10 Things We Learned from #SocialUofG Conference
Despite #StormAli and a Freshers’ flu epidemic sweeping through the university, 100 hardy UofG colleagues came together for a whole day dedicated to all things social media.
The programme line-up included a host of UofG speakers from College, School, & Service level, and we were also so lucky to have brilliant presenters from the Natives Group, Brand Scotland and the Universities of Sheffield, York St John and Oxford Brookes.
#SocialUofG aimed to celebrate brilliant social media work across the University, give colleagues the chance to meet and exchange ideas and knowledge, and be inspired by great work at UofG too.
Here’s what we learned:
1. Believe in something
Dave Musson, Editor in Chief of The Native and Lead Social Media Strategist of the Native Group, kicked off the conference with an inspiring keynote speech, which urged the audience to ‘Believe in Something’.
Dave argued that believing in something, including - better storytelling, making a difference, relevant video, taking a stand and yourself - will cut through the ‘white noise’ on social media to really engage your audience.
Or if all else fails, post ‘campus porn’!
“I have already taken some of Dave's advice - it was an empowering talk.”
- Audience Feedback
2. Keep it simple
Tash and Dan from UofG’s Social Media Team hosted a video workshop called ‘Video on the Go’ which culminated with short videos created by the participants. The aim was to break the stigma of always having to develop polished professional content. Sometimes it’s more effective to be topical and reactive: film on your phone, use embedded editing tools within the social media channel, post with a snappy caption and you’re golden!
3. Snapchat is dead
It’s official everyone, students have confirmed that Snapchat is dead. Our viewing numbers have dropped dramatically over the past six months and we are no longer using it as a primary way to communicate. With that being said our Instagram Stories have surged to the forefront and it’s eagerly and effectively filling that gap.
PS. Nobody watches Facebook Stories either.
4. It’s not all a bed of roses (despite what you told us Bon Jovi)
Social Media is brilliant and presents so many opportunities for universities, but of course there is a dark side to it too. Our academic panel who discussed the ways Twitter could help them and other academics achieve their teaching and research goals gave a refreshingly open and honest account of the positives and negatives of having a digital platform for their work. Unfortunately some academics or their areas of research do attract negative (in some cases horrendous) attention and it was important that they highlighted the issues with using social media too. It also raised an important point that as Universities we should be doing more to help protect colleagues using social media for their work and we will be reviewing our policies going forward for staff as well as students.
In a panel on ‘the social media juggle; Gemma Gillespie from the UofG Alumni team spoke about their mission of WHAM – winning hearts and minds. By sharing nostalgic posts of campus and heart-warming stories from graduates and students, she really tries to engage with her audience and create a sense of community on the alumni social channels.
6. Podcasting is the new black
It’s something we’ve known for a while but – podcasting is definitely an under-utilised tool for HEIs and one we will doing more with at UofG. The audio King (and our keynote) Dave Musson led an unconference topic on podcasting, allowing the group to discuss all the opportunities as well as practical tips to host podcasts. Plans are already afoot with colleagues working on podcasts to link alumni with careers and current students. And we are certainly looking at how we could use podcasts to profile our research and student/campus experience, amongst many other things! Watch (listen) to this space.
7. Building a community
The day showed us just how important it is to get people doing social media across the University in a room, share ideas and knowledge with one another and simply connect! For some colleagues, they are working on social media in isolation and it’s important for everyone to feel part of the wider Social Media/Communications #TeamUofG.
“As a lone comms person working in a research centre, the network and activities that you organise are genuinely the only real connection I feel with the rest of the University comms community. It really is invaluable for me and this conference proved that yet again.”
- Audience Feedback
8. Face to face is the best way to communicate
Letting the delegates set the agenda for a session can be daunting, but it worked a treat. The ‘Unconference’ portion of #SocialUofG proved to be a success as it allowed everyone to talk about a specific topic or challenge they were facing with like minded people. Proving that sometimes all it takes is to put your phones and technology away and have a good chat.
9. Six and a half minutes is plenty
Our final session of the day consisted of five fast-paced PechaKucha presentations. Each speaker had 20 slides and just 20 seconds to speak about each slide. The speakers showcased their ‘Awesome Social Media Campaign’ – Aisha’s Letter, Scotland is Now, Everyday Superheroes, Team UofG and #helloBrookes.
In such a short time, all the presenters managed to sum up their campaigns, how they executed them and the response they received, as well as keeping the audience engaged after a day packed full of talks and workshops. It goes to show that sometimes less is more.
“A great way to keep us all engaged until the end of the event.”
- Audience Feedback
10. Storm Ali
Contrary to popular opinion us Social Media folk are a hardy bunch, not even a raging storm outside can keep us down! Some of us embraced the opportunity of a trending #StormAli to create content.