Case studies

In defence of campus porn

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

If you’re a University marketer, chances are you’ve probably posted a bit of campus porn on your social media channels at some point. And, do you know what? It’s fine.

In fact, I reckon you should post more!

Now, if you’re reading this thinking ‘what the hell is campus porn?’ and worrying that this article will set off the NSFW flashing red light in your IT department’s secret bunker…fear not.

Campus porn is nowhere near as rude as it sounds, and is actually a legitimately good thing to post on your institution’s social media channels.

In case you hadn’t already worked it out, campus porn is simply content that makes your campus look sexy. It’s your wonderful buildings, your glorious grounds and basically anything that will make someone with any sort of connection to your institute pull this face —> 😍

The beauty of campus porn is that it’s really easy to make – the subject is literally on your doorstep – and your audiences will love it. In a world where we all need to do everything we can to stay in people’s timelines, campus porn can help.

What makes good campus porn?

In my experience, the foundations for great campus porn come down to the three Ws.

No, not the world wide web. In this case, the Ws stand for weather, wildlife and wow factor.

For some reason, people love seeing pictures and video of their campus in any kind of weather. Bright sunshine? Check. A quick fire hailstorm? You bet. Actual, settling snow? Clear your diary and prepare for the most engagement you’ve ever had.

They also love wildlife. Whether it’s ducks, squirrels or just a mangy cat – capture them on camera and share them.

Lastly, the wow factor. That’s really about presentation. This is porn after all, so make it look great. Get a reaction.

All three Ws are ticked in this simple, but effective bit of campus porn from the University of Warwick

Isn’t it just fluff?

No, not at all! It might feel like a cheap way to get likes, but if you’re giving your audience content they love, what’s the problem?

And, more than that, think about students who might not have been able to make one of your Open Days – international students for example. Campus porn can show off what your campus looks like and give them a real sense of where they might soon be calling home.

On top of that, your content strategy shouldn’t just be about research dissemination and big important news; I’d argue that, to grow an audience that is engaged and interested, you should be prioritising content that does just that. Make your day-to-day content engaging, social, human, fluffier stuff and earn the right to throw in some corporate stuff now and then.

Also, campus porn is a great way to show off your campus and have some pride in your institution. This will really resonate with your audiences – whether it’s current students, prospective students or alumni…they’ll love it.

So, how can I use campus porn?

First of all, use it to simply show off. Show off your campus. Show off your buildings. Show off how awesome your space is.

Like this video from the University of Oxford…

You can also make some user-generated campus porn. Loads of institutions have started doing this, but one of my favourites is the #UofGAutumn campaign that the University of Glasgow runs every year.

Just check out that hashtag – a load of amazing content and a campaign that isn’t simply driven by the central University account.

Not only that, don’t those pictures make you just want to head up to Glasgow and start exploring?

You can even use campus porn for storytelling – campaigns like the University of Manchester’s photo a day project in 2016 made great use of campus porn to show off daily life there for an entire year.

The fact that this was all user-generated made it, in my mind anyway, even better.

OK, I’m sold

Great! Go forth and make some beautiful campus porn. Do not be ashamed or shy – it’s really quite a wonderful thing.

Plus, everyone’s doing it, so you wouldn’t want to be missing out…would you?

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