UVic’s communication and marketing department chose eight students through an Instagram contest to feature on a UVic-sponsored BuzzFeed post, which was published July 29.
The inspiration originated from other universities using Instagram to promote their campus’ diversity, said UVic web co-ordinator Jes Scott. The post, titled “UVic Students To Follow On Instagram,” follows the traditional list-style articles that BuzzFeed is known for. The list features a wide variety of students in different programs, locations of the world, and proximity to graduation.
“Knowing a lot of great students posting regularly and using our hashtag, I’m always monitoring it and looking for great pictures,” said Scott.
“We put out a callout to nominate themselves or their friends, and I got some responses. There were a lot of great student posts out there. It was perfect for BuzzFeed, which is great for lists like that.”
Scott explored numerous publication options, but settled on BuzzFeed for its popular list-style posts and free of cost publishing.
Although the post is not specifically tied to a marketing campaign, Scott referred to it as an ongoing strategy to “make student voices be heard, and shown on social media, to represent what people are actually doing,” she said.
“We know that students want to see their university represented on social media, so we’re trying to do our best to give them content they will find valuable in places they want to see it.”
During the fall semester, Kaitie Szabo, a second-year health and recreation student, posted a photo of a rainbow accompanied by a UVic hashtag. The photo was re-posted by the official UVic account. Her friends then nominated her a week prior to the BuzzFeed post, and she was chosen to be on the list.
“I think it’s to get people more involved. When this is popping up on their News Feed, they get excited about UVic and the beautiful scenery it has to offer,” she said.
Szabo shared her information over Instagram, and was very pleased and surprised to be chosen.
“I liked how they did a lot of variety. At first I thought they were all people who worried a lot about their Instagram pictures, who put a lot of time into it,” she said. “It seemed it was focusing on showing what kind of people UVic has, and the variety of it all.”
Szabo admits gaining over 100 new followers since the list was published. She credits BuzzFeed’s popularity and accessibility to all students as a website that anyone can relate to.