Well, how *great* was this year’s CASE Europe Social Media and Community Conference?
And by ‘great’ I mean actual greatness – not the sarcastic kind.
Seriously, last week’s two days in Brighton were an absolute pleasure to be part of – few conferences on the circuit manage to pack so much learning and so much love into such a short space of time. The use of the word ‘community’ in its title is wholly apt.
Team TAP was there as the event’s main sponsor this year and had an absolute blast – it was terrific to meet you all.
By way of rounding up what we learned, this blog is a conference rewind supplemented by a load of our tweets – we could (and probably should) have used tweets from other delegates for this really, but we didn’t want to be accused of favouritism…and we’re desperate for your attention 😉 Do check out the hashtag to see the entire conversation.
Oh, and keep reading all the way for details of the free trial we're offering all delegates as a thank you for being so ace!
Anyway, here’s what we got up to in Brighton…
Personal brand matters
Something a bit different to ease us in; a session on the importance of personal branding from Howard Lake. It was really eye-opening and was about so much more than just talking about yourself. Having a strong personal brand has a number of tangible benefits – and resolving to be excellent and help others is a pretty great mantra for life, isn’t it?
We are *not* imposters
Alistair Beech’s session of positive wellbeing and mental health was, in a word, fantastic. Hearing Alistair’s own story was powerful as heck, and the room was nodding in agreement throughout. We need to be better at switching off and managing internal expectations – saying ‘no’ helps with the latter.
Biggest takeaway though – the struggle with imposter syndrome is real. Really real. Even though we are all amazing, inspirational and fully deserving of our jobs. Please try and remember this!
What is happening here?
The Matrix is glitching.
Content, content, content
The content creation workshop from Dan Marrable and Rob Armstrong-Haworth was a real combination of fundamentals, interesting stats and space for creative thinking. Tips such as ‘set goals that align to your business objectives’, ‘learn everything you can about your audience’ and ‘research the competition’ sound basic when you see them typed out, but they deserve to be front-of-mind in your planning. Also, learning what the most popular types of content are on Facebook was mega helpful.
Teams of one unite
It was awesome to see Katy Duddell’s insights on coping as a team of one graduate from an unconference session in 2018 to a full presentation this time around. Again, lots of this talk resonated with lots of people in the room – expect to see lots of delegates threatening to go on strike until they get given a work phone! For me, though, the biggest takeaway was to remember that no-one else out there will look at and analyse your work to the same level you do – don’t worry about going for ‘easier’ content when you need to and don’t obsess over details that no-one will likely even notice.
Day 1 ended with Tim Watkins talking through how he wound up telling a bunch of racists to ‘jog on’. But, fun as that was, it was about so much more than that. The crux of his session was actually a cry for institutions to remember the ‘social’ part of social media and talk like a human on them. Why do this? Well, it differentiates you – let’s face it, most corporate missions (and websites) are pretty similar. Make yourself stand out by using social media to get your character across. Speak with your audience and be genuine – not being genuine is worse than doing nothing.
Apparently you *can’t* pay for a round of drinks with your hotel key card.
Day 2 kicked off with a panel session about Reddit that was so full of useful insight it was difficult to keep up. Overall, it’s clear that Reddit is daunting and full of potential pitfalls, but also has a tonne of potential to get more eyes on your institution’s research content and broaden the reach of your academics. AMAs are marvellous, but any academic you put forward to host one needs to be a good communicator and needs to be able to cope with being questioned – and possibly criticised – by non-academics. Also, avoid self-promotion…Reddit does not approve.
Make research great again
The challenge of getting amazing social media and digital content to support your research outputs is never going to go away, so the joint session from Dr Carla Banks and Cat Prill was mega helpful. Don’t just do things for the sake of it, don’t try and polish turds with a bit of glossy production and make sure you take the time to collaborate with your researchers.
This is a fact.
We’re here for the comments
Our own Becca and Nik came armed with a tonne of useful stats about International students use Instagram – taken from our awesome Instagram report that you can get hold of right here. A big takeaway was the importance of Instagram comments; international students are using them to ask questions, but almost half of said questions are going unanswered!
It’s beginning to look a lot like…UGC
It was fascinating hearing from Tony Sheridan – and not just about his various appearances on reality TV. He told the story of how he’s been collaborating with student content creators at Limerick for quite amazing results, in particular their student-made Christmas video in 2018 that put John Lewis to shame. Tony trusted his students and they delivered with a brilliant product. He’s going to be working with them again later this year *and* is broadening his student creator net to include journalism students, who will soon be creating content for the University that they will be graded on. Powerful stuff.
The final session of the conference came from Adam Koszary, who told us all about how he made a huge sheep go viral last year. But, he didn’t stop at that. He attracted and maintained a huge new audience for the Museum of English Rural Life’s Twitter account by constantly giving them a reason to come back – great content told with an engaging, human tone of voice. Key takeaways are to have a personality, be authentic and relevant and to adapt to the Internet rather than expect it to adapt to you. Oh, and stop just posting photos and saying what they are.
We love you all
Thanks for being so friendly! Same time next year?
As a thank you for being such wonderful fellow delegates, we’re offering all CASE SMC delegates a free three-month trial of our content feature – not bad, right? Just fill in this form and we’ll be in touch to set you up!