With all of the information out there on social media management, it can get overwhelming. And most articles aren’t targeted toward campus recreation, leaving a knowledge gap when it comes to managing social media for a recreation center.
So, what better people to ask than two social media experts? Joseph Hanseling, the assistant director with Outdoor Venture Center at University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) and Justin Furlough, a graduate assistant with competitive sports at UNO, run the social media accounts for their areas of their college recreation centers. They share their top tips, insights and what they’ve learned by managing social media.
“I post one to two times a day on each platform,” said Hanseling. “Sometimes more if an event is happening live, and we can get good content. Usually, I post through Instagram and share the same content on Facebook.” Furlough agreed that two is a good number to aim for as far as posts go, with a minimum of one post and a maximum of three posts. “We can balance it out between an announcement if needed, something funny and then something else to fill the gap like a repost from another area to cross promote,” he said.
When asked what kind of content works best on social media, Hanseling and Furlough both agreed visual content is huge. “People are visual creatures,” said Furlough.
“Obviously really pretty images of something unique work well — especially on Instagram,” added Hanseling.
“We do events on our Facebook page and promote the event. People seem to run their personal calendars through social media sometimes, so getting on that radar is important,” said Hanseling. “If they click ‘interested’ or ‘going’ they will get updates and reminders about the event as it draws closer.”
“For UNO intramurals, we are working to make most of our submissions student based. We’re hoping to get the students to send us those viral style clips of highlight plays, or not-so-highlight plays, and we know it will be content they themselves can identify with. That will help us to have high levels of engagement,” added Furlough.
“I follow a lot of professional athletes on Instagram, which gives insight into what people are looking for. In the past year video content has become the focus of Facebook and Instagram,” said Hanseling. “So, posting as much video as possible helps. Facebook is pushing video content, so posts through the app get brought up on individual timelines more often.”
Furlough said it’s important to check reach numbers, reposts, likes, comments and then look at all of those numbers at the end of the season to ask if they went up, or down, to further evaluate the marketing.
Hanseling said he measures engagement heavily on comments and shares. “Comments, especially when people are tagging friends, are great,” he said. “That means someone liked what they saw or read the post and wants someone else to see it. A simple ‘like’ is nice, but pretty passive. Shares are also big, because that means someone took the time to share it with their entire friend group.”
“With everything being so connected today, and with the line between the real world and the virtual world blurring and blending, this is the newer, bigger brother of word-of-mouth,” said Furlough. “Social media presence has the potential to make or break nearly anything. Having up-to-date, accurate and accessible information is the main pillar of success for any program.”
This also includes answering questions promptly when someone reaches out. “Individuals ask questions a lot, and I try to answer them ASAP so that someone watching knows there is a human out there,” said Hanseling.
“I try to showcase what we do in a fun way,” said Hanseling. “Social media allows for storytelling and the creation of an idea that is associated with our brand. We want our program to be seen as fun, active and a way to meet new people and try something different,” said Hanseling.