Alumni engagement is measured through sustained interest, involvement and/or investment in alma mater. Social media presents an opportunity to engage with alumni with low stakes and establish cross-generational connections through shared experience.
The association’s goal was simple: increase engagement on Instagram. This idea was successful because we focused on the why – why would an OHIO alum care to post about us, tag us, or engage with our content? The answer for me was Homecoming. The annual celebration at OHIO is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Bobcats show up by the thousands, a little bit for football, but mostly because of the way they feel when they are back on campus. The energy is palpable, the memories are visceral, and of course, the drinks are flowing.
I knew that if we could find a way to translate that experience even slightly to our online audiences, they would be ecstatic to go back into a Bobcat state of mind and feel part of the party.
Inspired by Ernest Hemmingway’s six-word story, the #OHIO6Words instagram campaign called for participants to share their own six-word story on Instagram, coupled with an image that represented their OHIO experience. Winners were selected each day of Homecoming Week to be featured on the main @OHIOAlumni Instagram channel and were mailed various Bobcat swag for their engagement.
The outcomes far exceeded engagement goals, and received international recognition from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). It received the Silver Award in the category ‘Best Uses of Social Media for Alumni Relations,’ which recognizes innovative uses of new media by educational institutions across the globe.
Role call: Concept development by Katrina Heilmeier, Kate Erlewine and Hailee Tavoian. Campaign writing by Hailee Tavoian. Social media deployment by Kate Erlewine. In-person displays by Katrina Heilmeier.