Competition encourages student involvement on GV social media

Competition encourages student involvement on GV social media

Lizzy Balboa

All that time spent procrastinating on Facebook and Twitter and any other interactive site will finally pay off for a few Grand Valley State University students.

GVSU launched a competition Monday for students to design a social media plan to remodel the university’s online presence to adapt to user demands. The winner will receive $500 while second place earns $300.

The contest will run through March 31, and a group of judges from the Seidman marketing department will select the top five submissions to be viewed by GVSU’s News and Information Services. The NIS currently manages all the official university social media accounts and will select the best plan to possibly implement in the near future.

“The point is to make some way of communicating Grand Valley’s brand in a positive way, whether it be in pictures, posts or whatever,” said graduate student Dustin Cole, who is a graduate assistant for the Seidman marketing department. Cole worked with two professors from his department to develop the competition.

“I know Grand Valley has been trying to bring more traffic onto their social media sites,” he said, adding that the competition is an opportunity to receive user feedback.

Leah Twilley of News and Information Services said social media is an important component in relaying the university’s story to the community.

“The university’s biggest audience on social media is students, so it’s important that we are aware of the types of content they want to see about Grand Valley,” Twilley said. “That’s one reason we’re excited about this competition. It will allow students to share fun ideas and their opinions, plus it’ll provide valuable feedback for our team on our current practices.

Social media is a growing part of business and communications, and we think it’s a good idea to give students an experience they can use in interviews and the real world after graduation.”

Although the competition is meant to generate new ideas for social media activity, Cole said there is nothing wrong with the university’s current strategy.

“GVSU’s doing a fine job with its strategy right now,” he said. “It’s an attempt to increase what Grand Valley can do with what it already has and unify its social media sites.”

He added that this competition is really a “bridge” to increase student participation in the university.

Dave Poortviet of GVSU’s institutional marketing department said he thinks students can offer positive improvements to the university social media accounts because they are often in a position to capture moments that staff and faculty cannot. Poortviet said Instagram is one specific platform on which students currently contribute to the university image.

“Students are out there every day attending events and walking around on campus,” he said. “The (GVSU) staff and faculty can’t be out there all the time.”

Cole said he does not know of any other universities that have allowed students to provide input in social media platforms, but other schools have attempted other technological practices that require student involvement. Some allow students to take over the official Twitter feed for a day or so, which is a strategy that has been discussed at GVSU, Cole said.

For now, though, students can get involved through the competition.

Entrants can develop a plan for specific departments or GVSU as a whole on one or all of the social media platforms, which include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. For a complete list of official university accounts, visit

More information can be found on the Seidman marketing Facebook page.
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