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Emma GuillenEmma Guillen, Digital Communication Manager at Boston University, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2019-2020 Higher Ed Social Media Conference.

In this 4-question interview, Emma tells us about higher ed social media in 2020, a favorite tool, 3 higher ed social media campaigns as well as strategy and measurement.

1) Where do you think higher ed social media is heading in 2020?

To rise above the competition in higher ed social, it’ll become necessary to create content that could almost replace visiting campus in person. With so many colleges and universities to choose from, students will gravitate toward the schools that go above and beyond to articulate their unique opportunities (in and outside the classroom) with powerful storytelling.

I believe we’ll continue to see a huge demand for video: bite-sized, long-form, live-stream, and everything in between. With IGTV, universities can reach students where they are, and the sky’s the limit for what can be produced. Faculty interviews, virtual tours, and documentaries are some of the video projects I’m currently working on.

2019 Higher Ed Social Media Conference

2) What’s your favorite new tool for your social media work?

My team at BU has a subscription to Sprinklr, and I’ve found their social listening feature to be useful when identifying common themes in degree programs, and just being aware of general community conversations that mention or reference our college.

3) What higher ed social media campaigns have recently caught your attention?

One recent social campaign that I really loved was NYU’s back to school countdown for the Class of 2023.
During the week leading up to move-in day, they highlighted one interesting fact about the university each day with a captivating photo and impressive stats. With just these simple posts, they created a palpable sense of anticipation – and nostalgia for former students.

RIT’s new Photos of the Week series on Facebook
Creating weekly photo albums is a great use of the Facebook platform, and invites followers to experience a week in the life (every week!) on the RIT campus. As an alum, clicking through each photo transported me to an earlier time in my life, and reconnected me with my alma mater. This goes to show that something as straightforward as imagery paired with short captions can have a huge impact.

Lastly, Harvard does an incredible job of capturing the personal stories of their students, faculty, and staff on Instagram in a style that’s reminiscent of Humans of NY. A favorite profile they recently shared was part of a series asking first-year students what special item they brought from home. This particular student, who brought a cold brew coffee maker, found that offering coffee was a great conversation starter. For a university as prestigious and world-renowned as they are, sharing the daily musings of their community helps bring them down to earth.

4) What are your strategic social media goals and how do you measure against these goals?

The biggest strategic goal for social media at our school is driving graduate recruitment and increasing application numbers each year. One metric I find to be indicative of our performance is how many people will click on and read a feature story of a grad student or alum that they initially discovered on one of our social channels. This signifies to us how engaging a particular story was, and what format tends to be most successful. With the help of Google Analytics, we’re able to identify where website traffic is coming from, and use A/B testing to better understand what content types (Q+As, takeovers, etc.) are resonating the most.

A conference focusing on higher ed social media?

The 7th Higher Ed Social Media Conference (HESM19) is a must-attend event for higher ed social media professionals and teams looking for inspiration, ideas and best practices to get ready for 2020.

Read below what your higher ed colleagues who attended the past editions of the Higher Ed Social Media Conference said about their experience.

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