Emily Phillips, Social Media Coordinator at William & Mary, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2019-2020 Higher Ed Social Media Conference.
In this 4-question interview, Emily 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?
Whenever I’m asked the “what’s next” question it inevitably conjures up in my mind the 1994 clip of Katie Couric & Bryant Gumbel trying to figure out the @ symbol and asking, “what is the internet, anyway?” At the risk of earning the amused derision of future readers, I’ll say that I see a lot of potential for “creator” spaces like YouTube, podcasts and even Twitch, which lend themselves well to Higher Education content. I’m also keeping an eye on VSCO and Tik Tok, which are obviously popular with a huge chunk of our audience, but I’m not yet sure enough that our current and future students are interested in seeing or engaging with our content in those spaces to warrant diverting our resources in either of those directions.
2) What’s your favorite new tool for your social media work?
My conference session deals with some of the shifts – both big and small – in strategy that William & Mary made in the summer of 2019 to make our social media efforts more accessible. Learning that all of our livestreams needed to be captioned live definitely qualified as one of the bigger changes we had to figure out! There are a few live captioning tools out there that use automatic speech recognition software to generate the captions, which typically couldn’t even get our name correct. Having your name misspelled on your own livestream isn’t a very good look, will undoubtedly earn you a few comments from your alumni and ultimately doesn’t help those who depend on captions. Despite what their name might lead you to believe, AI-Media offers live captions created by a human being. You can send them a vocabulary list ahead of time to ensure that all speaker and university names are correct as well as any community-specific slang your institution might have. Live captioning seemed to be a daunting task at first, but AI-Media has made it much easier for us.
3) What higher ed social media campaigns have recently caught your attention?
There are so many cool things happening in Higher Ed social that it’s hard to pick just three! I’m constantly amazed and inspired by the work our community creates. If I have to pick three, I’ll say:
University of Michigan – The Michigan Wings, Instagram
Okay, so this isn’t from 2019, but I discovered it this year so I’m going to include it on this list. I’m a fan of Kelsey Montague’s work and her #whatliftsyou message and I think there’s something really clever about combining an uplifting message (pun definitely intended) with a branded photo op on a university campus.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Discover Nebraska, Instagram Story
We’ve been working on creating a weekly Instagram Story to better inform our students about what’s happening on campus and we knew we wanted it to be more than a list of upcoming events. Finding University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Discover Nebraska series was an inspiration for us. The series uses compelling photos, simple and clean design, and fun graphics to share upcoming events, current news stories, alumni profiles and more with their audience on a regular basis.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – “Let the Games Begin” Commencement Video
I thought the video itself was fun, the student involvement was a nice touch and the plethora of Milwaukee landmarks certainly had this alumna feeling nostalgic! I also appreciate the amount of work that I’m sure went into coordinating all of the filming locations, the participants’ schedules and teaching everyone the choreography.
4) What are your strategic social media goals and how do you measure against these goals?
Earlier this year we took a strategic look at our audiences and prioritized them. So one specific goal that we have this year – beyond the higher-arching goals of increasing brand awareness, increasing brand advocacy and building lifelong connection – is shifting more of our focus and resources to Instagram and our audience of current and future students. We’re looking to increase the engagement rate of our main feed posts, increase the volume of Instagram Stories and increase their completion rate and reach. Another way we’re focusing on our future students is by expanding our paid social efforts to deliver targeted content to that audience.
A conference focusing 100% on higher ed social media?
The 2019-2020 Higher Ed Social Media Conference (now available on-demand!) is a must-attend event for higher ed social media professionals and teams looking for inspiration, ideas and best practices.
Read below what your higher ed colleagues who attended the past editions of the Higher Ed Social Media Conference said about their experience.