Cover photo from the media library of UNC-Chapel Hill.
Universities are welcoming the class of 2019 to campus with move-in day volunteers, welcome signs and, of course, posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Which ones stand out? The ones that capture our attention with color, emotion, excitement – the posts that are visual.
Move-in is a fantastic opportunity for universities to show off their culture, campus and enthusiasm – and the best way to do that is through photos and videos. Visual posts draw the attention of alumni wanting to reminisce, members of the class of 2019 hoping to spot themselves in the pictures, and high school students looking for the right school for them.
Universities that harness the power of visual media during move-in are keeping pace with a broader trend. Marketing is shifting towards photos and videos because visual media stands out online, and fosters an emotional connection with the viewer much more quickly than the written word.
Schools that take the time to take snapshots of landmark events – like move-in – create a valuable media library they can tap into in the future.
For example, the University of Virginia posted this #ThrowBackThursday right before students moved in this month.[facebook_embedded_post href=”https://www.facebook.com/UniversityofVirginia/videos/10153578263073331″]
The video has a slew of comments from parents, students and alumni reminiscing about their own experiences and wishing luck to the class of 2019.
Other comments like the one below show the video is pulling at the heartstrings of families getting ready for move-in 2015 (and it’s no wonder when you see heartwarming visuals like the hugs starting at 1:55 – grab a tissue).
This will be me next week as I say goodbye to my daughter. I am a proud mom but will be crying as we say goodbye!
Videos like the one above one can have an impact in the present and in the future.
As high school seniors (and their parents) scroll through college Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds, they’ll be struck by the photos and videos of move-in 2015. Schools that aren’t capturing the moment will miss opportunities to attract new students and make incoming freshmen feel at home. And schools that are sharing compelling stories during move-in 2015 will catch the attention of current and future students and families.
Here are the 7 best uses of visual media during college move-in 2015. We hope they inspire you to get visual with your social media posts during move-in 2016 and any upcoming event!
Let’s face it – most people dread moving. And while it’s exciting to move into college, the actual process is still a hassle. But everyone is smiling in the #Emory2019 Freshman Move-in Day Facebook album. The photos are bright, creatively shot and well edited. The album shows off how the university provides helpers and entertainment during move-in, and captures the excitement of current and incoming students. Emory makes moving into a dorm room look easy and fun.[facebook_embedded_post href=”https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154178284161982.1073741857.42543126981&type=3″]
University of Colorado Boulder
CU-Boulder’s move-in video feels like a music video. It grabs your attention right from the beginning with an awesome aerial shot showing off the university’s setting, then alternates between shots of move-in and university landmarks – all to the rhythm of the school’s very own drumline.
This video is fun and easy to watch because it’s short (1:07) and fast-paced. It also makes great use of the university’s video archive, mixing in footage the team didn’t have to shoot on move-in day (very smart when you’re in a hurry to share a move-in weekend post while it’s still relevant).
— CU-Boulder (@CUBoulder) August 21, 2015
University of Mississippi
Ole Miss gets major points in my book for using time lapse video. The “Rebel Move-In Cam” turned the dreaded, never-ending rigmarole of unloading family cars and schlepping bins and furniture to dorm rooms into bite-sized clips perfect for Instagram. This video is simple and creative, and its security-cam style stands out from other Instagram posts.
University of Pennsylvania
What member of the class of 2019 isn’t going to like this photo? Penn has a beautiful Instagram feed with almost 29,000 followers. This snapshot from above is a fantastic addition – plus, it drives members of the new class to the university’s feed hoping to find themselves in the crowd. As they follow @uofpenn, like the photo and tag their friends, they are becoming ambassadors for the university’s brand.
University of North Carolina
UNC’s Facebook album is a standout. The high-quality images were clearly chosen with care. Interesting camera angles make you want to keep scrolling. The album is thorough – it covers a range of settings and includes detailed captions – but it’s not boring or repetitive. It paints a vivid picture of move-in weekend in Chapel Hill (and makes you wish a parade had welcomed you to your new home last time you moved).[facebook_embedded_post href=”https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153129935712709.1073741874.140105122708&type=3″]
Cornell harnessed the power of its student body with a photo competition. The university encouraged students to share photos with visual posts like the one below and signs around campus promoting the hashtag #CornellWelcome, and offered prizes for the best entries. The result is a gallery of life at Cornell. Are they all high-quality photos? No. Are they all brand-approved? Definitely not. But they are an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at Cornell – a powerful tool for recruiting new students.
Dickinson’s video takes 1st prize when it comes to creating a visual legacy. It uses move-in day as a chance to tell a bigger story. The school has only 2,364 students, and the video highlights the personal welcome you get at a small school. It also focuses on individual students and families, and takes advantage of an opportunity to get enthusiastic testimonials.
At the very least, this video celebrates move-in 2015 and adds to the welcome experience for the new class (they posted it within 24 hours of move-in!). At its best, it will help prospective students figure out Dickinson is the place for them, and make incoming freshmen feel at home even before they arrive on campus.