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Growing Your Social Audience: Ask and You Shall Receive

When it comes to social, sometimes you just have to ask for what you want.

At this year’s Ram Welcome freshmen and transfer student orientation, we (the College of Health and Human Sciences) really wanted to put a focus on social media. And not just a focus on covering it, per se. We wanted to encourage our new Rams to follow us on our various social platforms.

Planning the Ask

Prior to the college meeting that happens every Friday of Ram Welcome, I met with the various social media administrators in our college. Almost all of our eight departments and schools have their own social media accounts. (If you want to know how we manage that, read this.)

“Ask them to pull out their phones right there and have them like your page.”

The key message from that meeting was that each academic unit has a perfect opportunity to ask students to follow our social accounts during their small group meetings at Ram Welcome. Ask them to pull out their phones right there and have them like your page.

CHHS Admins

Our group of awesome CHHS social media admins with Team Social guest Jen Smith!

We also took our own advice.

Each year, our team puts together a technology card for our incoming students that details the tech resources available to them. This year, we made a large effort to ramp up the social media section, which looks like this.

CHHS social media card

The Ask

As students file into Moby Arena, they are handed the card along with various other CHHS info and swag. The flier alone wasn’t going to do much good encouraging students to follow our accounts, though. A certain important individual made the real difference.

Dean Jeff McCubbin walked up to the mic, introduced himself to the students, and asked them to look at the technology card we had given them. His message was simple: We want to stay connected with you throughout your journey here at CSU. He then asked for what we wanted.

“Please take out your phones right now, while we’re waiting to get started, and follow us on the accounts you use.”

Result

The result was phenomenal.

Within minutes, our Instagram account jumped from 500 followers to 700. Twitter jumped up by about 130, and Facebook grew a little more than 100. With one simple ask, we were able to connect with our newest Rams where they wanted to hear from us.

What we didn’t plan on was that our act of asking students to follow us on the platforms they use turned into a fascinating case study. 

We’ve all heard and seen the analytics telling us that younger audiences are increasingly moving off of Facebook and Twitter and instead moving to Instagram and Snapchat. Our follower increase was tangible proof of this. By the end of the day, more than 200 people followed our Instagram account. That’s a 40-percent increase. (So basically we’ve already hit our yearly goal for Instagram… 😉)

That’s important information. That tells me, as a social media manager, that I need to be just as thoughtful about my Instagram posts as I am with my Facebook posts. It also tells me that I’m speaking to a different, much younger, audience.

What About our Departments and Schools?

Let’s tie this back to the beginning. This all started when I recommended the social media administrators ask students to like their pages (this group uses primarily Facebook). You know what was cool? By looking at their analytics, I could see who took this advice. And, I could see that the simple act of asking worked for them, too.

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