On October 22, 2011 the Missouri State Fraternity & Sorority Life held the annual fall New Mmeber Day. This day is reserved just for new fraternity and sorority life members to enjoy the company of each other and celebrate the new addition they provide to our community as a whole. As the Director of Outreach on the Panhellenic Execituve Board I took it upon myself to do a little PR work on the event. To keep it simple, I first created a Facebook event and invited chapter presidents to the event encouraging them to invite thier Fall 2011 pledge classes. I wasn’t expecting the best reaction because I was putting the responsibility on the chapter presidents to rely the event via Facebook instead of taking it upon myself. And yet, when I logged onto my Facebook account a day after I created the event there was already 250 attendees.
So, my first PR tactic was a major success. I used the Facebook event to post info about our guest hyponotist and ask the Panhellenic Vice President of New Members to make guest posts as well to rally the new members.
My second PR experiment invovled the Twitter account that I run under my postion on Panhellenic (@mostatefsl). I wasn’t granted permission to have a professional banner made due to my “small budget”. I created my own banner with just a paint brush and buthcer paper. I was expecting a huge response to my banner in more followers to our Twitter account. I figured that because I was reaching so many new people in one central location (over 300 college freshmen in the Plaster Student Union theatre) that our followers would double. The morning of New Member Day I checked our follower count (310 followers) and eagerly awaited until evening to see if my banner had worked its magic. I checked our followers again at roughly 10 p.m. the same night… 313 followers.
So here’s my question… was it my poorly produced banner that kept kids from wanting to follow or do I just chalk it up to my audience being uninterested, unengaged college freshmen?
I’m not sure and I may never find out. What matters is that I got to use the two biggest, most popular social media sites among college students as an experiment and the results benefited me in my position. Results showed that there is a greater presence on Facebook than Twitter, and that waves of communication are stronger on Facebook thus making students more likely to engage in something if they see their friends on Facebook doing the same. This sequence happens on Twitter as well, but perhaps Missouri State freshmen haven’t caught up just yet.