“Crikey, mate! Look right there through the brush… There she is! Isn’t she a beaut? It’s the illusive summertime social media content. She’s gorgeous!”
Ok, ok… it’s no secret that summertime social media content on college campuses can be elusive. Sure, summertime provides a great opportunity to work ahead, take extra time to strategize or learn new skills. But that doesn’t mean that timely, creative content isn’t out there. You just have to find it.
This summer, #CSUSocial embarked on a five-week summer social media campaign featuring our mascot, CAM the Ram, where fans on social media got to choose what they wanted to see CAM do next. CAM’s Epic Summer Adventure was the brainchild of #CSUSocial team member, Rachael Caldwell. Here are five takeaways about how this campaign came to be, how we made it happen, and what we learned.
1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Rachael is a new(ish) addition to #CSUSocial. She joined the team in early 2018 and is doing great things for the CSU Rams athletics accounts. Plus, having Rachael on board made it possible for #CSUSocial to partner with CSU Athletics on CAM’s Epic Summer Adventure 👌
PRO TIP: Make new relationships or improve upon relationships with other communication groups and social media managers on campus. This will only enhance collaboration opportunities.
2. Work With What You Have
When Rachael began brainstorming about creating a fun, engaging summertime social media campaign, she had to work around the typical summertime limitations – content is slow, athletics teams aren’t in season, coaches are recruiting or on vacation, players are out of town, etc. Nonetheless, we still have to put out unique content that fans can engage with. We know what we don’t have. But think about what DO we have to work with? We have Fort Collins, and we know our fans love this city. We have our mascot, CAM the Ram, and obviously, everyone loves CAM. We have interns. We have video teams. And hey, we have access to a boat 😎
After combining all these pieces, the idea behind CAM’s Epic Summer Adventure was born. Essentially, the plan was to create five epic experiences for CAM over a five-week period. This campaign kicked off in historic Old Town, Fort Collins and wrapped up at New Belgium Brewery. There were three voting periods in the middle.
PRO TIP: If your school has a mascot, think of how you can utilize him/her/it over periods of time when content opportunities are slower.
3. Involve Your Audience and/or Sponsors
From the beginning, we identified two important factors that were important in executing this campaign:
- Make it an interactive campaign that involved our social media audiences. To do this, we created three social voting opportunities where our fans could decide which adventure CAM would have next. These included:
- Do you want to see CAM the Ram go biking or boating?
- Do you want to see CAM the Ram ride the ferris wheel or feed the fish at Scheels Sporting Goods Store?
- Do you want to see CAM the Ram go to an amusement park or a museum?
- Include Athletic sponsors where possible. This is not a common practice for our institutional social channels, but because we partnered with Athletics on this campaign, we saw it as a bonus opportunity to strengthen relationships and engagement between CSU Athletics and their sponsors.
PRO TIP: It’s all about engagement. Bring your audience along in your campaign by making it interactive.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
When we kicked around ideas for CAM’s day in Denver, we tried to imagine the most epic things CAM could do in our neighboring mile-high city. The main ideas floated included having CAM visit the zoo, a museum or amusement part. At first we weren’t sure we’d be able to get access or permission to film in these places, but you never know until you ask, right? That’s exactly what we did. To our delight, our requests were met with open arms and a general excitement for the opportunity to collaborate. In the end, we agreed on having our fans vote between Elitch Gardens, Denver’s downtown amusement park, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Both places also participated by sharing our polls, which helped with overall engagement.
PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid of having big ideas rejected, you never know until you ask!
5. Divide and Conquer
An epic project of this magnitude does not happen without thoughtful planning and teamwork. From the beginning, #CSUSocial and CSU Athletics worked together to make this campaign possible. Rachael was the lead in organizing the stops on CAM’s Epic Adventure, including sponsor locations, and coordinated with CSU cheer to schedule and reserve CAM’s availability for all the video shoots. #CSUSocial created the kickoff video, while the talented CSU Athletics video team filmed and edited the weekly video shorts along with the campaign wrap-up video, plus created a series of GIFS to help promote the videos. Communication efforts between venues and locations were divided between #CSUSocial and CSU Athletics, and together, we achieved the goal of creating an engaging Epic Summer Adventure for CAM that provided us with fun, engaging content throughout the summer.
PRO TIP: Ten hands are better than two, especially when complex campaigns require lots of planning.
As a result of CAM’s Epic Summer Adventure, both #CSUSocial and Athletics saw impressive levels of engagement across all of our channels. On Facebook alone, #CSUSocial posts related to CAM’s Epic Summer Adventure reached 249,916 people. The CSU Rams athletics Twitter account saw 84,709 impressions on just 14 posts (videos, polls, photos) – the engagement rate on these posts was 4%, crushing their typical monthly engagement rates and blasting past the nation’s top athletics department accounts.
Want to Watch?
Here’s where you can watch all of CAM’s Epic Summer Adventures 🎬👍