We're pleased to announce the 2011 GoAbroad Innovation Awards finalists in the category of Innovative Use of Social Media. We received many wonderful nominations and the selection committee has chosen five finalists, listed here in alphabetical order.
AmeriSpan Integrated Strategy
AmeriSpan Study Abroad Programs uses an integrated strategy that includes their blog, Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube social media channels. They provide relevant content, not just sales pitches, with an emphasis on personalizing information. They utilize program participants as guest bloggers/vloggers. They have a “Meet the School” section with interviews of owners, directors and staff at partner organizations and a "Meet the Fundraiser" section that helps participants raise financial support.
Academic Programs International (API) Integrated Strategy
Academic Programs International (API) has integrated their blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Green Passport, YouTube and other social media channels to communicate with study abroad applicants, participants and alumni as well as inform about important issues in the field. They were among the first international education organizations to incorporate QR codes in their materials so that students and others are able to access API catalog materials "on the go" via smartphones.
IES Abroad Photo Contest
As part of their [redefined] marketing campaign, IES Abroad sponsored a photo contest. They posted tweets about the photo contest on their Twitterfeed, @IESabroad. Academic institutional partners also tweeted about the contest. The photos were posted to the IES Abroad Facebook page. The pictures are also used on the IES Abroad specialty blog, Study Abroad Picture of the Day.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Go Global! Twitter Initiative
The University of Wisconsin, Madison Go Global!'s Twitterfeed, @GoGlobal, not only provides information on opportunities on campus and in the community, but also broadcasts international job, internship and volunteer opportunities that are not fee-based. By announcing through a Twitterfeed instead of traditional email or static webpages, they are able to send out announcements quickly, establish a searchable long-standing archive, and open up the announcements to those well beyond the reach of their campus office -- and others' inboxes.
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Education Abroad Program (EAP) Integrated Strategy
The University of California, Santa Barbara's Education Abroad Program integrated strategy includes a number of social media channels. On Facebook alumni, returnees and prospective students have the opportunity to connect through themed posts, news stories and events. Critical announcements are made first on Twitter, where they also post a study abroad tip of the day. Prospective students can get answers to 10 basic burning questions on the Ask a Returnee blog and the YouTube channel is a source for in-depth student comments on academic and cultural experiences. Individually, each channel offers a unique and rewarding way to experience the value of UCEAP. Collectively, they form an integrated online community designed to engage various micro-communities simultaneously. They actively promote all social media initiatives.
Congratulations to the finalists! The winner of this category will be announced at the GoAbroad invitation-only reception during the upcoming NAFSA: Association of International Educators Annual Conference and will be posted to the GoAbroad blog. Other category finalists are being announced this week. Next week, we will announce the finalists in the Student Abroad Video contest and voting for best video will commence shortly after all the finalists have been announced.