Throughout the year there will be periods of time that carry a special spirit, and that usually aligns with the spirit and mission of Switchboard. These are the perfect times to leverage your Switchboard to essentially work in tandem with the spirit of the season towards generating more positive momentum on your Switchboard.
There are many times throughout the year when this can happen, and below are outlines of a few campaigns to consider doing.
Thanksgiving/december holiday campaign
Generate positive momentum on your SB through planned prompts and strategic outreach to existing and potential users that can build in proceeding months.
1. Week 1
a. send out email to target groups (e.g. '14 alumni or '12-'14 alumni) with language around introducing the SB, but also a prompt that gives readers a small task to think about what they are thankful for from their college experience and turning that into an ask or offer to put on the SB to pay it forward.
b. Put postcards with SB URL stamped on them in current student mailboxes and any alumni mailing(s) that are going out
c. Announce "giving thanks" request on social media (even putting an ask on your SB)
d. Talk with any other departments that may want to partner up to discuss how to do so before doing anything listed above.
2. Week 2
a. Hold special tabling session(s) (special in that the conversation wouldn't just be about introducing people to SB and having them sign up/post, but potentially bringing idea of turning what people are thankful for into an ask/offer and doing that with people that are at the table).
b. Highlighting great posts/success stories on social media (as well as tabling sessions)
3. Week 3 (11-16-15 to 11-20-15)
a. Similar to Week 2, but this could be also be a place to invite more folks from a broader range of class years to sign up. Since there would be more activity on your SB, this could yield more users signing up and engaging with your SB.
4. Week 4 (11-23-15 to 11-26-15)
a. Highlight activity from past weeks in email newsletter to advertise your SB to more potential users
Create new lasting value for graduating seniors as they become alumni, as well as engage broader alumni community in supporting graduating seniors.
1. Ahead of graduation (e.g. 3 months before), prompt current graduating seniors using your switchboard to think about posting something around their transition into the world. This can be done using the "Campaigns" feature.
2. Prompt alumni at the same time as current graduating seniors above to be on the lookout for posts from graduating seniors around transitioning. This can also be done using the "Campaigns" feature.
a. The prompt could also be more focused. For example, the prompt to alumni could encourage them to post an offer about housing graduating seniors if they are in an area where graduating seniors might be moving to.
3. Hold a special event that lasts for a day (or a few days) where any new post will get a reply from someone that may be able to help with that post. An excellent way to nudge hesitant folks to post, as well as encourage posting clearly demonstrates the tone and purpose of your switchboard.
SPRING BREAK CAMPAIGN
Encourage posting centered around advice and life-after-graduation preparations for students from alumni to not only engage alumni, but provide new options to pursue for students during their Spring Break.
1. Send targeted messages to various parts of the community on specific days. Having the first message go out a few weeks before Spring Break occurs allows for alumni to have time to post offers, as well as provides time for students to make contact and make necessary arrangements.
2. Diversify messaging by utilizing email, the campaigns feature in your Switchboard, existing social media (e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn), and in-person opportunities to promote the campaign.
3. Provide particular topics for posting and action items in all messaging. For example, the first message to alumni encouraging them to participate in the campaign and post around particular topics could sound like, "Give back to help students make the most of their Spring Break by posting an offer for: 1) a job shadow; 2) an informational interview; 3) a coffee meet-up."
Ask Me Anything (AMA) Campaign
Stimulate high-value posting that creates meaningful activity in the present and information that is valuable for future use by the community.
1. This campaign was done very well by Oberlin College, and the main organizer of the campaign wrote a detailed blog post about the genesis of the idea, planning and implementing the idea, and the results from the campaign. Here is the link to that post.
"May Day" Campaign
Inject a significant amount of momentum very quickly around commencement to encourage communication and connection between graduating seniors and alumni (could easily be adapted to include other class years as well).
1. This campaign was created by Oberlin College, for which it won a CASE Gold Award, and the steps they took to put the plan into practice is described here in a detailed blog post that touches on planning, implementation, the results, and the takeaways from the campaign.
Inspire activity that encourages students to use your Switchboard to begin thinking about upcoming breaks and summer preparations, but also encourages alumni to post offers for juniors/seniors based on what they wished they had or wished they had done at the beginning of the new year. This campaign is also a great way to collaborate with multiple offices to support their efforts for the new year.
1. First send a message to your alumni with the "What I wish I had or wish I had done" call-to-action to populate the Switchboard with fresh offers around this topic.
2. Once posts from alumni begin to come in, promote the campaign to students through trusted channels (e.g. email blast, having RAs talk about it, tabling, the Switchboard Campaigns feature, etc.). If students don't find something that resonates with them from the offers, encourage them to post an ask.
3. Be sure to cross-post activity onto your other social media to ensure that you cast as wide of a net as possible. The more people that see the message and can be shepherded to your Switchboard to participate, the better.