ASUC Student Union Social Media Development
The ASUC Student Union went under a major rebranding which included a new mission statement, strategic position, visual identity, and more. My responsibility was to develop a social media strategy for the brand which included: creating a new voice and tone that reflected the brand, create new accounts for the Student Union, unite the department accounts that already existed, and create a posting strategy to build awareness and followers.
Below is a visual example of the landscape of the Student Union's social media. The ASUC Student Union is the main organization and below it, connected with solid lines, are the departments that fall underneath the umbrella of the organization. The dotted lines represent the partnerships that played an important role in cross promotions.
Voice and Tone
With such a lively brand, the ASUC Student Union’s voice is just as invigorated. We talk with positivity, pride, and we keep our messaging straightforward. Since student are one of our key audiences, we make sure that we talk to them in their lingo (but tbh, we had to Google what 'tbh' meant). As an organization that supports the co-curricular experience for students, we are here to remind them to explore their passions, try something new, and to have fun along the way. Humor is one of the key assets we use in our voice. We love to use a good pun, personify the campus squirrels and enjoy pointing out moments that are #justberkeleythings.
This is an excerpt from the guide for our voice and tone. We developed our voice by taking key elements from our values, mission statement, and strategic positioning. Below is an example of two different ways to approach content.
High quality Visuals
A picture says 1000 words and when you only have 140 characters, you need all the extra letters you can get. Social media followers are no longer fooled with stock images—they want real photos of products, locations, and experiences that are provided. Ideally, they want to be able to imagine themselves in the photo and it's always a victory when a comment on a post is, "FOMO." Below are a few examples of photos we've posted. While the photos can be paired with copy to tell a deeper story, the key element of our photography is that it tells a story on its own. The photos are lively, emotionally charged, and are a peak into the co-curricular lives of the students of UC Berkeley.
There are millions of ways to caption a photo but the goal of social media marketing is to convey the personality of your brand and to connect with your audience on a deeper level. The most genuine way to connect with your audience is with storytelling and emotion. Avoid 'sales-like pitches' and be transparent with your followers. We found that there was a disconnect when full-time staff wrote content for the student demographic. Our greatest success came from employing student staff to generate content for the posts. This allowed true dialogue to occur. We encouraged the students to use trending hashtags, create memes (mostly of squirrels), and use pop culture references because we wanted students to know that we understood them and we were there to support them. Below are example posts that illustrate our voice and tone depending on the type of content and message being conveyed.
Scheduling & Consistency
When there isn't a dedicated staff member or department allotted for social media marketing, what usually happens is posts are made when it's convenient. Inconsistent postings affects social media algorithms and doesn't optimize the platform. We made it a priority to post consistently in order to get baseline data to develop a scheduling strategy. We used 12pm-4pm as our timeframe to post our content and started with once a day. We found that for promotional content and filler information, that timeframe was successful. However, if there was more newsworthy information, posting it at real-time, was also successful. This meant we could have a large reach at 1pm and at also 9pm. We did a few experiments with other platforms. We found that Instagram was successful from 1-3pm and also 7-9pm. We found that Facebook posts on Friday's after 3pm had lower engagement. We didn't post on weekends unless it was newsworthy. For our smaller department accounts that had more niche markets like the Berkeley Art Studio, we posted every other day on the Facebook and every day on the Instagram. We actually saw a higher engagement when we scaled back on Facebook postings. It also allowed us to focus on stronger but less frequent content.
The underlining success to our social media strategy is the team we created to make it all happen. The student interns are the bread and butter of the social media experience. They are aggregating the data, looking at trends, and are aware of all the happenings on the Berkeley campus. They then are responsible for creating the content that is posted on the page. While a decent percentage of the posts are for marketing Student Union events and cross promoting our partners, the social media student assistants are responsible for tailoring the content so that it not only conveys the voice and tone of the Student Union but also relates to their peers. This allows for better dialogue and also keep our account relevant and current. The social media students work with our graphic design and photography student interns when they need imagery for posts. Support is provided along the way and all content goes through a final review, however, this process allows for more accountability and the students also feel more ownership of the platform. It also creates a more collaborative environment.
Every month, the student intern and their supervisor sit down together and go over monthly analytic reports. The student is provided a list of vanity metrics they need to obtain from the last month's data but there are also more open ended critical thinking questions that are discussed in order to strategize on how to improve the platform. These monthly check-ins became vital in growing the accounts because trends were more easily identified, issues were talked through, and suggestions were made for the future months. An example of a trend we noticed was low reach and engagement during midterm/finals week. As a staff member, I noticed the low data trend but didn't correlate it with the time of the semester for students. Sitting down with multiple perspectives allowed better understanding of the data when multiple variables were involved.