When Andrea Murphy (‘15 BFA) offered to contribute content to the UAlberta Faculty of Arts Instagram and Drama Twitter accounts as a Drama 577 course project in the Winter 2015 term, I hit the heart button.
Andrea was wrapping up her BFA stage management degree and I knew her practical course work in that final stretch would put her in a prime position to capture exclusive, behind-the-scenes, creative activities.
I welcomed Andrea – affectionately known as Andi – on board as part of our social media team from January 2015 to April 2015. We soon had her tweeting daily from the Arts Drama account and uploading one photo per week to our Arts Instagram.
Andi sent “Happy Opening Night!” tweets to local theatre companies with shows featuring the work of U of A alumni, and followed as many Drama grads as she recognized. She also monitored the #yegtheatre and #yegarts hashtags to curate and retweet general, theatre-related news when appropriate.
“Overall, I found the project to be a successful exploration into how a stage manager at the U of A can initiate engagement with our theatre audiences, and support our Arts alumni community online,” says Andi.
During the 2015 Winter term, with Andi’s assistance, the U of A Drama Twitter account saw an 8 per cent increase in followers. More impressively, the Faculty of Arts Instagram account grew by a whopping 30% during the period.
Andi’s recommendations on how to increase student engagement on social media for the upcoming 2015-16 school year:
Put out the call for UAlberta student volunteers from various programs to contribute to Arts social media.
“If we can organize a group of students to contribute right from the start of the year, we can better showcase a variety of Arts student experiences,” says Andi, adding it’s important to share student perspectives with the greater UAlberta community.
Follow @UAlbertastudents on Instagram
Produced by the U of A’s Office of the Registrar, this stunning Instagram account profiles students and shares photos of their experiences. It has earned 6700+ followers to date by revealing the diverse people and campus spaces that make the University of Alberta beautiful.
“In the same style as the @UAlbertastudents account, students could nominate friends or themselves to ‘take over’ the account for a week, thereby sharing their unique experience of being an Arts student at the U of A,” says Andi.
Organize to support our grads online
One of Andi’s goals for the course project was to start a new routine of sending “Happy Opening Night” tweets to Edmonton theatre companies featuring the work of current students, alumni, faculty or instructors.
“I did track this the first three weeks of the project, but after Reading Week, with so many great theatre shows opening in February and with me working on A Dream Play, it was harder to keep tabs,” says Andi.
She suggests the fine arts communications team put out a call at the top of each month on our various Facebook and Twitter accounts (Music, Drama, Art & Design) asking grads to submit projects they’d like to see featured.
As the Faculty of Arts social media lead, I’m keen to put Andi’s tips to the test. Are you an Arts student or alumni interested in getting involved? If so, simply comment at the bottom of the post with your name, and program, and I’ll be in touch!