Our social media baby has finally arrived: Hamilton College’s ‘The Scroll’ is a platform born of love, research, cold sweats and lots and lots of discussion. Still in beta testing, we’re adding in the last bits of functionality but released this on campus, to alums and the broader social media community today.
Not only a fun, interactive way to find a variety of conversations at once, The Scroll was the answer to our top five questions about social media use and authentic branding of our institution:
1. Many in our audience do not use Social Media/Twitter/Facebook/Etc. Or do they?
Perhaps the issue is that our audience never really knew they could engage with us in this way? The Scroll aims to be a solution: pull together all of the valuable conversations about our institution from a variety of platforms and audiences and allow them to be shared back out via the platform of the user’s choice. Even if you are not a social media user, like some of our older alumni, now, you can see the conversations as they happen and choose to participate or spectate as you so desire. Instead of creating a one time campaign, The Scroll can be used over and over again, highlighting daily and trending content, and adding in new accounts as they become available. It is platform agnostic, although primarily fed via Twitter (as we work out the inevitable, and ubiquitous Facebook and Tumblr kinks).
2. Departmental and community accounts fade/die.
While it may be easy to set up a Facebook or Twitter account, we all know that the difficulty lies in upkeep and maintaining your relevancy. Now, in order to be highlighted on The Scroll, accounts need to stay on top of their game to produce relevant and timely content. Competition among groups and accounts will hopefully sustain the content influx, along with targeted social media campaigns, especially those from events. Organic content trumps all, and the main content goal of The Scroll is authentic,transparent content, live from our students, alumni and community.
3. Our audience, if it does use social, doesn’t connect with us this way. Do they?
Beyond creation of accounts, we need to market them. We recently launched a companion campaign ‘Share & Engage’ to fully flesh out the reasoning behind projects like The Scroll: we invite our audience to share their thoughts, engage in a dialog with us and to push around and create content that is relevant to their individual Hamilton experience. By piecing these together, we create the real and total Hamiltonian experience Other projects in this include our social media directory, adding comment and sharing functionality to our news stories, a newly updated and social media inclusive alumni directory and an interactive map project.
4. There isn’t that much content being shared about us. Is there?
By creating a fire-hose of social media content, funneled from campus and alumni community accounts and tags, we’re able to unearth conversations that may have previously fallen through the cracks. By showcasing this content to our communities, we allow them greater opportunities to engage in discussions, reconnect with friends & faculty or just share funny ideas and memes. This will need to be maintained, but we’re already creating creative content campaigns where ever and whenever we can, built with alumni and student feedback. By giving ownership to our audience in many ways, we’re hoping to make this truly their platform.
5. It’s difficult to follow a conversation with multiple people, on multiple platforms in social media.
The hope is that The Scroll brings together all of the content that we may have not seen previously. Conversations on similar topics in a variety of places can now live together and a broader picture painted. We also allow for a variety of viewpoints so that the true nature of life at Hamilton can come through. As we began to see our reliance on a platform like Storify grow, we decided to try our hand at taking on something similar in-house.
It remains to be seen how The Scroll will be accepted and used, but ultimately it was a fun, calculated risk to take. We’re hoping conversations grow because of it and that our audience feels more in touch with the place that they call, have called or will call, home.