Posted by Daniela ● 4 July 2018
How NOT To Run A Campus Event
Recent reports show that face-to-face engagements are still a vital means of attracting talent despite the ‘social media age’. This is great news because although social media supplies a platform to host glossy interactive videos and fun memes, it does limit the meaningful conversations and ability to network with your target audience.
The interactive touch points you have with students, whether they are online or offline, are incredibly important. Important in that students remember that event, that email or that social media campaign and forever associate those memories with your brand.
With the unpredictable nature of events, especially on university campus, it’s easy to be remembered for the wrong reasons. This is why we want to offer you a guide on how NOT to run a campus event in the hope that it will minimise the chances of disaster.
Don't... Have too many objectives
What’s your main purpose for going on to campus? Is it to attract more females? Raise awareness of your CSR initiatives? Shout out about your new scheme?
Whatever your objective, make sure you’re not trying to tick too many boxes or please too many people. Pairing a female attraction strategy with the promotion of your new environmental CSR initiatives could end in a very confusing message across all of your promotion, including at your event.
Clear goals will allow you to target your message to the right audience, and have clear KPIs and metrics that will allow you to measure the success of your event more effectively.
Don't... Forget how you’re measuring the success of your campaign
Talking of metrics, don’t forget about them!
Coming up with an innovative concept and executing the events strategy like a pro is fantastic until you’re sat in a debrief meeting and realise that you have no data or analytics to back up the success of the campaign.
It’s good to establish early on how you want to measure the effectiveness of your campaign. From social media interactions, competition entries or data collection... what you decide to measure will allow you to develop a marketing strategy for your events which will have impact and achieve results.
Don't... Make Assumptions
Campus events can be complicated. There are lots of research elements that need to be done, especially before confirming any dates, times or locations.
A lot of universities have policies about who can go onto their campus and represent their organisations. Don’t assume that you can go to any university campus just because you have student opportunities. So what to do? Ring the student union to understand who they let on to campus, where, when and for how long.
Once you’ve created a relationship with the university, use their knowledge to your advantage. Ask them what days on campus have the highest footfall, the most popular location to host an event and even the best ways to communicate with their students.
Lastly, make sure that there are no university careers fairs scheduled on your chosen date and that your competitors aren’t on campus on the same day. Spending your money on an event for no students to turn up because your biggest competitor is hosting a networking ball at the snazziest hotel in the city is not a good look. Universities are happy to share who’s on campus and will make sure no competitors join at the same time once you book.
Don't... Skip the pre-promotion
Spontaneity is thrilling, a lack of awareness of your presence on campus is not.
Make sure you do pre-promotion to support your activity so students can get excited and attend your event. Use competitions and freebies to entice students to take the time out to give your installation a visit.
You can do this by:
- Have Brand Ambassadors use their university networks to market the event
- Doing targeted Facebook posts based on location to get your message in front of the right students
- Email students who are already in your talent pipeline to encourage them to come and meet you face-to-face
- Get in touch with the university careers services to help raise the profile through their social media and emails
Don't... Dismiss the importance of your Brand Ambassadors
Whether you are using Brand Ambassadors or evangelists from your organisation, defining the purpose of their role and making them excited about your events is key.
Networking can be intimidating for students, so making sure your reps are approachable, relaxed and willing to take the time to chat is vital to the success of your event. They are a reflection on your company and if you want to make your brand and opportunities attractive, having reps who are willing to go above and beyond will do wonders.
Before the event kicks off, make sure you have a team talk so everyone understands their responsibilities and know who to come to if any difficulties arise. If you’re collecting data, setup an internal competition to see who can get the most sign ups, and reward them with a prize!
Don't... Underestimate the power of a freebie
We all know students LOVE freebies, especially edible ones!
Through most surveys and students focus groups we have held at RMP Enterprise, talks of giveaways are always greeted by lots of smiles and nods.
If you’re holding a campus event, think about what branded collateral students can take away with them.
We recommend items which are "instagrammable," such as branded food or reusable coffee cups. If it’s cool, the students will flock!
Giveaways and interaction make you memorable. If your brand makes a stance out on campus and has students talking about what you did and how you did it, then we’re certain you will see a return on investment.
Don't... Leave the students hanging
Now this is really easy to do, especially with all of the focus on pre-promotion and event execution. However…
If students have taken the time out to interact with your brand on their campus then it’s really important that you don’t just stop the conversation there. To remain a contender amongst the influx of marketing messages they are receiving you need to follow up with more information about yourself and your offering.
This is where collecting data is key as it’ll help you carry on that conversation. Make sure you develop an extensive comms plan which is personalised to the student. This will allow you to nurture your early talent pipeline and hopefully receive a lot more quality applications.
Social media competition? Make sure you’re replying and liking people’s comments to keep up your interactivity, re-target those who have visited your landing page or microsite and keep your social media profiles active.
Events can be overwhelming - don’t worry, we get it! However our recommendations are all around making sure that you take the time out to think about every stage of your strategy so that you don’t fall short.
We have trained in-house event specialists who help employers run campus events both nationally and internationally. They have not only experienced how not to run a campus event, but have also perfected how to innovate, implement and execute the campus event of your dreams.
If you have any questions or would like to know how we can help you amplify your message on campus then get in touch!