The Making of #UConnSocialDay

Last month, University Communications held its first ever #UConnSocialDay. A day for students, faculty, and staff to learn more about how to use social media to improve their personal and professional brand.

The event kicked off with a “Lunch with an Influencer” segment, where Sarah Merrill, the founder of @bigkidproblems and self-made social media influencer, spoke about how she took her dorm room hobby of posting memes to social media to the next level and eventually created her own social media influencer brand.


We had sessions specific to students tailored to developing your online brand, what employers look for (and don’t look for) on social media, as well as a UConn student roundtable with three social media campus influencers who’ve had more than their fair share of experience when it comes to working with brands on social.

As an afternoon keynote, we asked UConn alum and current NFL Analyst for ESPN, Dan Orlovsky to discuss how he built his personal brand on social media and how Twitter helped him land his current job. Giving our audience a well-rounded idea of the power of branding yourself on social media.

Dan Orlovsky giving a presentation at the UConn Social Media Day on March 13, 2019. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Our faculty track spent time covering the ins and outs of social—Which platform should I use personally/professionally? How do I get started? Where do I get followers? What is a hashtag? They were also able to participate in a “Faculty Lounge” session where UConn experts discussed the importance of social media and how best to use it to connect with researchers in similar fields, how it can help establish faculty/staff as a thought leaders in their industry, and how to use social to share and pitch work.

While we had a vision of what the day-long event would look like, the hardest part was marketing and making sure it ended up being an event that students, faculty, and staff all wanted to attend.

Knowing Your Audience

We knew this event would be an easy sell to faculty and staff, but our student population was a different story. Aside from your traditional campus marketing of posters, flyers, digital signs, department visits, and listservs, we knew social media would be key in getting the information to students.

We developed an eight-week social strategy to build up hype and excitement for the event. We started off with vague promos, followed by speaker updates and keynote teasers. Professional headshots, a UConn photobooth, and free lunch and t-shirts were also heavily marketing in the weeks prior to the event.

Using the Appropriate Platforms

LinkedIn was a great tool to get our schedule information out to our faculty/staff. It was also a great place to promote the free professional headshot service we were providing throughout the event.

Instagram/Instagram Stories was where we focused most of our marketing efforts to students. We were able to create graphics and event teasers specific for the platform, link to event schedule, and build hype the day-of to grab some last-minute attendees. (Until Facebook and Instagram decided to crash worldwide in the middle of #UConnSocialDay… impeccable timing.)

Twitter/Facebook were used as a supplement. We find that a lot of our students aren’t on Twitter, but they do keep tabs on us on Facebook, so it was still important to get the necessary information out on both of those channels. Tagging our speakers on Twitter during our speaker release posts was also a great way to have our speakers interact and share our content.


The Result

Take a look at a video recap of our first ever #UConnSocialDay.

Posted by Emily Zangari

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