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The Power of Social Media Content Curation

University campuses are exciting places and in many cases university communities extend well beyond a campus, with students and alumni living and traveling globally. Even within different programs your stakeholders are having incredibly different experiences – like the Executive MBA student traveling to campus from their home in Mexico City, the full-time MBA student launching a new company with a friend in a tucked away classroom, or even the alumni who now runs a global corporation coming back to campus to have a pint at the student pub.

So how do you capture this energy, the incredible experiences, and showcase what makes your institution, programs, and culture unique? Through the photos and videos your stakeholders are capturing and sharing across social media.

Social media has become the living breathing expression of your brand. Increasingly students, faculty, and alumni are sharing their experiences through photos and videos in real-time on social media. In fact, photo and video sharing now dominate social media – everyday on Facebook over 300 million photos are uploaded, even on smaller niche apps like Instagram, users upload 5 million photos per day and “like” 575 photos every second.

A recent report “Photos and Videos as Social Currency Online” from The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project revealed the following about the 18-29 demographic:

  • 69% of internet users post photos or videos they create online
  • 27% of internet users use Instagram (camera iPhone app/social network)
  • 5% users are using Tumblr (micro-blog) to curate content

In order to stay relevant and competitive on social media, institutions need to respond and put photo and video curation at the center of their social media strategies. The institutions that showcase the distinct attributes of their program, culture, and experience through photos and videos across platforms will be more competitive and better positioned to take advantage of substantial opportunities. If strategically managed your social media pages can significantly impact and support recruiting, alumni relations, development, brand perception, and brand awareness across your institution.

Some institutions are already successfully using dedicated websites like Tumblr to showcase their student experience and culture by posting user submitted photos. Here are some powerful examples of curated content.

Northwestern University:

Marquette University:

University of South Florida:

The University of Michigan Department of Engineering:

So where do you start?

Make it easy to participate: Create a funnel to capture content from your stakeholders and encourage participation at student, alumni, and other campus events. Allow anyone across the university community to submit photos and videos through a page on your website or through email.

Discover and gather content from a variety of people and platforms: A lot of the best content needs to be discovered on social media, so use a monitoring platform to discover and gather brand mentions, images, and videos from across platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs).

Organize your content: In order to showcase the many dimensions of your unique brand, programs, and culture, organize all content logically – by program, class, event, and location. All photos and videos should be tagged by common keywords, so users can quickly search and find relevant content.