At Binghamton University, it now pays to have school pride, as BU recently launched a social media program that gives prizes to those who share the University’s media posts.
The new initiative, called GreenMachine, is supported by SocialToaster, a company that helps organizations, like universities, create marketing outreach and curate an active online community. The program is open to students, faculty and alumni who sign up by connecting their social media accounts on the SocialToaster website. The initiative is part of BU’s plan to increase engagement with their official social media accounts.
Through the website, users can log on with their social media accounts like Facebook or Instagram and share posts from various BU social media accounts with their friends and followers. Other features include a section where users can write a message showing their support for BU and post it on Twitter or Facebook. To incentivize users, each time the ambassadors complete an activity, like sharing a picture from the BU Twitter, they will be awarded points. These points accumulate and users are ranked on a monthly leaderboard. For each monthly contest, users have a chance to redeem prizes such as gift cards and BU apparel and accessories.
According to Ryan Yarosh, BU’s senior director of media and public relations, some winners are chosen randomly, while others are determined through points. Yarosh wrote in an email that the program has already reached 200 members since its launch in late January and will enhance communication and connections between the University and its online community.
“This program is working to make it easier than ever for our campus community to engage with and share great stories from [BU],” Yarosh wrote. ”Whether it’s the schedule for Homecoming or sharing a fun blog with our students, each communication that goes to our GreenMachine members is carefully crafted to resonate with all of our audiences and provide them with continued positive experiences.”
At the top of the leaderboard for February is Christina Ritter, ’99, who also chairs the Washington, D.C. chapter of the BU Alumni Association, a global network of BU alumni. Ritter wrote in an email that she was first exposed to the program at a meeting about raising alumni engagement.
“I went to a [Council for Advancement and Support of Education] conference in November pertaining to alumni engagement, and one of the things they talked about was social media presence and engagement,” Ritter wrote. ”After the conference, I was talking with Kim Faber, executive director of alumni engagement, and she told me that [BU] invested in SocialToaster, to be branded GreenMachine, and would launch in January. I was looking forward to seeing how it would work and get involved.”
So far, Ritter wrote that her experience with the website has been positive. She wrote that she loves the competitive aspects of the program, especially the leaderboard.
“I have been enjoying sharing [BU] content on social media,” Ritter wrote. “It helps me pay more attention to what is happening on campus, with the alumni association and with athletics. Also, I love the competitive element. When I log in I like to see that I’m at the top of the leaderboard and try to post daily so I can stay there.”
In the future, Ritter wrote that it would be nice for the University to promote the winners and feature them with their prizes. However, as a whole, Ritter wrote that she can already see the positive impact it has.
“I already know it’s working — my alumni friends and connections are liking my posts and sharing them on their social networks,” Ritter wrote. ”It’s helping them connect to [BU]. It’s exciting to spread #BingPride!”