If my Instagram stories from last week are any indication, I traveled to New Orleans primarily to ingest as many beignets, pralines, and slices of King cake as I could. In actuality, I snacked on most of that during the networking breaks at CASE’s Social Media Conference.


The social landscape is constantly evolving, as is the way higher education institutions utilize it to engage with their audiences. The #CaseSMC event was an opportunity to network with other universities and hear from many leaders in the social space. Sessions covered everything from strategic storytelling, aligning content strategy with goals, and how to leverage all available assets for communications teams.


Here are the nine takeaways our team got from CASE SMC:


Be honest: are you surviving or thriving?

When working in social media, there’s a fine line between surviving and thriving. If your to-do list seems to be never ending and it feels like your team is never big enough, seek out allies to help you source content. Graduate students, office administrators, and interns can be helpful resources for you and your team.


Collaboration over competition.

Leverage other social media organizations on and around your campus. Share content and ideas; form partnerships instead of  fighting over content. Beyond your university, network with other higher ed social professionals in the higher ed Slack channel.


Plan for the worst.

Before you face a crisis, take time to standardize responses with a messaging matrix and make sure all necessary stakeholders have given input.


The university extends past school grounds.

Don’t be afraid to feature your town in social materials.


Create your own GIFs using Photoshop.

Think about how much online video content there is that features the University of Michigan. We didn’t produce all of it, but fair use allows for us to create GIFs from it to use on our own channels. Now think about your own university or organization. I bet you have more video content than you think. 


Give Reddit a chance.

Reddit users love science-themed content, so if you’ve got faculty making scientific advancements, a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” could be a great way to start a conversation around it.  


Produce content that is easy to digest.

Your audience has a short attention span, so videos under 1 minute, Facebook Lives under 30 minutes, and concise tweets and Facebook posts will perform best.


Reduce, reuse, and recycle content.

If you record a video on Instagram, consider reusing it on Facebook or Youtube.


Leverage your faculty for content.

On college campuses around the world, faculty are doing so much more than teaching. From research projects to mentoring students, they are working on seemingly endless interesting projects that your audience would love to learn about.


Were you at CASE SMC with us? What was your big takeaway?


Be social. Stay social. #UMSocial


Post written by Charlotte Lamontagne, Social Media Manager at The University of Michigan.