1: Marquette University’s Snapchat Strategy w/ Tim Cigelske

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode Tim Cigelske, Director of Social Media at Marquette University, discusses creative ways higher ed can use Snapchat as an enrollment growth strategy.

Attracting today's new post traditional learners meansadopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollmentgrowth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, andHelix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percentbrand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges.Downloaded today for free at Helix educationcoms playbook. You're listening to enrollment growth university fromHelix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking togrow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growthtechniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place.Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university. I'm AERICLES, some AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Tim Segelski, director of social media at Marquette University. Tim, how are youdoing today? Doing Great. Thanks for having me. Thanks so much forjoining us. Tim and I've been friends for a long time. He's alwaysone of the very first people I'd turned to when I have a question aboutsocial media, and he's always doing really creative things with social at Marquette.So I'm really excited that you're here to talk to us today about some reallycreative ways marquette is using social and specifically snapchat, as an enrollment growth strategy. So before we get into that, Tim, can you give the listenersa little bit understanding of both Marquette University and your role there? Yeah,so we are Catholic Jesuit University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For those not familiar,most frequently confused with Marquette Michigan, another midwestern area named after Father Marquette, a Jesuit explorer, and I know this because we can see in Googletrends every time we make the tournament and Ncaa Tournament and basketball, you cansee what searches are spiking and what related searches. So people are searching where'sMarquette College, whereas where's Marquette? I...

...can tell everyone right now we're listeningwho are aren't familiar. It's Milwaukee, Wisconsin, just ninety miles north ofChicago, and my role I am director of social media. I've been herealmost nine years and am I very first day at Marquette signed up us,sign us up for a twitter account. I thought this is, you know, this is the end. I'll be all of social and loan behold.Things of continued to evolve and you know, today we're on all the channels,including snapchat. Yeah, let's talk about that, because you've always beenfirst of these channels. I think your want, marquet's one of the veryfirst and high read to embrace snapchat. So talk a little bit about yourdecision to Jump On that bandwagon and let's talk a little bit about Father Marquette, that snapchat channel. Yeah, so, I mean, you know, fora lot of people who kind of grew up in social like myself,we experimented with these early tools like twitter and facebook and even my space beforethat, and so we, you know, experimentation was normal to us and wejust kind of figured this out as we went. And when snatchet cameout, I was of a certain age, you know. I think at thatpointed one kid a second on the way where snap I was too oldfor snapchat and so I didn't initially understand it and there was a medium pieceI was written by a former student here at Marquette talking about moving from thisconcept of disparagement and ridicule for things you just don't understand and you just automaticallyassume while they're stupid, because it's not for me, to one of curiosityand just trying to be like, okay, well, if this is popular,people are you know, it may not be for me, but there'ssomething to it, there's something here that is making it resonate with people.So I took that to heart and even turn to my interns and said,okay, I don't I don't get it. This is my moment of being old. Please tell me why you like snapchat and it can you even,you know, do some leadership or a leadership opportunity in and write a paperabout this and right a strategy document for why snapchat is relevant for your generationand what I can tell my boss is...

...and other people who are coming tome that this is actually going to be a thing and this is important forus as a from a strategic standpoint. So I think that was I lostlose track of time, but that was probably about three or four years agoand we've been on on snapchat and growing ever since. Tim I think youbring up a hugely important point there. I'm similarly one who didn't get snapchat. Still don't as much as some of my younger peers. I think it'smarketers we have a responsibility not to disparage, like you said, and even ifit's not for me, we owe it to ourselves and our respective employersto at least understand why this is so deeply exciting an emotional to so manypeople. And even if it's not for us, we need to understand whyit is for so many other people. I think it's really, really good, good advice. Talk to me a little bit about Father Marquette, whyyou decided to go with kind of that persona rather than the university for theaccount, and how Father Marquette interacts with your community today. So, originallyFather Marquette, you know, the namesake Jack Marquette, who is this Jesuitexplorer of the Midwest. He was a persona on twitter and Instagram, hadhis own accounts. I speak to him like he's, you know, areal person. He's like, you know, three hundred eighty years old, butyou know, it allowed me. It was kind of a happy accidentat first sighting up the accounts and then realizing almost like I was writing fiction, like, you know, the the official, you know accounts for Marquettewhere the nonfiction, you know, official accounts, and this one, eventhough it was under my perview, I could have more fun with it.You know, it's like it was almost a character coming to life, andI think people, you know, I saw people respond to that and justkind of understand that this is different voice of the institution. This is likea friendly, goofy, grandfatherly voice that gave you a different view and becausehistorically this historic figure was an explorer, even allowed us to leave the confinesof campus and explore Milwaukee and explore the region. And it was it waskind of this evolving strategy of like, okay, we can have this funvoice, but we can also explore and...

...go beyond campus and show people whatMilwaukee has to offer, right in the edge of downtown Milwaukee. And thenthere was a natural extension for snapchat, because snapchat is really about the person. You know, there's so many brands now on social media that it's easyto forget that social media was originally just about people. And snapchat, whenit was built, it was same thing. It was about, you know,taking selfies, showing yourself, showing your personality, showing your feelings andemotions, and that's a lot harder for a brand to do from a brandperspective, and I'm not going to do that for me on behalf of thebrand. Yeah, that's a little bit too much of a leap for youknow, I'm not the face of it personally, but Father Marquette, wehave a we literally have a statue, a Father Marquette, a mini statuethat travels around and became the person that got the selfies when we were takingsnaps, and then, with the rise of bit Moji, he and nowhas his own Bitmoji. So it doesn't even even have to have the statuewith us. With the statues, kind of this comber, some heavy thing, but I could be anywhere, take a snap and then add a bitMoji to it with father cats likeliness and persona, and I was a sudden. Now it feels like Father Marquette's talking to you, this sort of friendlyimage from a, you know, what can feel like an impersonal big institution. I love it's such a good idea. Yeah, Tim, I think whenmost people think about snapchat they're thinking this is for the traditional student oreven younger. How exclusive is snapchat for the traditional student versus some of yourother social channels? So I mean snapchat really is? I tell people,you know, it's four hundred and twenty five and younger. There's definitely somesome give to that, and I saw maybe a year ago articles about howold people were flocking to snapchat. I think that was a little just tosee like what their teenagers maybe we're doing or whatever, and I don't knowif it lasted, but it's so far. It really has, I think,persisted as this place for younger audiences, the kind of eighteen to twenty five, eighteen twenty three. When I've been in focus groups with college students, they've kind of said the same thing as like yeah, part of theappeal is like my friends are there, you know, and it's like aplace for us to hang out, as opposed to like a place with mygrandparents and parents and aunts and uncles to all hang out. So, youknow, people also forget that facebook started...

...as a place that was just exclusivefor college students and it was seen as this kind of young party scene,and that's obviously very much a change with grandparents being on there and being avery big demographic and older demographic. So I think to surpass kind of justthat one barrier of snapchat wants to grow. They actually are now called SNAP INCand they're bigger than just the snapchat APP. They, you know,I think last year rolled out these spectacles where you could take pictures with yourglasses, kind of a trend, your version of Google Glass, and Ithink that's where we're headed as wearables, you know, become bigger. Ithink we're in the very early stages of wearables and things that live in youryour house, like a person, like Alexa and Google home and all thosesort of things. I could see snap reaching older demographics and different demographics thanjust you're twenty, some things in your teens with that Rowe we just haven'tseen it yet and it remains to be seen how they do with that.I love it. I love it. I think a lot of Higher Edadmins are often skeptical of social channels for anything more than just mere brand awareness. If they're looking at what's your Roy Tim how is this really helping usgrow in enrollment here? What's your response to something like that? So there'sthis thing it's kind of the silly thing that's game. If I gammification thingin snapchat called streaks, where if you reply back to people more than threedays, there's a little flame next to both your names and you've started astreak. So now if you you send a message back and forth both ofyou every day, you maintain the streak and you add a number to it. If you don't, you lose the streak and it seems like a sillything, but it's a big deals, especially big deal to, you know, prospective students and in young students. So we've done this. We havestreaks going back and forth at this father marquete account with a number of highschool students and current students. But what one anecdo that can share, whichI think was really notable, is is a high school student who semi sendFather Marquette a message on decision day and...

...said Hey, Father Marquette, I'vemade my decision, I'm where I'm going to college and and I like snapback was like and like don't keep me in suspense in Father Marquet, becausehis friend, she speaks a it's a little friends. So it's like Moname and that sort of thing so it sprinkling, like the limited amount ofFrench I know, some color and character. And and then she wrote back withboth the bit Mooji's or snap back with both the bit Moojians. I'vedecided to come to Marquette, you know. And then I celebrated and took screenshotsand center back a message with, you know, celebrating Father Marquette.And then, like shortly after that, on the Hundredth Day of our streak, she was on a field trip with her friends and took a picture inwith all of her friends in the back of a bus on a field tripand said Hey, today, father marquetes days are hundred day of the streakand we, like you, get like some special designation for that. Andso, like all of her friends and her really celebrating with Father Marquette,I'm like, this is great. You know, it's not that. It'snot just her, it's a social experience that she's sharing with all our friends. And so I you know, it because of the demographic of perspective studentSnapchat is is a extremely important channel. I think that's the really important reminderfor us that a great example of a student who was deeply connected with yoursocial channels very early in the funnel. I think we often put a lotof emphasis on our website, making that first touch relationship some of our ourtop level advertising, as well as the relationships that the develop with our enrollmentcoach. But this student specifically had a deep, Long, streaky relationship withFather Marquette before she actually made her decision. So it is absolutely influential. That'sreally exciting. Tim You've been very public about how you didn't get snapchatoriginally. I'm the same. What would you say to another college university who'shesitant to jump on board the SNAPCHAT train? How do they get over that fear? I don't understand it. And then what should they do to beas creative as what you've done with with Father Marquette? Marquette. So Iteach fair number of snapchat workshops and I've done some webinars and that and thatsort of thing. And you know,...

...there's, I guess, two piecesof advice. One, as I'd say, just talk to your kids or yourcousin or your you know someone at that family re union who's snapping allday. Like ask them, like you know, ask them why they're usingit. What appeals to them and they'll tell you they'll really open up unlessyou really enjoy it. One of the most fascinating things I've I've been apart of the summer is doing focus groups. Done three hours worth of focus groupswith college students and just have them tell me, you know, whythey use snapchat, why it still appeals to them. And then the secondone is goes back to the streaks and I actually tell people you don't getit at for you won't get it at first. You will. It willfeel really awkward and it feel really different and that's because snapchat is built firstand primarily and only for phones, and that's a sea change from people whogrew up with computers. So if you if you use the computer before youuse to phone, you're going to find snapchat weird and it's going to takea while to understand how it works as a mobile first application. I tellpeople, even if you're sending the dumbest snaps, even if you don't knowwhat you're doing, start a streak with someone else, a trusted friend whowill do it, and then just every day a little more comfortable and you'llunderstand it. And and then, even if you again, you don't useit and it's not for you. That's fine. It's just now. You'llunderstand it if you want to understand it from a marketing and communication perspective.Love it. Super help of advice and, I think, a great reminder that. I think a lot of US listen to this and in me myselfgo boy, if I only had a tim you know, someone who couldbe creative and thinking in, you know, bit Emoji and snap slang. That'swhat we need. Me, this kind of amateur standup comedian, andone I think, well, I think that might help. I think whatyou just helped the audience realize is that, know, you were data driven.You you decided what to be based on the research and you did yourhomework and and your own personality and creativeness and cleverness helps greatly. But you'regiving people what they want, which is, I think, a really important lessonfor all of us. Yeah, Tim anything else we haven't covered yettoday that you want to make sure our listeners understand about snapchat or social asthey go off to kind of lead the way thrown campus and institution. Oneof the piece of data that came out...

...of these focus groups. I askstudents what percent authentic are you on facebook and what percent authentic are you onsnapchat? How much of are you yourself? And they say, and this isn'tseparate focus groups and the overwhelming answers on facebook, on about ten percentmyself, and on stapchat I am eighty five to ninety five percent myself.And I tell people snapchat's really a throwback to prescial media communication because it's faced. It is, you know, it's media through technology, but it iskind of facetoface. You're showing these moments that are ephemeral, that disappear,and it's just like having a conversation with your friend over the fire with somebeers. There's no one keeping a record of that conversation. It's in themoment. It's what you're talking about right now. It's sharing kind of anephemeral but lasting experience and when they're using snapchat that kind of see the samething. A's like maybe I'm communicating with a friend, you studying abroad,someone who's, you know, in different city or whatever, but I'm sharinga quick, authentic moment. There's no record of it after this because it's, you know, into thin air. But I'm able to be myself thatway rather than something that lives on my facebook timeline that all my aunt's unclescan see for eternity. So it's really this you can think of snapchat is, even though it feels kind of like new and futuristic and different, it'sreally kind of going back to some of those core principles of communication. That'sso awesome it. We've been doing our own research at Helix and realizing thatboth adult students and Gen Z are valuing authenticity more than anything, and Ithink that's just a great motivation to will embrace the channel that forces you tobe at so great empowering lesson for all of us Tim thank you so muchfor joining us today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with youif they have any follow up questions? So they can follow me on snapchatif they want, though it's pretty much just pictures of my kids and thatis my user name is t cycle Tim tee cyclee Tim and then, ifthey if they want a more traditional if you call it that, I'm atSegalski on twitter and it's at Cigel Skae.

Happy to talk more about snampchet oranswer questions and I have a medium publication where I'm working through some ofthe kind of communication theories behind snapchat, and I post links to those mediumposts on twitter so they can certainly follow along and happy answer questions. Awesome. He is a good follow of folks. Go ahead and do it, Timthank you so much for joining us today. Anytime, Erica, you'vebeen listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you nevermiss an episode, subscribe to the show on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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