“The Social Media Brunch was fun, engaging and exciting learning experience. I look forward to the next one.” – Gloria Simpson, Program Manager, International Studies, Institute for International, Global & Regional Studies (IIGaRS)

“The Social Media Brunch was so much more than I was expecting! My colleagues and I left feeling inspired and ready to take action.” – Danny Mann, Assistant Director for Graduate Student Instructional Development, Center for Engaged Instruction.

Everyone gathered on the top floor of the new Merage building overlooking UCI and the surrounding Irvine hills. It was 5 minutes before the presentation was to begin. Over 60 attendees were enjoying a light breakfast and refreshments. Ryan Foland, the Senior Administrator of Social Media and Marketing for the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (OVPTL), stood talking to the AV Services technician, nodding his head.  

Then the presentation began. “Ladies and gentlemen, the first lesson of today is that when you present with technology, prepare to be unprepared,” Ryan said with a big smile. “I have been informed that we have no Audio / Visual. But that is okay. The show will go on!”

And the show did go on!  Attendees from across campus gathered to learn about how to better connect with students at UCI online.

Hosted by the Merage School of Business, the topics covered during the two hour workshop were:


  • How to communicate culture through live streaming platforms
  • Telling better stories through video
  • Software that can help make better images for social sharing


TOPIC 1: Communicating your Culture through Social Media

Cultural fit is crucial for millennials who are at UCI and are looking for on campus resources as undergrad and/or graduate students. Certain social media platforms, like live-streaming, can help to show true cultural colors. Here are three reasons why you should consider sharing your culture on campus through live-streaming on Social Media.

  1. Authenticity:

When it comes to showcasing your department to students, you are competing for their eyes and ears. You may meet people at orientation, or they may stumble upon your unit walking around campus, or they may be referred by a friend. However, a number of students are seeking information online and via social media before they show up at your door.

When they find out about you, there is a good chance that they will search online to learn more. If the students do not know about your department, or never utilize your resources, they will likely judge you first on what they see online. Encouraging students to live-stream their experiences at your office can help them share an authentic experience with their friends.

  1. Real time and Relevant:

Have you ever looked at a YouTube video and then realized that it was from 2012?

Historically, video production was expensive and difficult. Equipment was hard to get, software was expensive, and editing skills were tricky to master. With the advent of the cell phone, combined with social media platforms, video production has never been simpler.

An important value of communicating your culture is communicating the culture that is happening now. Live-streaming platforms showcase what is happening live. Each year a new batch of freshmen come to UCI and with it comes a new potential set of interests and values that will change your culture, ideally for the better.

By looking at culture as something that evolves, it then make sense that you are constantly providing videos and glimpses of your culture as it progresses.

  1. Peer to Peer Marketing:

Have you ever gone to see a movie because one of your best friends told you that you have to see it?

There is no doubt that peer-to-peer marketing is a powerful tool in the real world, and just as much, it should be valued on campus. As a professor, staff member, executive director, etc., the reality is that you have less influence on students than their friends.

Do not take that the wrong way, it is just reality.

We trust what our friends suggest and recommend. Why would they recommend something that we would not like? They know us, and we trust their opinion.

It is important that your department embrace live streamed video.

This will open up a number of opportunities to connect with your existing students and to reach new students.

Social Media such as Facebook Live, Periscope, and other live streaming services are becoming popular with college students. If you learn how to use these platforms, it can help you to leverage the power of students sharing their own experiences with other students.

TOPIC 2: How to Tell Your Story on Social Media through Videos

Storytelling can be a key component of your online strategy, and at the Social Media Brunch, we took a deep dive into how departments can use video to share it. Storytelling allows you to connect with your audience. Stories, especially those about real people, give viewers a concrete message from your department and leave them with something to remember.

Videos are perfect for storytelling on social media. They are the most dynamic form of media we have in our toolbox. Even a 30-second video lets you share a more thorough segment of information than a picture or regular post.

During the Social Media Brunch, we covered the following topics to support learning about storytelling through videos.

  1. The top 10 ways to use videos to tell your stories online
  2. The 20 things you need to consider when shooting video on your mobile phone
  3. Storify – What is it and how can you use it

Telling stories through video also gives you more control in choosing what stories represent your department and how those stories get told.

TOPIC 3: Social Media, Media: Three tools to create better images

Creating images for social media can help improve engagement and make you feel like a pro.  There are some great desktop design tools that make it easy to quickly create multiple graphics for social media, helping to streamline the design process. During the last section of the workshop, we gave live demonstrations about how to use desktop tools to create visuals for Social Media.

The following platforms were suggested as easy to use tools for any department:

  1. Canva – Good for designing presentations, social media graphics, and more with thousands of beautiful layouts.
  2. PicMonkey – Innovative tools for photo editing, graphic designing, and creative collage making.
  3. Adobe Spark– This tool allows you to create different types of visuals: Posts, Pages, and Videos. It is template driven and enables you to edit different features.

Each Social Media Brunch workshop is put on by the OVPTL, and is hosted by a different department on campus. Topics vary each time, and the hosting department helps to identify what topics they would like to cover. If your department / unit is interested in hosting the next Social Media Brunch workshop, please contact Ryan Foland (rfoland@uci.edu) for more details.

The Social Media workshop was professionally recorded by the UCI Media Services and will be available for viewing soon on their YouTube Page. Resources that were developed for the topics covered are also available on the DUE Intranet. If you do not have access to the DUE Intranet and would like to get a copy of the resources, please contact Ryan Foland (rfoland@uci.edu)

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