The most important thing for using social media as an advertising, communications, or resident retention tool is to make it INTERACTIVE! You must engage your users so that they have a reason to pay attention to your page. There are several ways to achieve effective interaction within your social media account in off-campus housing:
- Choose an incentive that is proportionate to the type of contest or challenge the user has to complete in order to get it.
- For instance, if it’s a small weekly trivia contest, then a $10 Target gift card for the winner is completely appropriate.
- If it’s a contest where residents submit high quality videos taken on your property in order to win, then the prize should ideally be structured with a “1st, 2nd, 3rd” place and be in the range of $250-$500 value for first place.
- The worst thing you can do is skimp on prizes. If the prizes aren’t worth a busy resident’s time, then they won’t bother themselves with your contest or challenge – and they may ultimately lose interest in your social media account altogether.
- Because of Facebook settings and the way in which students use their social media accounts, you will need to promote contests and promotions “offline”.
- Hang posters in your breezeways, stairwells, elevators, office, clubhouse, etc. Put a mention about the contest on your website. Send an email blast with a link to the contest and information about the prizes.
- If it is a large promotion with a lot of value to you, you may want to consider promoting the post (on Facebook). This costs a bit but can have a high return. Just be sure not to promote passive posts.
- Be sure to post a photo of the winner with his/her prize as soon as physical possible. Make sure they tag themselves and share with their friends!
- Make sure that users know they will actually get a prize in their hands if they win.
- Don’t forget to stick to the terms of your contest. If you announce that the contest ends at 9pm, you must post a winner by 10pm.
- A simple way to achieve this is to make it easy for YOU. Choose parameters (date/time) that you will have no trouble following through with.
Don’t Passively Post
- Try to have all of your posts have a call to action for the user to comment, share, or at the least, like.
- Unfortunately, posting “Who is going to see Interstellar tonight?” isn’t going to get you very far. You must ask yourself the question before every post/tweet, “Why would a student take time out of his/her busy schedule to respond to this?”
- Instead, try “Interstellar comes out tomorrow night and we’re giving away two free tickets! Comment with your favorite Matthew McConaughey catch phrase to be entered to win!”
- Today’s students like things that are unique, thoughtful or thought provoking, and fresh.
- If they feel like what they are participating in is new and exciting they are much more likely to do so.
- You can start simple and work toward more complex or interesting ideas to see what works and what doesn’t.
- Don’t be afraid to put something out there. If it bombs, you’ll know not to try it again and it will soon be lost in social media land. If it is a success, you’ll know what paths to try in the future. Bottom line is…GO FOR IT!
Social media can really work for you…if you do it right. “Doing it right” doesn’t have to mean a ton of effort and time, it just means being efficient, setting parameters that are easy to stick to, and having fun. Just don’t forget to make it INTERACTIVE!
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