Continental Ballroom, Mezzanine Level
It is increasingly difficult to find an American college or university that has not adopted one or more social media tools. However, while the media has changed, the mechanics of one-way communication have not. Many institutions see Twitter as little more than an additional broadcast channel, and Facebook as a third-party repository (or replacement) for the exact same content provided on their official school site. And what’s so social about that? At Ithaca College we took a somewhat different approach. We realized our audiences — prospective students; parents; currents students, staff, and faculty; alumni — wanted to engage IC, not just listen to us drone. We used social media to reach out, to listen, to gauge opinions about the College, and to share the stories and ideas that make Ithaca unique. People have responded to the unique voice of IC on social media, one they recognize as distinct and personal. The bulk of this presentation will focus on Ithaca’s success in social media, and how finding the iconic voice of your institution will help you better engage and inspire the people you want to reach. Adapting what has been learned at IC to the University of New Orleans (an under-funded public university newly introduced to the world of competitive higher ed marketing by Hurricane Katrina) has offered a very different set of challenges. The final portion of the presentation will concentrate on building from scratch the voice of an institution with an as-yet-undefined new identity.
Jake Daniel has worked with social media for over ten years, beginning with the groundbreaking Bolt.com during the halcyon days of Web 1.0. He has spent the past eight years helping to shape the Ithaca College brand, and promoting the College beyond the reach of traditional media. In August 2010 he became the first director of web strategy for the University of New Orleans. He plans to work in social media until something comes along in a holding midfield role with his beloved Celtic F.C.