Alumni Engagement — #UNHLove Stories

Wedding photo submitted by Allison Power Bernal and Raul Bernal.

Holidays are a dream come true for social media managers. No, not because we may get the day off (social never turns off… ), but because holidays offer some very simple yet engaging social media posts/campaigns/opportunities. They don’t even need to be real holidays (national cat day, national coffee day, etc.) for social managers to jump on board and have some fun with their audiences. With that in mind, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite weeks on the UNH Alumni social networks.

Graphic used in 2015.

In 2015, we began a week long campaign on the UNH alumni Facebook page soliciting “Wildcat Couples” love stories, asking simply for a photo and the story of how the two Wildcats came together. Each day we’d share a #UNHLove story or two on the page, and wrap up the week with a Facebook album of all submissions. The week long campaign went very well, with a spike in engagement, reach, and new followers.

As Valentine’s Day approached in 2016, UNH was awash in content and BIG events; the state of the university address, hosting a democratic primary debate, and the New Hampshire presidential primary all occurred over an eight day period. With all of this excitement, I wasn’t able to stick to the same plan of posting photos all week, but instead decided to simplify the effort. Sharing the album (the same album initially created in 2015) a few days before Valentine’s Day, I asked alums again to send a photo and short story/caption to be featured. Promising to update throughout the weekend, I encouraged our followers to tag themselves in the photos and share with any Wildcat couples they know. Below is the original post, but I strongly encourage you to click through and read some of the adorable stories with each photo (and commence the chorus of “aww” moments).

Click to visit the full #UNHLove album.

From the initial post on February 11, the album took off quickly and received outstanding engagement with our alumni community. In five days, 64 Wildcat couples sent in stories and photos to be shared in the album, adding to the 25 from last year’s effort. With 265 page comments, 2,000+ likes on the page content, and 89 shares, engagement on our UNH Alumni Facebook page has more than doubled the engagement numbers for all of January!

Screenshot from Hootsuite Analytics report.

I’ve taken a few more screenshots of our Hootsuite analytics and Facebook Insights for the last few weeks to show just how much impact a simple #UNHLove story concept can have on our Facebook presence.

What can we glean from all of this? It is absolutely necessary for the university and alumni relations team to create high quality and compelling content for our social media accounts, but given the proper hook and compelling reason to share, your audience can take the reigns in content creation sometimes. They also are your best brand advocates in recruiting new followers to your social accounts (Organically! No budget required!). All these Wildcats needed was to feel recognized and given a platform to tell their story. The UNH Alumni Facebook page gained more than 100 new followers in the 5 days following the #UNHLove post. That’s 100 new people to engage year-round with all of our subsequent alumni content!

What kind of campaigns are you using to engage alumni? Have you seen success with user-generated content? Share with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Written by Tyler Wentworth, Senior Producer with #UNHSocial.

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