How Frostburg Curates Content, Conversations
  19. 19. Frostburg’s Formula for Curating Content, Conversations • LISTEN to what’s out there, what people are saying about your brand … – Socialmention.com (<<< FREE!) – Google Reader – Hootsuite/Tweetdeck “Mentions” feature – Brand monitoring/listening tools like Radian6 – Students, students, students!! What are they talking about?
  20. 20. Frostburg’s Formula for Curating Content, Conversations • Have a strategic approach that helps you STAY NIMBLE – Don’t invest in overly complicated ideas that take a lot of time and energy … think smart, simple and shareable – Be willing to let go of projects that aren’t working or no longer serve your institution’s goals – Make sure whatever content you’re curating and creating supports institutional goals
  21. 21. Frostburg’s Formula for Curating Content, Conversations
  22. 22. Frostburg’s Formula for Curating Content, Conversations
  23. 23. How Frostburg Curates Content, Conversations
  24. 24. Frostburg’s Formula for Curating Content, Conversations • EDUCATE, DON’T DICTATE, in how you share social media best practices with your campus – Form a Social Media Group for collective leadership/sounding board in spearheading social media practices – Have tools and resources at the ready to deal with flurry of social media creation (eFrostburg Community) – Acknowledge departments who use social media well
  25. 25. FSU’s Social Media Marketing Philosophy • We don’t censor our social media communities; instead we respond or, better yet, wait for one of our constituents to chime in • Authenticity is key; if we make a mistake, we acknowledge it • Keep it fresh and informal; casual voice • Social media is conversation and interaction, not one-way communication • Reverse thinking: personal made business instead of reverse
  26. 26. FSU Faculty Staff Campaign • Over 700 Faculty and Staff • 12 Special Gifts Committee Members • All gifts July 1- June 30 are counted – Targeted solicitation takes place during academic year
  27. 27. A Visual Campaign Dialogue= Dollars • Fundraising best practices of cultivation • Videos allow you to reach the masses personally $
  28. 28. The Transition to Visual 2011 2012
  29. 29. The Transition to Visual •Choose the right subject •Graduating senior •Chief of Police •Show them the fruit of their labor
  30. 30. Overwhelming Response
  31. 31. Overwhelming Response
  32. 32. Overwhelming Response “I cannot yet give at this time, but I hope to someday. I just wanted you to know this is a great video.” – FSU Professor
  33. 33. Collaboration is Key • Reach out to your campus partners – Mass Communications – Use ideas from your gift officers for content • Utilize students – Experiential learning – Eases task load for staff
  34. 34. Collaboration is Key • Not everyone is digital – What about Physical Plant? Housekeeping? – Are you leaving people out? • Ian- SG Member example
  35. 35. • Mashable.com • MediaPost Publications • “Wired Edition” of Chronicle of Higher Ed • #casesmc Twitter chats Staying Current
  36. 36. Keep the Conversation Going … Brianne Reason blreason@frostburg.edu @BrianneReason www.linkedin.com/in/briannereason
  37. 37. Keep the Conversation Going … Becca Ramspott reramspott@frostburg.edu @beccaramspott www.linkedin.com/in/beccaramspott “Higher Ed Reads” on Pinterest