Social Media Rules! How Can Higher Ed Marketers Reach Prospective Students?

When trying to reach Generation Z or Millennials, SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter are the “it” social media platforms. Print still serves a purpose — mainly driving the recipient to your digital presence – but social media is the place where engagement and conversion happens. That was the message Michael Mullarkey, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Brickfish, delivered at the Higher Ed SIG gathering that took place April 6.

The SIG meeting, which was held at Troquet North, was a discussion about how to optimize social media for colleges and universities. In keeping with our new format for these gatherings, the meeting was more of a moderated conversation as opposed to a presentation.  It was a huge success!

Brickfish, whose slogan is “Engagement is Everything,” manages the content and social media of large brands like Neiman Marcus and Hertz.  Relevant, fresh content along with a quick response to visitors’ queries is essential to the success of any enterprise. Generation Z and Millennials expect instance responses. Mullarkey believes Facebook is still important, but these cohorts spend most of their time exchanging rapid-fire communiqués with their friends on SnapChat and WhatsApp. Marketers need to become a relevant part of these exchanges.

Mullarkey also spoke about the shrinking reach of Facebook and Instagram. Once brands established their presence on these platforms, these firms monetized their sites.  You now have to boost your post to expand your reach and that requires paying for it. He offered some advice about how to get around having to pay, which includes unique, relevant content, engagement and short video.

Bottom line: For us higher education communicators, it’s new a world. We just need to fasten our seat belts and enjoy the ride.

Betsy Butterworth Dean Petrulakis

Betsy Butterworth and Dean Petrulakis

Co-Chairs, Chicago AMA Higher Education Special Interest Group

Minnesota AMA’s 3rd Annual Super Bowl Ad Review

Written by Tony Rivera

On Tuesday, February 3rd the best and brightest of the Minneapolis marketing, advertising, and public relations industry gathered to review this year’s most recent crop of commercials for the Minnesota AMA’s (MNAMA) 3rd Annual Super Bowl Ad Review. This event has quickly become a fan favorite in the MNAMA programming year and as Vice President of Programming I can say it’s one of my favorites to plan. We were pleased to be welcomed back by hosting agency Olson, which provided the perfect atmosphere to get into the creative mindset.

I also had the pleasure to moderate this all-star panel of experts from some of the top agencies here in the Minneapolis. As the ticket price rises each year for a :30 spot during the big game, this year reaching $4.5 million, the question ultimately becomes: was their spend worth it? And even further, did they accomplish what they set out to do?

We saw quite the variety of commercials in Super Bowl XLIX, with several brands taking a somber tone like Nationwide’s “Make Safe Happen” which caused quite an online stir. Many viewers criticized the insurance company for being too serious and morbid given the setting in which the ad was played.

After the backlash Nationwide came out saying that their goal was to start a conversation with viewers. As we dove into our review our panelists’ views did echo that of the company’s goals; they started a conversation however controversial and uncomfortable that might be. Other brands also focused on conveying a stronger message rather than an outright pitch of their product, see “#LikeAGirl” from Always.

As we moved to the lighter side our audience and panel was excited to talk about Loctite’s “ Positive Feelings” as this was made by local agency Fallon. Even after viewing this spot several times many in the crowd, myself included, still laughed during this one. It’s fun. Just plain fun. More importantly it got our attention. One panelist stated that the biggest mistake you can make going into the Super Bowl is not getting noticed. Well Loctite, we noticed you. Nicely played.

Now this event is different than most of our monthly programs as it’s relatively light on content. For us, it’s about getting some great minds in one room, reviewing some commercials, and having a laugh. As we rounded out the night and I said my good-byes I had many attendees tell me how much they look forward to this event and can’t wait for next year’s!

Tony_022Tony Rivera serves as Vice President of Programming for the Minnesota chapter of the American Marketing Association. As a lover of all things advertising, marketing, and pop-culture he strives to bring the most relevant, insightful, and entertaining content to the MNAMA members. Tony works for Macleod & Co., a Minneapolis based holistic marketing agency.