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Owen Hurford

Cardinal Newman College Student Union was founded in 2012 from the Student Council of the college, and I was privileged to be part of the committee that formed it. Taking the logo and the slogan "Made of Many, Working as One", I helped develop it into a brand and get the message about the work we did out on campus.

Throughout the year various methods of communication were used to keep 2000 students interacting with the Student Union and developing their awareness of the work we did. Social Media, E-mail campaigns, Print materials and Promotions Teams all formed part of the strategy for making sure the union was well promoted throughout the college. This resulted in the highest ever engagement of students in within-college and mid-year events.

Social Media

As this was a new start for the Student Council it was appropriate to think of new ways to communicate. I spearheaded the development of Facebook and Twitter for the Student Union to allow engagement with students using the channels they use most. These pages attracted likes from enrolment day with new students responding well to posters and a promotion stand made available that day.

Throughout the year the audience continued to grow. Posts were designed to be as engaging as possible, leading to high viral sharing of content on both Facebook and Twitter. Getting within a user's newsfeed is key to getting the message out so successful sharing was key to ensuring events got appropriate attention.

People sharing on their own profiles, however, is even more valuable. Throughout the year clickable Tweet and Share links were distributed to encourage further engagement with all social channels. Allowing sharing to happen rapidly is key to creating viral content. So, the social networks were monitored regularly to make sure content was being distributed and students were respecting the intentions of the networks.

Print Materials

Print materials cannot be underestimated in their ability to communicate with people. Every event was promoted both online and with print media at identified key sites. This was showcased well during a promotional takeover during the two Induction Days for new students. Print posters were displayed at all main doors, intersections and meeting points, as well as at all retail locations.

The marketing takeover went further with table triangles being placed in all social areas giving students links to social media accounts, our office location and instructions on how to access the free wi-fi provided to all students. A promotions team also stood with a skyscraper banner during the day to give guidance to lost students as well as distribute union business cards to students whose tutor groups hadn't been visited that morning.

The use of posters and leafleting continued throughout the year with promotions for NUS Extra cards and student club nights. As a result the 2012/13 NUS Extra sales dwarfed the previous year's and student club nights in October and March were some of the best attended ever, requiring emergency ticket print runs for both.

Promotions Teams

I helped to lead promotions teams promoting all manner of events and offers at the college. These included delivering leaflets for NUS Extra cards to students, managing a sales desk and promoting Ben & Jerrys Happy Cows campaign dressed as a Cow. Promotion resources were developed for each occasion to ensure best engagement was gained, including using tablet computers to generate student sign-ups and creating a mobile sales kit.

There were many other events throughout the year, such as the Preston Guild Street Party where views on Preston were collected for a Guild Time Capsule. The Union was also active within Our World Week, promoting environmental issues to students, and various fairs throughout the year. Each event increased student engagement with the Union and the success of the events it ran.

E-Mail/Direct Marketing

About once a week an e-mail was delivered to students, promoting a Student Union event or activity that was going on at the college. I occasionally sent the emails to promote specific events or provide end-of-term information. These e-mails normally contained especially designed graphics and interactive calls to action. E-mails sent for competitions always included a click-to-reply or click-to-share link allowing fast interaction with the campaign, and so greatly increased participation.

The end-of-term emails took several different forms over the year, from a traditional e-mail newsletter to interactive animations online. The interactive animation emails received the biggest engagement with students often responding to the calls to action within the main body of the email. All e-mail campaigns were backed up with posts on social media networks which led to further engagement of the student body.