Texas A&M Scavenger Hunt Demonstrates Viability Of Social Media Marketing
Texas A&M University stretched its already immense presence in the social media realm by 10 percent over a period of three days with its first-of-its-kind Social Media Scavenger Hunt. The event, designed to increase campus social media activity, enhance business relationships and vivify student life, exceeded expectations.
“The Scavenger Hunt was unequivocal proof that social media and education can roll together and result in strong business growth,” says Diane C. McDonald, director of social media with Texas A&M’s Division of Marketing & Communications.
Texas A&M launched its unprecedented social media scavenger hunt on January 25. Using an integrated social media approach, Texas A&M leveraged its strong presence on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the location-based service Foursquare to promote the hunt, distribute clues and reward winners.
Throughout the three-day event, participants followed clues to different campus locations. Approximately 80 students received prizes donated by Adidas, the Texas A&M MSC Bookstore ― operated by Barnes and Noble ― and other campus partners.
As part of the program, Texas A&M integrated these partners through its relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Company. This inclusion resulted in the dual success of increased revenue and school spirit as many of the Adidas and Texas A&M-branded items were prizes for participants. All of the prizes were donated to the event, and with the high-volume of student participation, the campus bookstore saw a dramatic spike in customer traffic.
McDonald said, “The university noted a 10-percent increase in the number of followers of its Twitter feed – @TAMUtalk – to more than 8,700 followers, and grew its recently announced Foursquare program to more than 6,350 friends.”
Texas A&M utilized its Facebook and You Tube channels to promote the hunt. Twitter was the channel of choice to play, as clues were distributed only through its channel @TAMUtalk. To win, students checked in to the venues on Foursquare.
Through the event, students found a shortcut to solving the clues by watching what buildings were trending on Foursquare. Establishing a hashtag #TAMUhunt that used the main Texas A&M Hashtag #TAMU enabled others to follow along by keeping a stream open using #TAMUhunt.
One of the 223 participant tweets with the #TAMUhunt tag said, “#TAMUhunt makes me feel like Indiana Jones on campus. Let’s check-in and win! (cue theme music).”
The final clue led to the home of Texas A&M President, R. Bowen Loftin. Known for his signature bowties, Loftin greeted scavenger hunt participants and awarded bowties as prizes.
“We are extremely fortunate to have a president who sees the benefits of social media to not only communicate with current students, but to engage them across the campus in a fun and exciting way,” said Jason Cook, vice president for marketing and communications. “The scavenger hunt provided an opportunity to create a student connection with President Loftin, while also leveraging our social media inventory and strategic partners for growth.”
Participants not only learned more about the university, but also became better acquainted with their fellow Aggies, while university officials gained an even better appreciation of the power of social media.
University officials are already discussing plans to replicate the scavenger hunt for different audiences, such as prospective students and other campus visitors. Other campus offices and departments are exploring ways to offer campus specials on Foursquare, McDonald notes.
“We are also exploring ways to utilize the university’s digital collections on research and history to enhance the Foursquare check-in experience,” McDonald adds.
McDonald continued, “The student connections and exploration of the campus were the overwhelming student rewards for participating, There are so many social media platforms that serve different purposes, and finding a way to pull together the best ones into a cohesive social media package that builds a brand, is difficult to do – Texas A&M pulled it off.”
A photo album from the scavenger hunt is available on the university’s Facebook page.
Links to Texas A&M social media sites: