Photo by Jakob Owens.
Just because the end of the term is around the corner, it doesn’t mean that your institution’s social media and marketing output can start to slack. If anything, the festive period provides universities with the perfect opportunity to get creative and go wild on social and other channels. And it needn’t all be about baubles, snow and father Christmas, either.
Getting creative with your Christmas campaigns is a great way for you to really communicate your university’s personality in a fun, engaging, yet valuable way. It’s also a good time to showcase the talents of your student body and show gratitude towards your staff and alumni, as the examples below demonstrate.
Needless to say, creating "Christmassy" content is a sure fire way to pique the attention of prospective students - after all, university life isn’t just about academic acumen. Everyone appreciates a bit of fun.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, festive and social savvy! Take inspiration from the following five universities and spread the joy…
This has to be one of the best higher education festive initiatives out there. Every December, London Met’s Accelerator gives talented designer-makers and craftspeople the chance to become a market trader on one of the busiest shopping days of the year at Brick Lane Market.
During this yearly event, students get access to a free market stall, a bootcamp day where they receive training from experienced market traders and the opportunity to develop their product and learn new skills whilst making some money.
Needless to say, the opportunities for social sharing are endless!
London Met’s Christmas Market adds value to the student experience, encouraging entrepreneurship and other key skills.
You don’t have to spend heaps of time and money promoting Christmas on your social media; sometimes, a visually-appealing feed will suffice. University of Glasgow’s (OUG) Instagram account is aglow with festive vibes - their campus alone conjures up images of log fires and Harry Potter-esque escapades.
Cleverly, OUG started adding sprinklings of festivity to their Instagram posts as early as November to build up anticipation before the big reveal - their December Christmas video. We don’t have access to the video yet, so you’ll have to follow them to find out!
Mixing face-to-face and online interaction to create shareable content.
The festive period should also be a time where we reflect on those who are less fortunate and try to make a tangible difference through acts of charity and altruism. In winter 2016, Fanshawe College did just that, and they’re a perfect example of how universities can participate in good causes.
Their video shows footage of more than 700 staff and faculty running a charity food drive in which they managed to collect nearly 2000 pounds of goods to donate to the local food bank. The film ends not with a link to the institution, but the Ontario Association of Food Banks website.
Royal Institution has taken a 1991 video featuring world-famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins from their series of Christmas lectures and put it on YouTube, to the delight of science fans everywhere.
David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, Michael Faraday and Alice Roberts are just a few of the other many notable scientists who have given the Christmas Lectures at the institution over the years, and in fact, they have recently asked for help to locate all of them so that they can share the entire back catalogue on YouTube.
Richard Dawkins - Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution, 1991
Sometimes a simple yet touching Christmas message does the trick. University of Maryland's Christmas video incorporates a message from the institution's presidents together with a montage celebrating the college’s diversity. It also features some beautiful singing by some students and is just over two minutes long - the perfect length for engagement.
University of Maryland 2015 Holiday Greetings Christmas campaign
If you haven’t started planning your Christmas social campaigns by November, it could be just a little too late to organise anything too large, but you could do something small on Instagram like University of Glasgow.
You can also focus your efforts on the New Year instead. January is all about beginnings so think about how you can take advantage of this through things like ‘new year open days’ and incentives for postgraduate and part-time learners.
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