Thursday, March 07, 2013

Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

I know that's a politically charged line, but in the case of social media and institutions, it is true.  Want a nice organic bump in traffic and followers?  Have a snow closure.  Ramp up the interaction?  Last week, in our case, get a bomb threat at the high school co-located on part of the campus.

Sad, but true.

Embrace this fact.  Along with working the people online with Facebook and Twitter (and monitoring same), I had the chance to hand out additional messages.  If you want the first warning, make sure you are signed up for Purple Alert, and here's the URL.  Alumni or former staff and tired of getting our Purple Alerts?  Here's the email address to leave us.

Above all, students learned that if they need critical information, they can count on our Facebook and Twitter official pages to echo and amplify what is being done via the old-school text-and-call system.

How much?  We saw a brief event -- approximately two and a half hours from first building evacuation to all-clear, and we were fortunate to not need to evacuate our entire campus -- only areas near the LSMSA.  But off that quick three hours we saw a 253% jump in people talking about us, a 124% jump in total reach and almost 100 new like/followers.

This drove one of our best weeks since the start of classes, and we kept the ball rolling with a great Facebook Five post on our special "Purple Priday" start (a whopping 400 likes, not bad for one iPhone photo and a pithy quote).

The week was sufficiently notable that we got feedback from agencies and media partners who were looking out our numbers.

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