Marketing, Content and Social Strategy

Nailing Pinterest: It's Not All Wedding Dresses and Desserts (MCS1)

Monday, Oct. 17 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.

For many institutions, Pinterest is considered a “secondary” social media platform; one that’s handed off to the student intern, or something that you don’t even want to touch. Although Pinterest has a stereotypically niche audience (hint: it includes muffin-top-busting workouts and DIY projects), it’s not something to count out of your social media strategy. Jackie Vetrano of Skidmore College explains how she took Pinterest from a tertiary platform to the front of the college’s social media strategy, and the lessons learned.

Share Human: The Value of Sharing Beyond Authenticity (MCS2)

Monday, Oct. 17 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.

Humans have always had an innate need to share their lives with others in a variety of ways. From the first cave paintings to the latest apps, we continue to invent ways to learn, to create, to express, to discover, and to share ourselves with the world. But when we share as institutions, as organizations, as brands, we too often let a vague need to be "authentic" get in the way of truly engaging with our human audiences. First presented as the keynote for the 2016 HighEdWeb New England regional conference, this is a personal exploration of how we can and should embrace the human core of what, why, and how we share; how we can eliminate the barriers that keep us from sharing, and how we can share better by sharing human.

Events in Stereo: How to Help Your Campus Events and Campaigns Succeed (MCS3)

Monday, Oct. 17 10:45 - 11:30 a.m.

Every year, universities have dozens of major events ranging from graduation to giving days. William & Mary’s Tiffany Broadbent Beker (University Communications) and Sarah Juliano (University Advancement) will explain how they approach these varied events - what’s worked, and what hasn’t. They’ll address the ever-tricky balance between engagement and fundraising on university social media channels and suggest innovative ways to have the entire campus community help distribute your message and promote your event. During this session, they’ll discuss how to set social media expectations, ways to collaborate with your peers across campus, suggestions for creating and executing a hashtag, and how to create a social media guide to make each event one to remember.

From Strategic Plan to Content Strategy (MCS4)

Monday, Oct. 17 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Content strategy is good for business, but it can be challenging to sell the fundamentals of content strategy to leaders and decision-makers in our organizations. It can also be challenging to stay focused on strategy when faced with multiple audiences, politicized home page real estate, conflicting priorities, and demands on web resources. In this session, we’ll discuss the value of your organization’s strategic plan in the face of these challenges—examining its application for making a case, guiding content and design decisions, and evaluating the success of your efforts.

Beyond SEO: Writing Findable Content (MCS5)

Monday, Oct. 17 3:00 - 3:45 p.m.

"I can't find it." Yep, I hear that one too. In fact, it's the most common complaint I hear from students, faculty, and staff about their university website. I also hear them ask: "Where am I?" "Is this for me?" "Where do I go from here?" These questions are symptoms of poor findability—and we need to answer them. No page on our website should feel like a dead end. Institutions that take action often responded to these problems with a redesigned website or new information architecture, but what about the content we create? Beyond SEO, how can we effectively guide web users toward their destination—as well as enable their discovery of useful, relevant content? It starts with a content strategy and continues by educating content contributors about findability and navigation.

Nested Content Strategy: Adding Layers to Rally Content Teams (MCS6)

Monday, Oct. 17 4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

Higher education is a notoriously decentralized environment — and one of the most difficult to reign in when it’s time to change your school’s content culture. A bit of nesting (visualize Russian nesting dolls) can prepare an organization by providing flexibility while managing individual needs and creativity. In this session, you will learn how the University of South Carolina was able to implement change to build on research-driven brand strengths and created harmony across content teams by layering key university messages, attributes and values to lead content development in teams from publications, web, internal communications, social media and more. Learn how to: • Layer your content strategy to add meaning without overcomplicating your message. • Provide flexibility for content creators while still maintaining brand cohesiveness overall and prepare your teams for change. • Identify champions in your team to help spread the message and build a content culture that everyone can rally behind to bring harmony to a house of chaos.

"No, YOU'RE Crying": How Two Schools Turned a Cinderella Experience into Social Media Gold (MCS7)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.

Getting into "The Big Dance" is one thing. But what do you do once you're there, and how can you make sure you get the most out of it? University of Arkansas at Little Rock & Stony Brook University were two Cinderella stories in the NCAA basketball tournament this spring, and Meaghan Milliorn Fikes and Chris D'Orso helped tell their schools' stories through social media. They will discuss how best to collaborate across departments and mobilize campus resources quickly and efficiently, and will provide examples of how they capitalized on the excitement of being suddenly thrust into the national spotlight.

“Mike’s an Idiot” And Other Ways a Responsive Shop Changed Recruitment in 2016 (MCS8)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.

What happens when you send prospective students an email with the subject line “Mike’s an Idiot," linked to an "un-marketing" video? How do you build an audience of 4,000 in nine months on Snapchat, on a campus with only 1,200 students? Why do millennials love dashcam videos and what happens when you put your baseball team in a van? Can movie trailers double as recruitment videos? Get answers to these questions and more at our session. Last year we said, "go bold, or go home’." This year? We went even bolder and saw huge returns on the risk. Hear from both the marketing and the enrollment sides of the team about why partnering together and taking bigger risks is working well for Beloit. We’ll even share details on why we plan to send blank postcards in 2017. Just kidding. Maybe.

Defeating Content Zombies: What “The Walking Dead” Taught Me About Web Governance (MCS9)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 10:45 - 11:30 a.m.

We all know that our institutions need web governance, yet the road to this utopia always appears fraught with zombies. But without web governance, zombie content will continue to consume our site’s usability, travellers may be mislead by outdated information, and a culture of malaise keeps our sites from moving forward. This presentation will glean insights from cult hit “The Walking Dead” -- and from SUNY Oswego’s massive web redevelopment project -- to show that the journey to web governance is not so scary after all. Disclaimer: Knowledge of “The Walking Dead” is useful but not required; graphic violence is not anticipated; no humans or animals were harmed in the making of this presentation.

Snapchat, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Snap (MCS10)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

"Anything invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things.” -- Douglas Adams Let's say you are in charge of your institution's social media presence and strategy, but you've tried and failed several times to come to grips with the fastest growing platform among people under the age of 25. Your students and prospective students, in other words. If this sounds like you, then hello. I'm old, too. It's nice to meet you. In this presentation, we will walk together hand-in-hand through the sometimes mystifying Snapchat interface, we will discuss the features of the app that differentiate it from other social platforms, and will look at some examples of how universities and colleges are using Snapchat to connect with their students and prospective students. And if you are under 35 and this all makes total sense to you, you'll at least get a laugh.

Words. Words. Words: How to Write Sizzling Content (MCS11)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 3:00 - 3:45 p.m.

We talk about content. A LOT. But what about the actual words? This practical session is all about finessing your wordsmith skills and adding sizzle to your sentences, no matter what the medium. OK. So you weren’t an English major. You might not recall the terms, but you know when a headline is catchy or a story is compelling—we’ll look at the actual language and explore why that writing sounds so darn good. We will explore some tried and true literary elements and journalistic techniques that make content pop—repetition, alliteration, those sorts of things. Finally, we’ll talk about those sensory details that connect people to content. Also, we’ll explore why brevity rules – how you can make that stuffy report of a webpage into a lively, user-geared paragraph. And how you can turn that stuffy paragraph into a compelling sentence. In all, this session--inspired by a pre-conference workshop of the same name last year--will help you, no matter what your skill level, become a better writer and self-editor for any medium.

Is This Hashtag Really Necessary? – Taking the Plunge into Twitter Chats (MCS12)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

The Twitter Chat, or any internet “ask me anything” event, can be a dangerous proposition. What starts out well intentioned can go south in a huge hurry. Just ask Citibank, the CEO of REI, or any GOP presidential candidate. Then why would any higher ed institution want to expose their leadership to such a potential pratfall? Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a direct connection to your audiences, and gets better attendance and broader reach than any forum held in a campus auditorium. When properly executed, a Twitter chat can generate excellent results for institutions of all sizes. This presentation will discuss lessons learned from The College at Brockport’s first ever presidential Twitter chat in November of 2015, using the hashtag #bportprezchat. It will explore what went right, what went wrong, and what could be improved. It will also provide tips for helping you prep for your own Twitter chat, so you can communicate more directly with your audiences.