Social Media: Building Community Via Your Community

An interesting strategy.

January 12, 2014

Some of my favorite higher education social media accounts are the ones where a new "host" is selected weekly as the designated tweeter (or instagrammer). These accounts aren't necessarily "crowdsourced" in the traditional sense. It's more like picking a single individual from the crowd and letting them have the access codes to your Twitter or Instagram accounts for a period of time. The content from these community-member-generated accounts are generally quite interesting as each person brings a unique voice to their turn. There are several of these types of accounts that are being used by schools to feature alumni, current students, faculty, and staff from a wide array of academic/administrative areas. Here are four social media accounts that utilize this community-generating-community strategy:

St. Lawrence University's Instagram account (herewegosaints) features a different student Instagram photographer each week. The account has an impressive 1,009 followers and generates a lot of "likes." Each student who has had a turn taking pictures for the account has added their own twist on a variety of photographs.

George Mason University's primary Twitter account is anything but boring. GeorgeMasonU features a "new Patriot every week." GMU has given one of their primary communications channels to their community. I haven't seen a lot of schools that have been this bold with their social media channels.

Syracuse University's Career Services Office has been a great place to find awesome examples of social media for quite some time. Their WorkingOrange Twitter account features job-related tweets from Syracuse University alumni. Alumni share "details of their work days & answer questions [about their jobs/careers]."

I've been following the University of Wisconsin System UWpowersMe Twitter account for quite a while. Each week, a student, alumni, faculty, or staff member from one of the University of Wisconsin System schools tweets about their experience at their respective campus.

One of my favorite things about these types of accounts is that you never know what you're going to get. Each person brings their own unique voice to their turn at the account. Whether it's a silly photograph or a poignant thought about a campus experience, I love the authenticity that is offered up via this type of social media strategy. Kudos to the four schools mentioned above. You're doing a great job.

Are you using this type of social media strategy at your campus? Feel free to share your examples in the comments section below.


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