Recruiting and reputation are more important than ever
Thanks to Jennifer Jablonski, assistant dean for enrollment management, for this story.
Social media has a big impact on music schools’ recruiting and reputation; as a result, music admissions directors across the country are very invested in their schools’ social media. It’s not just today's prospective students who seek school information online on websites and on social media; key influencers in their decisions like their music teachers and parents, as well as our current students, our alumni and our peers at other schools, look to our social media to keep them updated about what the UofSC School of Music is doing.
Initially Dean Harding and I wanted to develop a social media plan that involved music performance and would give us an interactive way for faculty and staff to reach out to prospective students and those key influencers while also engaging our prospective and committed music students. The ad-hoc committee with Jeff Francis, Kunio Hara, Danny Jenkins, Mike Laroche and Tina Stallard guided Tayloe and me in improving our idea — polishing it up — and making it happen quickly. Of course, we would have never been able to do this without Jeff’s outstanding editing skills. Danny Jenkins did a fabulous job creating PDFs of the musical parts and a guide to recording our parts. I’m also grateful for the faculty and staff who made their videos from home. Dean Harding recorded different introductions to the videos, depending on the audience. We met our deadlines and released videos on social media and emailed students’ links to the videos late last week.
The next phase of the project is for our committed students to record their own version of the alma mater — maybe while wearing Gamecock colors, maybe in their high school graduation cap and gown— and post to their own social media as a public celebration of their decisions to become part of our Gamecock School of Music family. They will tag their submissions #UofSC24 and #UofSCMusic so we can find them and share some of them on our own social media page throughout May, leading up the university’s June 1 enrollment deadline. We hope that music students who are still “on the fence” about their college decision will be impressed with our talented committed students and want to join them in studying music at UofSC and making their own celebratory video.
There are other benefits to the project, too, like we all really liked: one of them is the sharing the gift of an alma mater performance – in a way it’s never been presented before – during a challenging time for our current and graduating students, our alumni, our faculty and staff, and our friends of the university. One of my favorite parts of the project has been seeing our graduating students, who have had to deal with a delayed Commencement celebration, proudly sharing the video with comments such as, “This is MY SCHOOL.❤️” Of course, the alma mater is cherished by all Gamecocks and performing it as one at sports events is one of our greatest traditions; it’s been rewarding to see Gamecock sports fans enjoying and sharing the video, too, at a time when we’re all missing spring sports and worried about fall sports.
So far, I’m really pleased with the results, with more an organic reach of more than 30,000 and more than 200 shares on Facebook alone for the first phase of the project. We have spent no money to promote it.
But there is more work to do still. The ad-hoc committee has some ideas about yet another phase to the project that will unfold over the summer. We’re still working out the details on that with a planned deadline of August, around the opening of the fall semester.