eduWeb higher education marketing conference Fri, 26 Feb 2021 16:51:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 eduWeb 32 32 Community Corner: February 2021 Fri, 26 Feb 2021 08:00:30 +0000 Graphic showing Jason Boucher in a face mask and the eduWeb logo and text Community Corner with Jason Boucher

Welcome to the eduWeb Community Corner, where we talk directly to those in the higher education community doing great things! I’m your host, Jason Boucher. This month, for our inaugural segment, we chatted with Jamie Lewis. Jamie is a social media coordinator at the University of Georgia. We discussed COVID testing and how social media, along with student ambassadors, have helped increase testing on campus. 

Photo of Jamie LewisJason: How has COVID affected the in-person classes and activities at the University of Georgia this academic year?

Jamie: Classes are currently offered in a mix of in-person (with social distancing and masks), hybrid and online formats. All on-campus classes and activities require social distancing measures that are currently in place following CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health guidance. Per the University System of Georgia, all individuals must wear a face covering in campus buildings.

Jason: Tell us about your digital campaign to help make students aware of COVID and how they can get tested on campus.

Jamie: During the fall semester, our COVID surveillance testing program exclusively used the nasal swab test, alongside a few pop-up testing sites that used a saliva-based test that required 30 minutes of fasting prior to testing. This spring, we have moved to a new saliva-based testing model developed by our College of Veterinary Medicine, which does not have the same fasting limitations as the previous version and requires less saliva. We knew these changes would need to be communicated to the campus community, particularly to students, as the semester kicked off and wanted to make sure everyone knew what to expect when walking into surveillance testing, especially since we’d be utilizing a new testing process. We do not currently mandate COVID testing and knew that many found the nasal swab invasive, which may have discouraged them from participating in testing in the fall, so it was our hope that moving to the new saliva-based test would encourage more people to participate. 

Jason: What tools and platforms did you use to reach and educate students?

Jamie: With the student audience in mind as our primary target, we decided to create a short, informational video following a student through the new testing process, which was rolled at the start of the semester. The video was shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (specifically IGTV) and TikTok.

Jason: Do you have student interns that assist with the campaign and its content?

Jamie: Our video team did not use interns to create or produce the video, but we did utilize a student named Eshan, one of our Digital Dawgs (our social media ambassador program), as the “talent” in the video. We often turn to our Digital Dawgs and offer them chances to volunteer to be in our videos as a perk of the program. Eshan is well-liked among his peers and we knew he’d bring good energy to the video and his peers would enjoy seeing a familiar face.

Jason: Was the campaign successful?

Jamie: Yes! Across the four platforms where we’ve shared the video, views are around 48,000 with the most views (19.3k) on [Instagram] IGTV. Feedback on the video was overwhelmingly positive, which stood out in contrast to some of the other COVID related content we have shared this year. All in all, we were really pleased with the final video and its reception across our social media platforms. 

Jason: How will you keep this relevant as the spring semester continues?

Jamie: Unless the testing process changes at any point during the semester, which I don’t anticipate, we’ll continue to re-up this video periodically (primarily on Instagram Stories and Twitter) to continue encouraging the campus community to sign up for and participate in COVID surveillance testing. 

– – –


Jamie Lewis is a social media coordinator at the University of Georgia working in the Division of Marketing and Communications. She joined the team in April 2018 after 4 years with the Division of Development and Alumni Relations. As social media coordinator, Jamie helps manage the university’s flagship social accounts, oversees a team of 30 student social media ambassadors, and assists with issues of crisis management. You can find her tweeting about young adult books, cats, Adam Driver, and sometimes even higher education, at @jlew8


Jason Boucher is the director of social media and digital content strategist at The University of New Hampshire. Jason has been involved with eduWeb since 2015 as a track chair, marketing & communications volunteer, and he’s also involved with community engagement. His free time is taken up by his weekly radio show, walks in the woods, and taking orders from his cats. 

EduWebinar Recap: Temperature Rising: A robust, collaborative digital communications project from Cal State Fullerton Tue, 26 Jan 2021 14:59:32 +0000 A screenshot of a website. A young black man stands in the center of a crowd with a closed fist raised in protest. Behind him is a large, diverse group of people including one protester who holds a cell phone. The copy on the image reads: “ Temperature Rising: CSUF Experts Examine Racism, Social Justice, and Police Reform Amid COVID-19.”

The Homepage of the Temperature Rising Microsite

As temperatures rose around topics of racial injustice in the nation and on college campuses, the Strategic Communications Team from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) knew that platitudes would serve little purpose. Beyond sharing a statement from their president or changing their profile picture as part of a social justice campaign, they sought to amplify diverse stories via a robust microsite that combined videos, photos from protests, animation, stock photography, and even historical archive footage. The team, comprised of Michael Mahi, Matthew Gush, Jillian Boyd, Christopher Min, and others, shared their project experience and lessons learned with the eduWeb community this January.

“A vehicle for change”

Matthew Gush, the Assistant Director of Digital Media at CSUF, attended protests in 2020 after work to capture the moment with his camera. He returned to campus moved to understand the anger but also reflect the diversity of the cross-section of individuals and communities coming together to protest the injustices that were happening.

CSUF Strategic Communications started brainstorming how to communicate this moment in time and provide content within context. Gush reflected, “We wanted, as a team, to connect this moment in history to CSUF. How do we take current issues and bring them home to Cal State Fullerton and lend our expertise? We wanted to reimagine this. Why don’t we take faculty experts and bring them into this conversation?”

CSUF sought to engage faculty experts to examine racism, social justice, and police reform, amid COVID-19. “ We knew we wanted to create a vehicle for change,” said Michael Mahi, the Senior Director of Digital Media at CSUF.

From Disparate Parts to Storytelling

For the initial round of interviews, CSUF Strategic Communications leveraged an initial list of faculty that included their media relations faculty experts. They then refocused this list after feedback from editorial teams and evolved other faculty experts as the conversation developed and interviews were conducted. The team started with designated questions, but even that evolved as the story took on a life of its own. 

As the team filmed professors via Zoom, the story began to unveil different areas of expertise and overlap between topics such as police reform and criminal justice, public health, and social justice. As they amplified different voices, the team discovered different intersections of experience and facets that could be added to the microsite. “The result of this project is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Christopher Min, the Media Production Specialist at CSUF. “This draws people in and the narrative develops among disparate parts.”

Microsite Design

The microsite was built using a custom CSS. Video interviews led the narrative, supplemented with animations, visual elements, and photography. “The project was so wide and deepfrom bubonic plague to slavery, we had to raid public use historical archives and stock photography, then had to leverage continuity across platformsmicrosite, social media, “ Gush stated. 

A screenshot of a website with a header of the Roots of Racism. On the left hand side of the screen is copy that reads: Chapter 2 - The Roots of Racism. On the right hand side of the screen is a video that is a historical depiction of slavery.

Chapter 2 – The Roots of Racism – CSUF Temperature Rising Microsite highlights the roots of racism with historical context and content.

With its chapter book design, the microsite feels almost like a digital textbook. Each chapter has a central topic relevant to the overall theme. Chapter 1 examines pandemics throughout history. Chapter 2 focuses on roots of racism in the United States, while chapter 3 investigates citizen journalism and body cam footage. Chapter 4 reflects on the protest movement. Each chapter of the microsite leverages text, animated graphics, video content, animations and photos taken from protests in 2020, and stock as well as historical photographs.

To add value for their audience and educate the community, the team included an extensive list of resources as part of the microsite design to share more campus-based, academic, and source material.

A black and white globe is in the center of the screen against a black backdrop. This is an animated visual representation of the spread of coronavirus and the inequities of confirmed cases by country globally. The number of cases for each country is called out in red text.

An animated, visual representation of the inequities of the coronavirus reflecting confirmed cases by country, globally.

From Planning to Production

The pandemic posed a hurdle to content development and creation. Creatively, it was difficult to use Zoom interviews with the platform’s technological limitations. Despite this, CSF was able to leverage different resources to offset the limitations of the Zoom-produced collateral. One take away for the team: When conducted with intent, Zoom interviews can be poignant and impactful, and can position faculty experts in a great, personal light.

Social Media Integration 

Once the microsite was complete with robust resources, Jillian Boyd, the Social Media Specialist at CSUF, was tasked with strategically releasing this content across CSUF social media platforms. Jillian asked herself, “How do we share content when our users are exhausted and we want to optimize content?” CSUF leveraged a dynamic social media strategy by posting a chapter every other day for three weeks, releasing 5 chapters in that time. 

Social collateral included looped 15-second teaser videos for each chapter shared, with full length video posted on Instagram and Vimeo. “We tried to optimize this across social media at every single stop, recognizing the social media platform, and leading people back to the mission and values of our university focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion,” Boyd stated. 

The results speak for themselves: 70,000 impressions, 1,022 click-throughs to the microsite for the first chapter alone.

Planning for Discourse and Comments   

CSUF recognized the potential for discourse and diverging viewpoints on social media. They adopted a strategy to let the content speak for itself and monitor conversation within their community. “We recognized that these are polarizing issues. We want to ensure that in crafting these messages, [we are also] maintaining balance and holding space for discourse,” Gush stated. 

Additional Take-Aways and Lessons Learned 

  • Administrative Buy-In: “It starts with knowing your leadership. Don’t surprise them. They should know every development. We kept communication open.” from Michael Mah, Director, Senior Director of Digital Media. 
  • Be Open to the Evolution of a Project: “Where we started is very different from what manifested. Being open to the evolution of the project and being able to pivot the project was surprising and fascinating. This started as a photography project and really developed into a cohesive whole.” from Matthew Gush, Assistant Director of Digital Media. 
  • Evolve Your Storytelling and Content Acquisition: “Let the story tell you what it wants to be. When you make an editorial cut, there is a predatory component to content acquisition. Thinking through how you acquire content is important.” from Christopher Min, Media Production Specialist

What’s next for Cal State Fullerton? 

The microsite has been incorporated into on-campus workshops, on the main university website, and has been one of the most viewed news microsites created by the CSUF team. CSUF Human Resources even leveraged the resources provided by the microsite.

“This opened up a realm of storytelling for the digital team. This takes current, relevant subject matter and showcases our faculty in a new light. It showcased the work we do here, what our students get with their education, and how we can seek change together. We are working on more content to evolve the Temperature Rising microsite and continuing to learn from this project as we apply lessons learned.“ Mahi concluded. 

By Katy Spencer Johnson, EduWeb Summit Community Ambassador, Educator, Consultant, and Content Strategist

#eduWebinar Recap: Unprecedented Support During An Unprecedented Time Tue, 15 Dec 2020 15:40:38 +0000 2020 has upended our lives as we face the stress, anxieties and hardships that come with living through a pandemic. We transitioned to working from home, lost social support systems due to physical distancing and made more and more use of Zoom for everything from meetings to happy hours.

Students on college campuses, if they were able to return to them, found themselves in the middle of this uncharted territory as they navigated health and safety regulations that prevented them from living the “normal” college experience, and added pandemic stress to the usual anxieties of class projects, midterms, finals and grades.

Social media managers in higher ed had a front row view to their student’s feelings, often getting caught in the crossfire as the students let off steam with quick, angry tweets or memes critiquing their institutions. It left many of us sitting back and brainstorming new ways to connect with students and help allay their fears and worries.

Rebekah Tilley, Director of Communications at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, found a way to do so.



In October, she and her team used Instagram Stories to do a mental health check-in with their students asking simply, “How is your mental health?” Included with the question was a slider that allowed students to choose from 0 to 100. The goal wasn’t clicks or engagement—it was helping their students.

In that 24-hour period, Rebekah’s team responded to more than 100 students who rated their mental health poorly by offering to help make an appointment with a counselor, sharing mental health resources available on campus, and listening to their students’ stories.

Here are five key takeaways from that project as shared on the December 14 #eduWebinar:


  1. Make it your own

    The #HESM community is a great source of inspiration, whether it’s BYU’s Instagram stories addressing sexual assault resources on campus (which was one inspiration for Rebekah’s project) or Dartmouth’s COVID-related informational stories (which I screen shot frequently and which were the subject of April 2020’s #eduWebinar on Community Building in a Crisis), but we can’t just drag and drop other people’s projects onto our own social media accounts.Every one of our audiences is different and we must plan for their unique response to topics and execution.For Iowa, a focus on mental health has been baked into their strategy for years and Tippie College of Business even has a mental health psychologist on staff for enrolled business students. This mental health check-in aligned with their audience who already trust the accounts as engaged and invested in their mental health.

  2. Plan accordingly 

    As Rebekah said, “The best social media happens at the right time.” When deciding when to launch this project, the Iowa team made a calculated decision based on what they knew of normal semesters and their added insights of COVID stressors.October generally brings anxiety and worry for students as they face midterms with an increased workload due to studying and large projects being due. Midterms week also coincides with the usual turn to winter weather in Iowa as the days get cooler and nights get longer. While this can add to feelings of lethargy, during COVID it also means less time and activities spent safely outdoors with friends.The timing seemed ripe to check in with students and provide some much needed support during a long semester.

  3. Invest in social

    This is a two-pronged takeaway.Firstly, successful projects like these don’t happen overnight and they don’t happen in a vacuum. Iowa has a strong collaborative atmosphere with a focus on social media. They have spent years building trust amongst their audience on these platforms across the institution. As Rebekah said, “Day in, day out, week by week we do the work—why is it important? It’s for moments like this when you can step into a place and positively impact people’s lives.”Secondly, Rebekah has five student interns in her office that she uses as the “first and best” focus groups for ideas for social campaigns and projects. One of the interns actually came up with the mental health check-in and saw the whole project come to life!

    Don’t worry if you’re a team of one, though. While interns are a great sounding board for ideas, you also know your audience through and through and are spending the time becoming that trusted place for your students.

  4. Prepare for all scenarios

    Instagram Stories are ephemeral, but require hands on attention if you’re choosing to do an interactive story like this. Iowa sent more than 100 direct messages to students (and even one alumnus) who indicated that their mental health was at a zero on the slider. That takes time, energy and knowing that you have the right people in the room or on speed dial for any scenario.A student intern offered mental health resources during the initial outreach. While most responses were positive, a staff member stepped in for the responses that required supervision or immediate attention.Rebekah has suicide prevention training and knew who to turn to if anyone appeared to be in immediate crisis. She also sought answers to some more in-depth questions about mental health services for students who weren’t on campus for the semester and dialogued with people who had concerns about the semester more broadly.

  5. Manage expectations

    A project like this won’t succeed in a silo with an institutional account doing all of the heavy lifting. Your counseling center and campus psychologists should be looped in before launching to make sure they know you may be calling on them throughout the day with immediate concerns, and that you will be sending a lot of students their way to hopefully improve their mental health.The mental health professionals on your own campus can also help you navigate whether you need language regarding Informed Consent on a project like this.Similarly, while this project was a mental health check-in, Rebekah said to make it very clear that the Instagram account is not and should not be a crisis line. Most often, the social media managers responding to students are not trained to be crisis managers nor is it their job to be. What we CAN do is be a conduit to help connect students with resources that are already in place.

Liz Harter is the Social Media Manager at the University of Notre Dame.

Holding Social Media Space During A Pandemic Thu, 23 Apr 2020 18:17:18 +0000 communication

Across higher education, as Marketing professionals, in good times, we speak toward being genuine, being real, and communicating with transparency. In troubling times, even the most agile organization can find genuine, real, and transparent communication stunted and tentative. We search for the right words and open transparency for our communities of staff, students, and faculty; writing Marketing and Communications missives in a world of editorial by committee.

Instability, fear, uncertainty become part of our dialect even as we strive to avoid triggering words, voicing concerns suddenly challenging.

Now more than ever, social media, marketing, and communications should be brought to the table as a front line resource.

Let me be clear, your marketing and communication team has always been front line, holding space, fielding questions, working remotely on social media and across different technologies. We get the 2am questions about financial aid, the seemingly endless requests for free t-shirts, and the requests for help, connection, and campus services when someone is struggling.

How can you hold space, support your community, and impress upon your college the importance of social media during a pandemic?


Within your Organization

  • Create a Social Media Strategy and allow it to evolve alongside your Emergency Communications Plan.
  • Educate and Remind. Your Leadership may not understand the value of social media. They have HUGE, complex issues they are trying to solve. Frankly, they may have forgotten about your social media. Don’t take it personally. Remind them that social media, especially in light of a pandemic is a huge ally in combating misinformation, can be an asset navigating uncertain times, and smoothing a transition to remote learning.
    • We recommend the Campus Sonar Higher Education Industry Briefing — a weekly update on higher education and social media listening related to Coronavirus compiled by Campus Sonar. Provide an executive summary, don’t expect to hear back, but be ready to move when the organization is ready to move.
  • Guide virtually events and leverage your skillsets. Not every event will be virtual, of course. There will be growing pains and challenging conversations. Start with a shared vocabulary, ask questions, and make the best recommendations you can.
  • Above all, go forth with empathy and patience. We are all tired. This crisis is massive and ever changing. What was relevant as a communication is literally irrelevant with the next press conference or media update. As a social media strategist, digital marketer, you can only move as fast as your organization allows.


On Social

  • Keep Communicating but don’t contribute noise. This is a fine line we tread as Marketers even when we aren’t facing a global crisis. You want to be visible, be available, and provide value. Listen to your community, understand the tone and tenure of conversations, and then brainstorm ways in which you can help others, not only providing facts, figures, or campus updates. Do NOT contribute to the noise, tap into your cold email lists, or contacts providing support when they do not expect to or want to hear from you.
  • Pause your Marketing and review your communications plans with a lens of who is this helping, who may this social media post hurting. Tread carefully as you swing back into frequent social media updates. You do not want to launch a giving campaign when your community is facing job loss, food insecurity, and financial hardship.
  • Explore ways you can provide support if your organization allows you to do so. This is your chance to be human, to acknowledge the zeitgeist and to continue to educate, provide value, and be visible as a resource. You don’t have to go dark fully but you will want to employ sensitivity and transparency.
  • Don’t forget to empower your advocates. Your department staff are ready to do their jobs. Your students can help build content and provide context. They can help you uplift your community — tap into Student Services, Student Life, even Campus Security if you can to do some remote, social media content while employing social isolation tactics.
  • Find the Helpers. Mister Rogers Fans will recognize this sentiment but look for the people in your community who are at the heart of good stories. They will help you as a social media manager find the good and they will uplift your community.
  • Above all, go forth with empathy. Be human first, be the voice of your organization second. Soften your responses.

A pandemic is not business as usual. We now know this viscerally. While some of us work remote and others are asked to come to campus, remember that social media will continue to hold space for your community of staff, students, faculty, alumni, stakeholders, and even the towns in which we work and live. Stay safe, healthy, and engaged.

Build a Culture of Experimentation and Actionable Data Tue, 25 Feb 2020 21:45:08 +0000

Today’s marketing technology offers us access to vast swaths of data that can provide us with valuable insights into our audiences, campaign performance, and key opportunities to pursue. But all of this information is only useful if we know how to arrange, analyze, and act in accordance with the metrics we’re collecting; oftentimes, we struggle to determine what data points we need, how to examine them, and what story emerges once they’re arranged. If we want our work to be fueled by data-driven decisions, we need to know what we have and how to use it.

If this resonates with you, I invite you to join me for my Master Class at the 2020 eduWeb Digital Summit, held August 3 – 5 at the Snowbird Resort. This year’s course is designed to provide you with the resources you need to leverage your data in ways that make a real, measurable difference. In this interactive workshop, we’ll collaborate to create the paths that fuel a data-first mentality for our departments and teams. You’ll learn how to integrate experimentation into all of your campaigns, web designs, and segmented emails, and then you’ll utilize that data as the foundation for informed change. And along the way, we’ll use Google Data Studio to create dashboards so that everything you’re collecting is consumable and informs campus-wide efforts.

You’ll leave this Master Class with:

  • A clear vision of what experimentation is and how it can be integrated into our marketing and communications
  • Hands-on experience with Google Data Studio and how we connect it to our various data sources
  • Confidence in our ability to present the right data points to the right people in order to empower our institutions to make more informed decisions
  • A roadmap for implementing the data-centered mindset we need to transform our work and our teams

This Master Class is open to higher education marketers in all roles, at all levels (or those aspiring to higher ed marketing). No previous experience with Google Data Studio is required; you only need a Google account in order to participate. Want to join me? Register for the 2020 eduWeb Digital Summit; you’ll see the option to include our Master Class when you sign up. And if you’ve already registered, you can easily add the Master Class to your registration. Space is limited and this class will sell out, so don’t wait!

About our presenter: Will Patch is the Enrollment Marketing Leader at Niche, where he aids clients in building and implementing their enrollment strategies and digital outreach. He also shares insights and research on the Enrollment Insights blog, podcast, through webinars, and a monthly newsletter. Prior to joining Niche in the summer of 2019, he served Manchester University for 9 years in roles including Digital Strategist, Social Media Coordinator, and Associate Director for Admissions Operations. Outside of Niche, Will also coordinates the #EMChat community on Twitter, with weekly chats Thursdays at 9:00 PM Eastern.

Stop Holding Yourself Back: Building a Structure That Supports Your Marketing Technology Mon, 24 Feb 2020 22:16:30 +0000

In my day job, I work with schools to optimize their use of CRM technology. One of the key questions I ask my clients is how they will engage with the end-user experience, assess and approve requests to modify the system, and ensure that their institution is using their technology to its full potential. Far too often, the answer is, “We haven’t really thought about that.”

When we begin using new marketing tools, we’re generally focused on learning how various features work and what the system is capable of. But our technology is only as good as the processes that surround it, and we must guide and protect our tools and data with solid business practices. How do we ensure we aren’t getting in our own way in our use of enterprise marketing technology? We build a framework of governance that permeates everything.

Start with Your Stakeholders

To develop the policies and procedures that will serve as your foundation, begin by determining who needs to be in the room. I recommend that you create the appropriate committees to facilitate communication, collaboration, and ongoing training:

  • Frontline power users (representing the range of functional areas utilizing your technology) should meet weekly to discuss current challenges, raise up change requests, and be updated on revisions that have been implemented or are forthcoming.
  • Department heads should connect monthly to set priorities for the opportunities identified by your power users, assess how requests align with larger goals, determine the appropriate division of resources, and identify the broader impact that any changes will have.
  • Finally, divisional leadership should receive formal updates quarterly on how your technology is performing, whether there are opportunities that need a greater resource allocation, and the current priorities to optimize the system.

Equip Everyone

An organizational structure is essential, but from there, it needs to scale so that all users know how to execute on the plans you’ve created. Those at your institution who interface with your technology on any level need to be trained, supported, and heard. This manifests in a variety of ways:

  • Education: End-user training can’t just happen when you first implement or hire a new staff member; it needs to be embedded in your culture. Provide regular refreshers on your operations, and always reconnect with your team when things are modified. Ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of not just what is changing, but also how to engage with these changes.
  • Documentation: Document everything. All systemic processes need to be written down and accessible to those who need it. This means providing detailed instructions in some sort of shared drive or wiki, being as clear and detailed as possible. Not only will this serve as a valuable resource for those with whom you work, but it will create a solid foundation of business continuity.
  • Communication: It should go without saying, but for goodness sake, have open dialogue about how you use your marketing tools. Provide regular updates on decisions being made about your systems to ensure that “I didn’t know that had changed” isn’t a phrase used in your workplace. And on the other side, provide a space for all staff members to lift up their needs and ideas as well.

Prepare to Pivot

Finally, remember that the only constant is change, and you need to assess what works and what doesn’t. This means that your governance framework needs to include regular audits of your business processes and system. Create space to cast a critical eye on how work is done and how effectively it achieves the team’s objectives. Annually, host a larger conversation articulating what has changed over the past year, the biggest current challenges, and key priorities for the next year.

And know when to raise your hand and ask for help. If you find yourself at an impasse, reach out to your larger network of users at other schools. Identify if and when professional services are needed or whether a consultant may be best equipped to speak to your current situation. Leverage the external resources that exist in order to maximize what you have.


At its core, governance is a framework that allows for iterative, effective change. Your school has invested significant resources in the course of procuring your marketing technology, and that shouldn’t go to waste. When your school develops and adheres to a system that fosters dialogue and accountability, you’re creating an insurance policy against the need to correct bad business practices or poor system design down the road. No one wants to do unnecessary work, or face uncertainty regarding their tasks, or feel like they’re uninformed on how everything operates. So let your structure prevent these barriers from arising, then watch as your teams are able to work with the confidence and clarity that drives sustainable, meaningful progress.

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Lean On Your Network Mon, 24 Feb 2020 22:08:08 +0000

This is one of my favorite times of the school year. The new year has started, we are halfway through the higher ed calendar, and we can start to see how our strategies have worked out. We are starting to get the hang of new tactics, strategies, and platforms. We also see where we have succeeded and failed, what has worked and what hasn’t.

Every year I see how our expertise in web, marketing, writing, and content creation is used to tell the story and the unique value proposition of our institutions. I see the tough issues that we are being asked to solve. The times where we go viral and the times where our Instagram account is mysteriously switched from a business account to a personal account.

We are asked to do more and more with less and less each year, which can be a challenge each day. Where do we go for support? Where can we find people that know what we are going through? Our colleagues sometimes know, and there might be a few other folks nearby, but most of us go to our industry network. As you think about what professional development you will prioritize this year, you are making an important choice about how to further your professional growth and build your network. One of the things that I have been so proud of over the past 4+ years working with the eduWeb Digital Summit is helping to build a community that people want to be a part of. A community that supports each other year-round, helps answer those tough questions you are struggling with, and helps you deal with that tough situation that you’re facing for the first time.

So when you decide to attend eduWeb Digital Summit this year, you become a part of a network, a community, a new family of amazing people that have an incredible amount of knowledge they are willing to share.

But this year, we’ll be adding a new element to this community: a remarkably different physical space. This year we’ll be coming together at a location like very few in the world: Snowbird, Utah, a mountain top ski resort just half an hour from Salt Lake City.

We will have the whole top of the mountain to connect. We will have unique opportunities to bond over campfires (maybe we can find the fixings for S’mores), on mountain hikes, or from the comfort of the rooftop pool. Come experience something new with us. We promise you that we will have fantastic opportunities for professional growth at a conference like no other.

Don’t Feed the Trolls Wed, 19 Feb 2020 16:32:51 +0000

Social media professionals hear this advice all the time. Viewing constant negativity is bad for our health – it can lead to trauma, stress, anxiety, even depression. It’s one of the top reasons for burnout in our industry and it can be hard to overcome. That’s why it’s important to establish boundaries. Ignoring your institution’s social media after hours is easier said than done, because the Internet simply doesn’t close at 5pm. Monitoring, listening, responding, and posting happens 24/7 and it takes a toll on all of us.

Here are some ways to combat negativity and social media fatigue while keeping your chin up.

  1. Work with your manager to construct rules for after hours. Create a plan where you only check-in after the workday for emergencies, or only during special events each semester. This can help lower your stress level and give you more peace of mind.
  2. Turn off notifications. This can be tricky, as some of my fellow eduWeb friends have experienced. You might want the notifications on during the workday, but at night it’s a different story. Look through all your notifications and decide what’s important and what you can live without. Alternatively, you can also set up ‘do not disturb’ time on your mobile device.
  3. Use social media management software. Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Sprinklr, Falcon, or Buffer can change your job as a social media manager. They can help automate some of your work and allow you to schedule posts after hours and assist with alerts or keywords. This gives you more free time after the workday to relax and less time posting or scheduling in the evening hours.
  4. Create automated responses for Facebook Messenger. Use the bot feature. This is another time-saver and you don’t have to worry about your Facebook response rating. Creating a bot can give people the answers they’re looking for, or at least allow you 24 hours to respond if you choose to incorporate that language into your newly created Messenger bot.
  5. Hire awesome interns. Internships can create opportunities for students looking to work in the field after graduation, but a well-trained intern can also be a life saver and provide after-hours coverage, which can give you more time to enjoy dinner, or go see the latest Marvel film or a concert.
  6. Stay positive. According to Pew Research, 45% of Americans think it’s more important to allow people to speak freely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets, but 53% of Americans feel it is more important for everyone to feel welcome and safe when using social media. When you see trolls commenting on your social media posts, remember they don’t know you, and many times they also don’t know the university you represent — it’s not personal no matter what they share. I know it can still be extremely hard to absorb or understand how another human being could say such things, but remember they’re hiding for a reason. On the positive side, there are many stakeholders (students, alumni, staff, faculty) who help self-police comments and come to your aid. Of course, if it gets way out of hand and you need to assemble your crisis communication team, there are more actions you can take.

Bottom line, don’t feed the trolls and don’t let them get you down. Help make the Internet and the social media world shine by infecting others with positivity. It can be hard, but we need to have each other’s back on this. Our health and our livelihood depend on it.

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Guest Post: Building Confidence and Community Through the eduWeb Scholarship Tue, 17 Dec 2019 04:05:43 +0000

by Amber Owens

In July of 2018, I accepted a job as the Social Media Manager for a small private university in Indiana. I was brand new to the field, and the position was brand new for the university. The members of our marketing team had been balancing social media amidst all their other duties, and when I arrived, they gave me all the passwords and left me to my own devices. It was a little terrifying and a lot of responsibility, but fortunately, my boss and team were incredibly supportive and understanding as I learned the ropes and tried to effectively wrangle years of social media chaos. On top of this, we rolled out a major, multi-million dollar re-brand within my first 30 days on the job, so not only was I learning about our audiences, our history, and the structure of our university brand, but I was also trying to figure out how to marry that information with a lot of new and exciting changes. It was a lot to take in, and most days I felt like I was barely keeping up.
As a somewhat new employee I felt uncomfortable asking for professional development dollars, so when I saw something about the 2019 eduWeb Scholarship for Developing Professionals pop up on Twitter, I applied and crossed my fingers. I didn’t let my hopes get too high, as I figured that I would probably be the least qualified of all the applicants, but lo and behold, I was selected.

It was a life-changing experience. Getting to hear from other social media experts in higher education felt a lot like coming home. I was encouraged to hear that I wasn’t alone in the things I dealt with on the job– there was an entire community of people out there who were just like me. Not only was I validated and understood, but I was welcomed. I expected to feel like an impostor in a room full of geniuses, but I didn’t; instead I felt both recognized and inspired.

During my time at the conference, I took part in presentations that both supported the work I was already doing and stimulated my creative side. I came back to my office with pages and pages of notes and ideas, ready to hit the ground running, and my team offered nothing but support. Since returning home, I’ve been able to roll out several new university-wide projects, and I’ve also built connections with our students on a deeper level than ever before. I can easily say that not a week goes by where I don’t reference something that I learned or heard at eduWeb 2019, and my university has benefitted so much from it.

Attending eduWeb as a scholarship recipient opened my eyes to so many opportunities that were at my fingertips, ready for the taking, and the perspective that I found in those presentations and discussions with other professionals was more than I ever could have hoped for out of my first conference experience. Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to attend, and I would probably still be feeling somewhat alone in my job. This year, a new group of scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to have their career transformed by eduWeb, just like I did, so if you’ve been thinking about applying but have hesitated, I can only say this: there is no reason why you shouldn’t, and every reason why you should.

Amber Owens is the Social Media Manager at Indiana Tech and a recipient of the 2019 eduWeb Scholarship for Developing Professionals.

Your Guide to eduWeb’s Tracks and Program Tue, 26 Nov 2019 14:20:05 +0000

Are you considering submitting a presentation proposal for eduWeb’s 2020 Digital Summit in Snowbird? Have you been thinking about applying for our Scholarship for Developing Professionals? Are you an eduWeb newcomer who’s curious about what the conference experience is all about?

If so, you might be looking for some more information about our tracks and program, and we’re here to break it all down for you.


What they are: As the soul of the eduWeb program, our tracks are designed to provide you with breakout sessions that are tailored to your specific work in higher education. Each track offers eight to nine 45-minute presentations and panels that will address topics directly relevant to your role, and you’ll get the opportunity to connect with others in your specialized field. You can attend all the sessions in one track, or hop around from one to another based on the presentations that you’re most excited about. They’re led by those in our higher ed community, so if you’ve got a great idea to share, let us know about it!

What’s covered: Too much good stuff! Let’s explore each track individually to give you an idea:

Social Media

In a rapidly-evolving social world, we need to focus on both the fundamentals and on innovation. Explore how to formulate goals, measure success, and develop best practices in social media, plus be inspired by the success stories from the pioneers in our field. We’ll discuss emerging trends in social media, building effective campaigns, the keys to social listening, securing buy-in from campus leadership, managing many departments with conflicting ideas and priorities, student ambassador programs, and much more.

Last year’s Best of Track: Rebecca Stapley’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Closing Accounts: Increase Engagement and Spark Audience Joy 

Content & Email Marketing

Content is still king! Come discuss how to create and disseminate the most relevant, timely, and valuable content to attract and retain your target audiences— and ultimately maximize engagement with your university. Explore topics like drip marketing, developing an evergreen content marketing plan, segmentation and personalization, identifying your audience’s priorities, and organizing and maintaining what you build out.

Last year’s Best of Track: Victoria Marzilli and Rachel Tilley’s “A Star is Born: Student Creators, Storytellers, and Allies

Using Data & Analytics

Tactics without metrics are pretty much useless. Here, we’ll focus on how higher ed professionals can investigate the stories that live within their marketing data points, and we’ll learn how to benchmark and make data-driven decisions that transform our work. Join us as we dig into Google Analytics, campaign KPIs, predictive modeling, measuring ROI, identifying the data points that really matter, and translating it all in a way that makes sense to the rest of our teams.

Last year’s Best of Track: Nathan Gerber’s “Analytics, Please: Helping Departments Understand the Data

Web/Mobile Design & Strategy

We’re living in a mobile-first world where UI and UX cannot be understated. So how do we adapt to dynamic changes in web design, promote accessibility, embrace personalization, and meet the expectations of our consumers? We’ll explore all that and more in this track. In these sessions, you’ll hear about developing a web governance strategy, leveraging your CMS to its full potential, best practices for microsites, managing your digital assets, tying landing pages into larger marketing campaigns, and about a million other things that will empower you to lead your university’s web presence more effectively.

Last year’s Best of Track: Jennie Powers and Stephen Tidmore’s “Don’t Ignore 50 Million People: How to Make Your Content Accessible”


Other Duties As Assigned

Juggling tasks that aren’t in your current job description? Come explore the ways that others have succeeded in orchestrating the initiatives that fall outside of their regular responsibilities—and get some tips on how you can succeed as well! We’ll cover some of everything here, from launching a podcast to managing a rebrand to creating a departmental training curriculum to maintaining your operations in the midst of new software implementation, plus all those other curveballs that your job keeps throwing your way.

Last year’s Best of Track: Katie MacInnes’s “No Budget? No Problem!: How UNC Greensboro Managed a Website Redesign on a Shoestring

Pre-Conference Workshops

What they are: Our pre-conference workshops allow attendees to take a deeper dive into topics relevant to their work in higher education marketing. In these sessions, held on the morning of the first day of the conference, presenters offer a hands-on format that enables those present to engage deeply with the subject matter. Our experts will guide you as you dive into the skill set that you need to further your institutional objectives, and you’ll benefit from hands-on instruction from leaders in our field in these two-hour sessions.

What’s covered: Workshops have covered a wide range of topics, including Instagram strategy, analytics essentials, how to cultivate creativity, and developing a framework to support institutional goals.

What you should know: Pre-conference workshops are scheduled so that eduWeb attendees can attend several; generally we offer four to six each year. There’s an additional charge to attend them, but the ROI is huge. And if you’d like to lead one of our workshops, let us know by submitting a proposal!

Master Classes

What they are: If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and really dig into things, our master classes are the place to do it. These four-hour sessions are usually held on the afternoon of the conference’s final day, after general programming has wrapped. These learning lab-style classes give you a full picture of the topic of discussion, then facilitate time to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your specific institutional strategy and work. You can expect a highly interactive, comprehensive approach to higher education marketing, and you’ll walk away with an action plan so you can move from theory into practice.

What’s covered: Previous master classes have addressed crisis communications planning, inbound marketing, segmentation strategy, and more.

What you should know: Plan your eduWeb travel accordingly if you want to participate in a master class– they’ll usually run from 1 – 5 pm on that Wednesday. There’s an additional registration cost if you choose to participate, and each year we offer one or two topics. If you’re interested in presenting a master class, please contact our conference leadership team.


Put all this together, add in incredible keynotes, unique networking opportunities, and the greatest community in higher ed marketing, and you get an unparalleled conference experience that is truly career-transforming. Ready to be a part of it all? We’d love to have you join us.

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