We held our first #LinkedInLocalTheHague at The Hague University of Applied Sciences on Thursday 16 May from 10.30am-12pm.
International Business THUAS – Trends in Marketing
This event was part of a “Trends in Marketing” minor in the International Business programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. My colleagues teach neuromarketing and big data for a few weeks each, then I teach digital trends. We start with a high level view discussing trends in digital marketing. To make it more interesting for the students, and give them the opportunity to put theory into practice, I like to work on real life cases. This takes a lot of energy and effort as a lecturer to organise, as well as ensure that it still aligns with the required learning objectives, grading expectations and quality levels. However I believe is well worth it, backed up by positive student feedback. Grades are only one aspect of study success. Gaining real life, practical experience and applying knowledge is a whole new level of learning.
LinkedInLocal Brand Audit and Social Media Strategy
In small groups, students first examined a case study about #LinkedInLocal from a marketing and branding perspective. They undertook a brand audit, researching the current online presence of LinkedInLocal across different channels such as (of course) LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, websites and beyond. During the course, there was a really interesting development, where the original movement: https://linkednlocal.com was
They then created a social media strategy, looking forward at an ideal situation. This was a written report that I graded, giving feedback for the next stage of planning the event.
Event planning and promotion with a focus on Digital Trends
To plan the event, we met face to face in class, but then needed to decide on collaboration and communication tools to use as well. After examining and weighing up the pros and cons of options such as Facebook, Trello, Blackboard, Microsoft and others, the students chose What’sApp and Google Docs. In What’sApp, we sent messages about what needed to be done and I checked in regularly with the students. This is the first time I’ve agreed to use What’sApp with a group of students and found it an interesting experience. I actually used my personal phone, and initially shared some colleagues concerns about the boundaries of personal and work…but I gave it a go and it worked well. In Google Docs, we recorded things that needed to be done and who was responsible.
Creating Digital Content
The groups were also challenged to create two pieces digital content. As video is dominating the digital space, one piece of content had to be a video, and the other could be their choice of text, audio or images.
Here’s what the students came up with:
#LinkedInLocalTheHague pre-event videos
#LinkedInLocalTheHague wrap-up videos
In the initial strategy, students all suggested we should promote the event on Instagram, being the channel of choice for many of them. However they also realised in practice that it’s not as simple as just “putting a post on Instagram”. They needed to track down the channel administrators in the university’s marketing and communications department, and gain approval to log in and post. They also had to align their post with the branding of the event, and the university and consider which hashtags to use, as well as include a registration link:
The group who created the infographic above also cleverly adapted this piece of content for Instagram:
They also discovered there is a seperate Instagram account for IB and posted there as well: https://www.instagram.com/ib_thuas/
Another team went more “traditional marketing” and printed flyers to hand out, recognising there is still a place for this:
They also recorded a .gif of them handing it out! Which I can’t upload here in this blog post, but here’s a photo:
LinkedIn Profile Photos
Another team chose their second piece of content to be creating LinkedIn profile photos at the event, and we shared these with participants via a Google Photos album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/DkpjCid5MfwvZ7Xc8
One team took the responsibility to set up an Eventbrite promotion for the event, which also allowed us to easily process registrations. The challenge i set for the students was to have 50 attendees….25 of them and at least 1 additional attendee from either elsewhere within the university or an external company.
Of course we also promoted this event on LinkedIn – I asked students to share on their own profiles, as did I. We agreed to use the hashtag #LinkedInLocalTheHague when we did so.
Theme: The Benefits of International Education
The theme was “The Benefits of International Education”
What we learned
In running any event, some things are bound to go wrong. Overall we did well, but what I personally learned is that despite the great video above from the students on how to get to the location, we needed better signage. Attendees from outside of the university got lost, so I quickly printed out some flyers and stuck to poles downstairs, and asked some students to stand for a few minutes with LinkedInLocal posters to catch any attendees.
I also found that along the way, I needed to really motivate the students which I did via regular messages in WhatsApp. Feedback was positive though with many students saying they had never had such a practical experience as part of their studies.
In terms of learning objectives, these were met with them all agreeing that they had a deeper knowledge of digital trends and how to apply these to a business situation. As a lecturer, I already find grading challenging, but by first creating and sharing a very clear grading rubric with the students for the reports and content they created, I was able to give both grades and feedback on the participation of each group after the event, along with some “feedforward” as well (tips for the future).
Internal THUAS promotion and support
The event was open to all, so I shared the event internally at THUAS on our internal communication network, Yammer. We have around 2000 staff but unfortunately few seem to check Yammer, so I also sent direct emails to my connections. It was also included on the internal staff enewsletter for IB staff. We were grateful at Programme Manager at IB, Rogier Busser, sponsored the tea and coffee at the event and Jan Geerts, Advisor Alumini Relations, came along to speak to the students as well. Clair Moore, IB deputy head also attended.
I hope to run this project again in the future, and there will also be other #LinkedInLocalTheHague events run outside of the university by myself and other hosts. If you’d like more information please contact me. You can of course also connect with me on LinkedIn!