This school year is already shaping up to look like no other. With most campuses offering virtual classes or limited capacity in-person learning, universities will need to get creative in how they keep traditions alive and engage their students, faculty, and alumni.
We put together a variety of ideas to help engage the student body and make the virtual experience as real as possible. We know every department on campus can operate a little differently, so we put together specific examples for each one.
Without campus visits and in-person tours, schools will need to look into digital recruitment methods and tap into other available resources to reach new, existing, and potential students.
To aid in recruitment efforts, create a social media program that promotes existing and committed incoming students to share, and use that content as an integral part of your strategy. The more prospective students see others commit and share their excitement, the more they’ll be inclined to commit and share themselves. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa implements this concept tactfully on its main Admissions page.
While reimagining campus tours in the new virtual world we live in, it’s important to make the experience as interactive as it would be in person. Opening up the tour to questions from Twitter or live comments enables this interaction and creates an engaging atmosphere.
Events & Campus Programming
As freshmen begin their college careers and students return to virtual campuses, find ways to keep school traditions alive, and foster a connected environment. As Lauren Teague phrased it in a previous Tagboard webinar, “the more that we become socially distanced, the more we need to stay socially together”.
Think about how to digitally recreate the traditions surrounding events like Welcome Week and Homecoming. Give students digital swag packs with things like branded backgrounds, wallpapers, gifs, and social post templates, to outfit their content across every social channel, and provide a place for them to connect with a clear call to action.
This digital student experience could live within your website using embedded content from Tagboard, or in a livestream environment that provides additional entertainment like musical performances or special guest speakers. Bring the social conversation to life on screen with a scrolling ticker during the show, or bring in live questions for your guest speaker off of social media.
However you plan to continue school traditions digitally, the Tagboard Production Suite will allow you to make it interactive and look polished and professional for the audience as it did for so many schools during commencement this past spring.
Alumni & Foundation
Alumni and donors want to stay involved however they can as well, so bring your typical alumni and fundraising events online, and give alumni a reason to engage and connect.
Giving Day’s for scholarships, COVID-19 support, or annual fundraising provide a great touchpoint for anyone connected to your school. Create a central digital hub to track the progress of your fundraising campaigns and encourage those you contribute to share with a Tweet Button or “I Donated” digital sticker. Use Tagboard Digital Experiences to help bring that content to life within your central hub.
Ohio University shifted its annual Giving Day to focus on giving back to the university community. To date, they raised over $246K for those affected by COVID-19.
Outside of fundraising campaigns, think about different ways to entertain and stay connected with your alumni. Stage a virtual reunion or career fair with a livestream of keynote speakers or performers outfitted with custom, professional graphics.
Marketing & Communications
As students eventually make their way back on campus, think about how you can foster a socially connected, but safe environment. Rotate safety and promotional graphics alongside social content from students and campus organizations on available digital signage.
Promote the school bookstore and encourage students to post photos of their new swag for discounts or giveaways. Incorporate that content into the bookstore’s website or digital displays to increase adoption and recognize those who participate.
While school will look different this year, the traditions and camaraderie shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle. Leverage cloud-based technology like Tagboard and the power of social media to keep your students and alumni informed and connected this school year.
Want to learn more or get started today? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Twitter @Tagboard.