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#RedbirdProud Awards recognize ISU social media managers

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Units large and small from across campus were recognized at the the fifth annual #RedbirdProud Social Media Awards.

Illinois State University Marketing and Communications (UMC) held the awards ceremony and a social media workshop May 2 in the Alumni Center to honor the great work of campus social media managers.

“There are some great and innovative approaches to social media happening across campus,” said Kevin Bersett, assistant director for online communications for UMC. “The point of this event is to highlight that work and bring it to the attention of all of our social media managers so they can benefit from these great examples.”

The awards recognize the best uses of social media at Illinois State by faculty, staff, and student interns, in four categories. This year’s winners are below. To follow these units, visit Illinois State’s Social Media Directory.

Best New Social Media

Winner: Trademark and Licensing

Last August, Trademark and Licensing started an Instagram account, @ISURedbirdsShop. The account has quickly grown to more than 1,500 followers through creative tactics like its “12 Days of Giveaways” promotion held during the winter holiday season.

“Their posts are authentic and make you want to wear or sport the item because it fits right into a Redbird lifestyle,” a nominator stated.

Most Improved Social Media

Winner: Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning

In the past year, the center has made a concerted effort to engage more on social media, increasing its followings on Facebook and Twitter by more than 100 new followers and starting an Instagram account. The center uses interesting imagery and creative storytelling to effectively reach and engage with student audiences.

Most Innovative Use of Social Media

Winner: Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN)

MCN analyzed Google Analytics’ Affinity Categories to identify subjects its followers may be interested in engaging with. Then, the college created social media content based on those findings, like its “30 Minute Meals for Nurses on the Go” and “Monday Motivation” posts.

Best Overall Use of Social Media

Honorable Mention: Department of Special Education

The department is active on all three major social media platforms and uses each to engage effectively with students and alumni. The department’s monthly student spotlights have provided popular content on Facebook.

Winner: Illinois State Cheerleading

Illinois State’s Cheerleading team’s social media posts stand out across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The team leverages high-quality photography to give followers a peek behind the scenes and to highlight current cheerleaders and alumni.

Social media workshop

Panelists Madison Stoneman (left), Megan Rolfs, and Rachel Kobus capped the workshop with a discussion about how units can create an engaged following on social media.

Panelists Madison Stoneman (left), Megan Rolfs, and Rachel Kobus capped the workshop with a discussion about ways units can create an engaged following on social media.

The social media workshop followed the awards ceremony and featured presentations and a panel discussion. Michael Wojcik ’15, M.S. ’17, a digital strategist at the Useful Group, presented on how social media networks have become advertising networks. Office of Admissions communications coordinator Dillon Maher ’17 built on Wojcik’s topic by telling campus marketers how to manage social media on a budget.

The workshop ended with a panel featuring Rachel Kobus ’09, M.S. ’11, associate director with Office of Alumni Engagement; Megan Rolfs, director of marketing for the Division of Student Affairs; and Madison Stoneman, graduate assistant with Trademark and Licensing. During the Q&A, the panelists discussed ways to use events, contests, and other creative tactics to grow social media accounts.

A video of the workshop will be available on UMC’s website.

For more information about the #RedbirdProud Social Media Awards and Workshop, contact Tyler Emken, social media coordinator, at