We wanted to use the first week of The Native’s life to set the standard for how we mean to go on – a tonne of useful, interesting and inspiring content. And that’s what we’ve done, with a week of panels made up of marketers, thought leaders and students all offering their views on social media – what went down in 2017 and what they expect to see this year. To kick things off, we have our panel of in-house University marketers.
This panel will bring you learning and insight from five UK institutions. You’ll find links to each individual panel member’s thoughts below, but I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our panel members and pick out some of the big headlines.
So, in alphabetical order of their institution, let me introduce you to the panel…
University of Cambridge – Barney Brown, Head of Digital Communications
Barney’s piece offers a fascinating insight into what it’s like looking after social media for one of the sector’s biggest and most-recognised names.
Barney talks about protecting staff and students online, wanting to do more on YouTube – a space where Cambridge students are already making an impact – and probably doing less with Snapchat.
“As with all of our social media channels, we tend to start our presence on them in a quiet state without too much fanfare. This is to let us settle into the rhythm of the channel and ascertain how much effort is required to keep it running. If it feels like we’ve got the time to keep a channel running, and the metrics coming out of it show its worth it, we kick things up a notch. With Snapchat, we never got beyond the quiet stage.”
Loughborough University – the entire marketing team
You’ve probably seen some of their brilliant and award-winning campaigns, so it’s a real treat to have the entire marketing squad from Loughborough University on our panel.
The East Midlands crew look at the battle between Instagram and Snapchat, ponder how to stay relevant to their audiences and make a stirring defence of Facebook.
“Facebook is alive and kicking with our audiences; everyone checks Facebook, even if they say they don’t. We have to be nimble, keeping our ear to the ground with what Facebook is prioritising at that current moment to maximise reach. The massive power of the share is clear on Facebook, so it’s about creating content that makes people want to share with those that matter to them. What can we offer our audiences that’s so important, they just can’t ignore it?”
Newcastle University – Matt Horne, Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager
He might share a name with a famous actor and former New Zealand cricketer, but the Matt Horne you really need to following is the one creating all kinds of awesome digital content in the North East of England.
Matt looks at the potential of Snapchat as an advertising platform, explains how he used Stories to test the viability of some content and goes in on organic reach, and it’s continued decline.
“Facebook’s organic reach was a challenge as things changed so quickly in 2017. One minute one tactic worked, the next it was back to square one…but you’d be hard-pressed to find a page that didn’t see their reach throttled.”
Staffordshire University – Laura Allen, Digital Communications Officer
Considering 2017 was the year Staffordshire University made clearing offers via Snapchat and saw its audience on that channel increase tenfold, it’s no surprise that Laura’s piece has plenty of interesting bits about the home of ephemeral content.
But that’s not all; she also covers what her team is doing to get better organic engagement, what Instagram has proved something of a letdown and how to make Stories relevant.
“They are time-consuming and it’s a challenge to always be in the right place at the right time. We’ve addressed this by providing a behind-the-scenes look of different areas across the University with takeovers – these include student, accommodation and clubs and societies takeovers. We don’t want to be invasive in a user’s stories, so we want the faces of our stories to be our audience’s peers. This has grown our content on stories, and we’ll continue to do this in the year ahead.”
Swansea University – Kenon Man, Head of Digital Marketing
As far as I know, Kenon is the only member of any of this week’s panels who is the owner of a Blue Peter badge – but that’s not the only reason we got him involved! He also really knows his stuff.
In his piece, Kenon talks wanting to balance giving it a go with having a purpose, the naivetéy of ignoring Facebook and offers some of Swansea’s plans to enter the world of podcasting.
“We are currently looking to create podcasts, we have started recording interviews discussing student life and applying for courses and posting them on Soundcloud. It is a channel that I would like to introduce to support research and business marketing.”