#new2OSU: a welcome via web, mobile and social

This summer, University Communications has teamed up with Enrollment Services to give orientation students and parents a big Buckeye welcome. Our coordinated plan encompasses osu.edu, university social media channels and the OSU Mobile app–the places where we want to interact with Buckeyes throughout their lives, from prospective students to alumni.

Our strategy: to use our top digital properties to share important orientation information, capitalize on the popularity of Buckeye traditions and build community at Ohio State. An important part of the plan: having fun! During orientation, we have a chance to grab students’ attention and show them why they should keep coming back to osu.edu features, OSU Mobile and university social media account. To that end, the communications need to feel like Ohio State itself: warm, friendly, interesting and engaging.

The tactics supporting our orientation strategy:

On osu.edu: A Buzzfeed-inspired orientation feature tells students and parents what they need to know before they come to campus–from the down-to-business basics (like class scheduling and finding your way) to inspiring Buckeye pride. Multimedia writer Monica DeMeglio worked with First Year Experience and orientation to get the content orientation families tell us they want–then tell it in a fun, Ohio State-branded way. Part of the feature:

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On OSU Mobile, we’re running five short features, each one edited from the web feature and tailored for the mobile medium. The features are extremely user-centric; we used geofencing and tailored the feature to hit at the right time. Users on the Oval will see a feature about Buckeye pride. At night, they’ll see a feature about navigating the city of Columbus. Near the Student Academic Services building, they’ll see information on Ohio State services for students. (The OSU Mobile team–especially Interactive Communications Director Jim Burgoon–worked with us to make this happen.) Below, the Buckeye pride feature–and its geographic boundaries.

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On social media, we’re engaging with our audiences using #new2OSU. We have three goals: to share useful news and info, to inspire Buckeye pride, and to build meaningful connections among students. On Facebook, a welcome-to-orientation post was shared widely. On Twitter, @OhioState is responding to excited new Buckeyes and RT’ing and MT’ing #new2OSU posts–including those from alumni offering wisdom to the Class of 2018. And we’re not the only ones: Various Ohio State accounts, from Athletics’ account to faculty/staff to current students, are joining in and using the tag to welcome new students.

Multimedia specialist Lauren Boyd and photographer Jo McCulty are concentrating on Instagram, because it skews young, just like our incoming students, and it’s growing. A favorite example of social interaction on the site: this recent photo. The commentary is great: Buckeyes are not only liking the photo, but also tagging their new friends.Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 3.36.21 PM

When orientation is finished and students are back home, we’ll be looking at the analytics to determine the popularity of these efforts. Those metrics will help us plan for Welcome Week–and also learn what resonated with audiences as we think about orientation 2015.

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