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Social Walls for Universities

Tips and Best Practices for Your University’s Social Media

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Students are sitting and chatting on sofa benches in a lobby. Behind them, a social wall is displayed on a very large screen spanning the first and part of the second floor of the gallery. The social wall shows graduation photo posts by students.

Over the years, more and more universities have been using Walls.io to set up social walls on their campuses or for specific events. Sometimes, it’s a large-scale project involving the whole university. Other times, individual colleges or even departments are using social walls for their particular needs.

We’ve even seen a handful of high school social walls and other examples from the educational sector. However, most of them are universities, so we decided to give you a roundup of some of these great examples and go through some possible use cases. 

Let what our customers are doing inspire you, and learn how you too can use a social wall at your university, institute or department.

There are many use cases for a social wall in a university

Social walls for Open Days
Social walls for Signing Day
Social walls for Back to School/Freshers
Social walls for graduations
Social walls for special events
Social walls for fundraising events
Social walls for conferences
Social walls throughout the year
Permanent social walls
University hubs
Alumni walls
Social walls for showcasing achievements
Bonus: Tips for Universities

Back to school with 25% off on all monthly and yearly Walls.io subscriptions for all educational organisations!

 

Just contact our support team at support@walls.io, and they’ll set you up with your discount — perfectly in time for the new school year.

How a social wall benefits your university

With an ever-changing student body, with new students coming in every year and others graduating and leaving, universities must create a sense of belonging. A social wall is a fantastic support tool because it allows a tight-knit community to stay in touch over social media as well. 

Social walls can help you:

  • connect current students, alumni, parents, lecturers, university staff and even donors
  • foster interaction and engagement on campus
  • portray a positive image of the university to the outside world

A social media wall like Walls.io can pull posts from social media profiles, pages and hashtags and present them neatly in one place. The content wall can be curated and moderated.

There are many use cases for a social wall in a university context, and they each come with specific advantages.

Social walls for events

Throughout the school year, universities face both one-off and recurring events. It’s not uncommon to set up themed social walls for these to collect everyone’s impressions in one place.

Projecting the wall on a screen or displaying it on monitors is a beautiful and easy-to-implement way to show off content from across profiles or posted with a specific event-related hashtag.

Open Days

You can set up a social wall for Open Days, for example, to reach out to prospective students and their parents and make them feel welcome as they visit your school. Hand out informational leaflets that point to the social wall and hashtag and display the wall somewhere on campus to catch visitors’ attention.

Monash University in Australia set up a social wall for the Science Open Day, allowing everyone to share their impressions and experiences.

Screenshot of the Monash University social wall. The wall is designed with the university’s signature blue and the header shows the university logo. The hashtag for the social wall is #ChooseMonashScience. The posts on the wall are from Open Day 2019, promoting science events around the campus.

The university specifically promoted the Open Day and its hashtag #ChooseMonashScience on the website as well.

Screenshot from the Monash University website, promoting the Science Open Day on August 4, 2018. The page is designed simply, with a gradient pink-to-orange coloured background and a few words announcing the time and place of the Open Day. The hashtag #ChooseMonashScience is prominently displayed as well.

Signing Day

Another important milestone of the school year is Signing Day. Social media is a perfect addition for Signing Day since people will be checking in from all over the world to share which university they will go to in the upcoming year.

A few years ago, Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan started using social walls to celebrate Signing Day.

Screenshot of the #IChoseUMich social wall embedded on the Rackham Graduate School website. The heading says “Welcome to Racham” and encourages future students to share their acceptance story using the hashtag #IChoseUMich. The social wall is displayed using the Walls.io Map theme which shows posts popping up on a map at the geographical location they have been posted from. The map shows a post by Instagram user @jmesagar from Colombia. The picture is a selfie, and the caption says “Blessed and grateful #IChoseUMich #Rackham #GradSchool #GoBlue”.

The university embedded the social map, using our Map theme, on the Rackham Signing Day microsite. Any posts using #IChoseUMich popped up on the map at the geographical location they were posted from.

“Beyond the celebratory confetti, the campaign demonstrates two key values of how Rackham serves its students: We support the diversity of Rackham graduate students’ backgrounds and experiences. And we want to create a sense of connection and continuity among the new cohort, current students, and alumni.”

Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan

Check out our showcase interview to learn more about #IChoseUMich and how the university welcomes new students in style. Rackham was also our first customer to use the Walls.io Map theme!

Back to school and Freshers Week

Other significant milestones at universities are Back to School events and Freshers Week. The arrival of old and new students is often accompanied by a lot of celebrations and partying.

The University of Toronto welcomes its students with a social wall, which is a great place for sharing information with new students. Here you can see the University of Toronto Student Life Programs & Services account sharing the link to the student life app on the social wall. The app helps new students find their way on their new campus.

Screenshot of the University of Toronto social wall for the #UofTBackToSchool hashtag. Among the posts showing new students and announcements from colleges, there is a post by the University of Toronto Student Life Programs & Services Twitter account introducing the Student Life app. The post shows an image of the app on a smartphone screen with the words “Go everywhere with Student Life” next to it.

Graduations

The highlight of most people’s university experience is when they graduate. So it’s unsurprising that a lot of our university customers have set up social walls to celebrate Graduation Day.

The University of Tasmania Graduation social wall is a great example.

Screenshot of the University of Tasmania social wall. Displayed are various posts by happy people posing for photos in their graduation attire.

A dedicated social wall gives students, parents and everyone else a chance to share and celebrate this day together. Proud parents and students can share graduation pics and see them pop up on the social wall. 

Here, a student from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley shares their excitement about graduating.

Screenshot of a post by an Instagram user on the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley social wall. The post is displayed full-screen on the social wall. The picture of the post is shown on the left. A person in graduation attire is seen excitedly hugging someone in plain clothes (their back turned to the camera). The caption of the post reads: “So many reasons to celebrate! Congratulations! 🎉🎊🎈#UTRGVGrad #ForeverOrange”

Meanwhile, university staff can also use the wall to share information and official announcements.

The Graduation Team at Queen Mary University London uses the social wall to spread the word about where students will receive their certificates and other pertinent information.

A screenshot of a full-screen displayed post on the Queen Mary University London social wall. The wall has a blue background, the text is white. The post by QMUL Graduation Team reads: “Your certificates will be given out in the Great Hall of the People’s Palace as part of your graduation ceremony”.

Special events

When Gordon State College got a new president in 2019, it set up a congratulatory social wall for inauguration week. Anyone could congratulate Dr Kirk A. Nooks by simply using the hashtag #CongratsDrNooks on Twitter or the university’s Facebook page. The social wall was then embedded on the website.

A screenshot of the Gordon State College website. It shows the social wall embedded under the heading “Congratulatory messages”. The posts on the wall are congratulatory messages or show the new president of the university in photos with others.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell set up an #OPRAHatUML social wall for an event where Oprah Winfrey was a guest and interviewee.

A screenshot of the University of Massachusetts Lowell social wall. A post by @UMassLowell is displayed full-screen and reads “Inspired by student stories @Oprah Winfrey announces that she will match the $1.5 million already raised through ticket sales and sponsorships for the event, bringing the total to $3 million! bddy.me/2TrRQ4z #UMassLowell #ThankYouOprah #OPRAHatUML”. The photo next to the caption shows Oprah Winfrey on stage, shaking hands with someone.

Fundraising

Many other universities use social walls for specific fundraising events meant to raise money for scholarships, athletics teams, departments, repair funds, student unions, etc.

These social walls support the fundraising efforts by providing a hub for visual materials, support messages and donation appeals throughout the fundraising process.

For example, La Salle University in Philadelphia used a social wall during ExplorersGive Day of Giving in 2019. The wall was embedded on a microsite along with more information and a countdown timer for the fundraising event. 

Screenshot of the La Salle University microsite for the ExplorersGive event. The microsite includes an embed of the social media wall, a countdown at the top left, and menu links to Challenges, FAQ, Social Toolkit, as well as a Give Now button. The social wall itself shows posts from students and the university’s accounts as well.

Conferences

Social Walls also work really well for conferences taking place at the university. Bucknell University in Pennsylvania used a social media wall at their “Digital Scholarship Conference” to engage conference attendees.

Screenshot of the Bucknell University social wall showing posts shared during the #BUDSC16 conference.

Social walls throughout the year

A social wall can be a wonderful companion tool for university marketers, used for various events and happenings throughout the year.

New York University, for example, uses various hashtags and adapts the social wall to fit whatever is going on at the university at that moment.

Here we see the NYU social wall displayed on a screen on campus.

Photo of the NYU social wall on a big screen in front of a purple wall. The wall’s hashtag is #NYUKIMMEL and it shows Instagram posts about various topics, from science to food to events.

Sunita Devi, Director of Events and Operations at NYU, says. “We promote walls and hashtags during university-wide events such as Commencement, Grad Alley and Welcome Week and create themes across the building.”

Opportunities for social walls also include Game Days, where a social wall — especially if displayed prominently at the stadium — can really help boost team spirit.

Permanent social hubs

Of course, social walls don’t have to be temporary. There are plenty of reasons to set up more permanent solutions for your university and reap the benefits of a social hub. A good social wall can also help you raise the profile of your university.

University hubs

Why not set up a social wall for the whole university? These walls usually run long-term and are a great place for providing information about the university, giving people an insight into what’s going on and creating a connection between students, staff, alumni, visitors, etc.

The entrance area of the Tinkham Veale University Center where a large media wall showing the social wall is set up, surrounded by seating areas.

An excellent example is Case Western Reserve University. CWRU has incorporated a Walls.io social wall into the two-storey multimedia wall on campus. On top of contributions from students and departments, the university also offers event organisers use of the social wall — an important selling point when renting out the building as an event space.

“The Media Wall is also a nice selling point for conferences or workshops hosted in our venue. Oftentimes, these large events have a designated hashtag. We incorporate these hashtags into the wall, and event organizers love seeing content show up that’s specifically about them and their guests.”

Case Western Reserve University 

Check out our showcase blog post to find out more about how CWRU uses social walls.

Alumni walls

Social walls aren’t just for active students. They’re also a fantastic way of keeping in touch with alumni whose connection to their alma mater is strong.

A social wall helps the university keep alumni in the loop, but it also allows former students to share their own stories and where they are in their lives right now.

The Boston University Alumni Association uses a social wall to update people, feature interviews with alumni, or simply to stay in touch with former students with a bit of banter.

Screenshot of the social wall set up by the Boston University Alumni Association. It shows posts by the association, engaging alumni in various ways. There’s a dog in 2 pictures, a post announcing an article about the best summer activities, as well as posts announcing events.

The social wall is also embedded on the alumni association’s website with the words “There’s no better way to keep up with what’s happening at BU or in the lives of your fellow Terriers.”

Showcasing student achievements

You can also use a social wall to highlight the amazing things your students are doing — whether it’s charitable work they’ve completed over the summer, prizes they’ve won, or art they’ve created during their studies.

The University of the Arts in Philadelphia (UArts) has set up a social wall dedicated to students’ creations, collected under the hashtags #UArtist. The social wall is embedded on a subpage of the website where specific artists are featured in more detail as well.

Screenshot of the #UArtist section of the University of the Arts website. The copy reads: “#uartist is a celebration of the boundless creativity of the UArts community. Students, faculty, staff and alumni are welcome to share their work with us via Instagram by including #uartist. #uartist works are featured below.” Underneath it, the social wall is embedded under a tab that says “Full Collection” and showcases various artists and their projects. A second tab promises to introduce “Featured Artists”.

How to run a social wall at your university

Whether you’re looking to set up a brand new social wall or want to improve your current setup, there’s so much we can all learn from what our university customers are already doing with their social walls.

Set up a microsite

A microsite is a neat way to keep everything about an event in one place. It’s a one-stop-shop for information and shows people how they can get involved.

For fundraisers, you can also add a countdown, the tally of donations so far, etc. And after the event is over, the microsite turns into a recap of the fundraiser and lays the groundwork for next year’s event.

Florida State University has set up a wonderful microsite for the Great Give, an annual fundraising event for the school.

Screenshot of the FSU microsite for FSU’s Great Give. It features a countdown of 9 hours 11 minutes and 07 seconds on a background three people standing in a forest clearing. Underneath on a wine red background it reads: “FSU’s Great Give is a 36-hour online giving campaign in support of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Florida State University. Florida State supporters can make gifts from 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 28 until the campaign ends at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 29. All FSU’s Great Give featured projects will be highlighted on FSU’s crowdfunding site, sparkFSU.”

FSU also embedded the social wall on the Great Give microsite.

Another screenshot of the FSU’s Great Give microsite. The heading reads “Connect with #FSUGreatGive” and the social wall is embedded underneath it.

Embed your social wall on your website

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a microsite. You can also embed your social wall anywhere else on your website. Simply adjust the look of your social wall to fit in seamlessly with your website design.

Here, we see the University of Toronto social wall embedded on the Back to School section of the website.

Screenshot of the Back to School section of the University of Toronto website. The left column shows the navigation for various topics important to new students. The social wall is embedded in the right column.

And here is Tiffin University’s general social wall, embedded on the website to give visitors some insight into what’s going on at the university.

Screenshot of the Tiffin University social wall embedded on the website under the heading “Social Scene”.

The social wall is not tied to any particular topic, allowing the social wall to change and feature all kinds of posts throughout the school year. It works well as a long-term embed on the school’s website.

Embedding a social wall on a microsite or your university’s website is incredibly easy. Just grab the embed code from your Walls.io dashboard (you can tweak the settings to adjust how your embed will look) and paste it into the place on your site where you want to embed it.

Communicate your hashtag

What good are a hashtag and a social wall if no one knows about either of them? It’s important to properly communicate your hashtag to your students, visitors, staff, alumni and donors.

Here’s a good example from Macquarie University in Sydney pointing website visitors towards the graduation hashtag #mqgrads.

Screenshot of a small section of the Macquarie University website. Three images with subheadings announce topics relevant to graduation. The caption under the middle image reads “Share your graduation experience #mqgrads”.

Meanwhile, the Graduation Team at Queen Mary University of London is explicitly encouraging students to use the #QMULGrad hashtag to make their posts show up on the social wall on the big screen.

Screenshot of the Queen Mary University London social wall. A full-screen post by the QMUL Graduation Team reads: “Share your graduation pics with #QMULGrad to be on the big screen!”

There are lots of other ways to promote your hashtag and social walls as well: flyers, posters at an event venue or the cafeteria, newsletters, through student unions, on campus radio, via social media and many more. 

Set up multiple walls

Sometimes it makes sense to go big, for example, when different departments are all planning to set up social walls. The Walls.io Premium account includes five social walls — setting up separate accounts for those would be less cost-efficient.

So share your social wall account with other departments (simply set up different people as admins for the account). Or, of course, if you don’t feel like sharing, you can always use different walls for different campaigns, goals or target groups.

Adapt your wall and go from Signing Day to Graduation Day

Now, we do know that not every department or university has the budget for an ongoing Premium account. And that’s okay. Because there are always other options. You don’t have to limit yourself, and you can still do all the awesome campaigns that you want to do. 

Just keep one social wall and change how you use it throughout the year. Swap out the header, change your sources and hashtags, vary your background, change your social wall URL and go smoothly from Signing Day to Freshers Week and on to Graduation Day.

To change your social wall URL, go to your Walls.io Dashboard. Now simply change the URL in your Basic Settings panel and save your changes. 

Many universities have one wall and switch how they use it as needed. Remember La Salle University’s Day of Giving social wall that we mentioned earlier? Later in the year, the university simply adapted the existing social wall for the commencement ceremony. With a different hashtag and a new URL, you’ve got a whole new social wall.

Screenshot of La Salle University’s social wall. The wall URL has been changed to walls.io/la-salle-commencement-2019 and the wall shows people in graduation garb and other graduation-related posts.

Want to start using a social wall for your university?

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Reap the benefits of a university social wall

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the varied examples of social walls from all our customers. We wanted to show you the many uses of a social wall but, of course, there’s always more that you can do.