From what we’ve seen, Storify is a tool that absolutely should be in every advancement or communications officer’s playbook. The San Francisco-based company provides a mind-blowingly easy (and completely free) way for anyone to create curated stories based on social media posts from almost any platform (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram – the list goes on and on).
Now, in a matter of minutes, you can choose the best from among all the posts about your school and publish attractive collections of social media directly on your website or blog. For special events, in particular, many colleges and universities are already using Storify – and yours should, too. Here are four examples:
1. Matriculation and Move-In
Part of the brilliance of Storify is that you can choose to cover an event from any angle – you truly are the curator, and can pick whichever perspective you want when creating the “exhibition”. A perfect example can be found in comparing the different ways that two universities, Tufts and Vanderbilt, covered new students as they prepared to start school.
For Vanderbilt, Storify was a way to build anticipation for matriculation and the start of the fall semester by highlighting the excitement of accepted students. Using a combination of Instagram photos and tweets from incoming freshmen, the “Vanderbilt Class of 2017” Storify was able to generate excitement for Matriculation before anyone had even started making travel plans to head to Nashville.
In contrast, Tufts University (my school – Go Jumbos!) simply covers Matriculation itself, putting together a few official tweets and pictures with some student-produced content. The result is much shorter than Vanderbilt’s effort, but it’s just as effective; our Storify has over 6,700 views, mostly directly from Tufts’ website.
The ability to embed is also one of Storify’s best features, because schools can easily add their creations directly to their own websites without having to link to an external social network.
For Homecoming, we particularly enjoyed Furman University’s “Homecoming Weekend 2012” Storify, because of its effective use of headings to break up the coverage of the event into distinct sections. The Storify begins with ‘Celebrating Furman’ and showcases Homecoming from the perspective of excited returning alumni, and then turns to the events of the day itself with ‘Go Paladins’.
Wake Forest University also had a very effective Storify for Homecoming 2012, going all the way back to September to show that alumni were excited for the event three months before it even began. The Storify also contained links throughout to the alumni magazine and to more information about Homecoming, including a contest that received over 100 entries. So, in just one post, the WFU Alumni office managed to:
Showcase the excitement of returning alums
Promote other alumni office material
Give information about events and contests
Trim thousands of social posts into a contained, attractive format that was embeddable in the alumni website and ended up getting over 6,600 views.
Storify is also compatible with all of the most popular social networks, and schools can use that functionality to showcase content that otherwise would only be seen by a small percentage of the intended audience.
At Boston College, which also marked its 150th anniversary this year in a social campaign, “Reunion Weekend 2013” was brought to the masses by their Storify stream and served as inspiration for this post. Their account was loaded with alumni generated content that show cased the spirit and fun of the occasion…bringing the genuine good memories of the celebration to life.
Meanwhile, In its Reunion Storify, Connecticut College used alumni office-created Vine videos throughout (see below) to give its story more flair and added visual appeal (see how other schools are using Vine for advancement here).
By now, you get it – Storify is a great tool to report on virtually any campus event, and there are countless angles and methods that can be effective using the platform. Just to finish it up with Commencement, both the University of Oregon and Cal State Fullerton have very nice Storifys covering their 2013 graduations, while UC Santa Barbara nicely embedded its Storify right into the university website.
Have any other examples of schools using Storify? Are you using it yourself? Share your stories below!