A Work In Progress: “Bridging” To Reach Our Community At Princeton University

Social Media Bandwagon
Social Media Bandwagon

If you work or study at Princeton University, you probably heard of Campus Recreation.  And, if you heard of Campus Recreation you definitely heard, and visited, Stephens Fitness Center (SFC).

SFC is where I work as a Manager (when I am not thinking and writing about marketing). Last week, I offered to establish a Social Media Marketing plan(SMM) to help promote more than 20 amazing fitness events we offer every year to our wonderful community (events such as the famous February Frenzy, Faculty/Staff Relays, and the Faculty/Staff Fitness Decathlon).

I always thought we could do a better job promoting these events, and more importantly, I was convinced that in this global economic crisis we could have saved more money by simply using some of the free SMM tools that can be found on the web. My wish to establish a social media marketing plan was approved by my supervisor the other day, and a wonderful journey to better communicate with our community has begun.

Choosing to integrate SMM into your business is not as easy as one may think. There are a lot of risks one needs to be aware of, risks that may damage your brand, and your image as a thought leader in your community.

Prior to establishing such a plan, you need to decide if your plan will be used to promote a business, an organization, or a department.

For many obvious reasons, promoting a business is more complex than promoting a department for example.

In this post I will attempt to cover the strategy I will use to promote SFC, which is a sub-department under the umbrella of Campus Recreation.

Strategy and Goals

The first question I need to ask myself is this: what are the goals of the SMM plan? The multiple answers are these:

  • Promote our amazing fitness events.
  • Save money on printouts, and other Outbound marketing outdated techniques.
  • Promote health and physical exercising in our community of staff, faculty and students.
  • Increase the number of participants in our fitness events.
  • Create a service awareness (such as Personal Training), and increase its brand equity.
  • Establish ourselves as a Thought Leader.
  • Educate our community.

The second question I ask myself is this: What tools I need to use to cover all of my goals?

I enjoy strategizing very much. In fact, I spend a vast amount of my time thinking about different strategies for different issues I face every day (e.g. best way to train a client, best time to publish a blog, and  best way to buying groceries without needing to travel back and forth between aisles, just to name a few).

Before I dive into explaining the strategy part of this article, let me just say that my budget for creating the SMM plan is ZERO dollars. “Free” is a key word in my effort to fulfill all the goals I listed above.

Luckily for me, I live in a great era where I have an ocean of free social media tools and services that I can choose from. Furthermore, as mentioned above, I am developing a plan for a sub department, which has a, relatively speaking, small community that is very easy to reach.

Tools to use:

After analyzing the goals above, I chose to use a Twitter account, a Blog webpage and a Facebook page as the pillars for this plan. All the services I mentioned are free to use, and are very powerful social media marketing tools.

  • Twitter: the most important part of a twitter strategy is to listen to and search for your audience/community. It is very easy to start a Twitter account, but it is more difficult to find and build your community. With no community, you have no one to talk or listen to. Twitter will serve as a platform to receive feedbacks from our community; listen to our community; promote our events; promote content (blog, newsletter, etc); engage with our community. In other words, Twitter is our “ears”, “mouth”, and distribution platform.
  • Facebook Page: a Facebook page is a great way to strengthen your relationship with your community. It will be used to publish pictures and videos from different fitness events, promote blog articles, and engage our community to collect ideas for improvements, and suggestions.
  • Blog webpage: a Blog is an amazing opportunity for us to educate our community about a variety of topics, and establish ourselves as thought leaders among our community. I will not dive into a blog strategy in this post, but there will definitely be a strategy, which I will cover in a different article.

I choose not to use other services such as Flickr, YouTube or LinkedIn at this point, but I do plan to integrate them as time progresses.

I am very excited about this project. This is something I have wanted to do ever since I joined the great team that operates Campus Recreation, and I am thankful to my supervisor who allowed me to take my plan one step forward.

Share your thoughts with me. Did you do something similar in your department? Do you mind sharing? Can you think of other tools I can use to make my plan a better plan?

facebook comments:

  • Temple Rosenberger

    What an incredible opportunity! I know the journey will be exciting as you bring your communities together. I look forward to when you incorporate flickr so that those of us far away can see the events.

  • Thank you, Temple. I will definitely add flickr along the way. I have a few ideas in mind, but I will use it step by step…strategy, strategy strategy :-)