The Power of “Social” in Social Media

By Mike Petroff - Thu, Sep 30, 2010

General, Marketing, Social Media

The Power of ?Social? in Social Media

Think about what goes into your social media strategy when launching campaigns. You talk about content, distribution, action, and community management. There’s helpful guides on how to track ROI after you launch a campaign and tools to provide analytics to your team members. If you step back from the computer and think about the true ‘power’ of social media, you may begin tracking something else too - the tangible real-life interactions and lasting connections that happen while creating your campaigns.

Let’s look at a a few examples of video-driven social media success stories developed by colleges over the past year. There’s the That’s Why I Chose Yale admissions video (which has garnered over 675,000 views), the President’s Day at Macalester College, and more recently, a flash mob performed by Emerson College students to promote theatre event.

The success of these videos was not caused by a just social media-savvy marketer behind a monitor.  These groups realized that in order to gain excitement, their videos would need the input of a variety of campus organizations and offices. The administration, students, and faculty all worked together in some capacity to finalize a product.

Here’s quick video explaining the story behind the flash mob. Think about all of the real-life interactions that took place in order to launch this social media campaign:

  • 140 freshmen students producing work together in their very first week of school
  • Faculty and administration collaborating on the event promotion
  • Bringing a student production into the Boston community
  • Involvement of the campus community in spreading the video internally, therefore promoting the event

Once that campaign launched, the excitement around the video was contagious. The videos became viral internally, and with some marketing during the buzz, other outlets picked up the video. Social became contagious, and contagious became viral.

Before you create you next social media campaign, start making connections in real life. You’ll need the support if you want to get more eyes on your product. We often complain about how higher education operates in silos, but what better way to break those silos than to connect the community in person AND online through social media. The benefits of social media go way behind view counts on YouTube. The difference-makers at your school may not be on Twitter, so get out from behind the computer and start shaking some hands!

How have you experienced the power of ‘social’ in your social media campaigns?

Picture credit: PictFactory

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This post was written by:

Mike Petroff

Mike Petroff - who has written 12 posts on .eduGuru

Mike is the Web Manager for Enrollment at Emerson College in Boston, MA.  He leads web marketing and online recruitment efforts for undergraduate and graduate admission.  Mike also chairs the social media group at Emerson as they work on coming up with ways to use the social web to recruit the next generation of students. You can find him on Twitter at @mikepetroff.

5 Responses to “The Power of “Social” in Social Media”

  1. Jess Says:

    Hey Mike. Have you seen any enrollment/retention outcomes from social experiments at Emerson? Tangible numbers?


  2. Mike Petroff Says:

    I’ve done tracking in Facebook Class of 20xx groups for enrollment - but nothing yet for retention. I’m working on the Class of 2014 data now since our final class numbers are set. I’m sure this year we’ll be more targeted in our social media campaigns toward prospective students in the spring - so I may have better data later.


  3. Tim Says:

    Love this post - couldn’t agree more. Working at a conservative school, the difference makers are definitely NOT on Twitter. Thanks for the reminder that Social Media is social first, it’s about relationships and engagement - easy to forget that from time to time.


  4. Mike Petroff (author) Says:

    @Jess - here’s an article from Wired about Facebook use & retention:


  5. Mike McCready Says:

    Such a good post. I think far too often people forget to be social when participating in social media. Upload a video or post a cool post and ‘the will come’ isn’t true.

    I really appreciate your post after encountering some people on Twitter doing it the wrong way.



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