Attendance at your events are directly related to promotion and marketing implementation. The promotion strategies your group uses will be different depending upon the goals and context of your event. For example, if your event is meant for group members only, a post on GopherLink News, an email to your member listserv, a social media posting or a few meeting announcements may be sufficient. Your group will need to engage in more large scale practices to ensure that the message gets out about your event as the size of your audience increases.
Things to consider while your group is planning promotion, publicity and advertising for your events throughout the year:
- Determine your targeted audience
Example: “This event is free to University of Minnesota students with valid U-Cards.”
- Establish a timeline for implementation
Example: Your group plans to have all posters designed and sent to the printers two weeks before the event.
- Determine the unique attributes and details attendees will want to know about the event
Example: Your event features a guest speaker from off-campus.
- Determine best marketing vehicles to reach your intended target audience
Example: Social media, posters, digital signage, etc.
- Ensure advertising strategies fit within your group’s budget
Example: “Your group dedicates $10 on social media to boost your event.”
- Establish a timeline for implementation
- Example: "Your group plans to have all posters designed and sent to the printers two weeks before the event.
Below is a list of tactics and platforms your student group can use to promote your events:
- GopherLink Events and News
- Literature Distribution on Campus
- Posters and Flyers
- Chalking on Campus
- Mailing Lists
- Newspaper/Press Release
- Social Media and Networking
- Digital Signage
Remember: Your student group promotion team is acting on behalf of your group. If members and volunteers don’t follow posting policies, your group is held accountable. Make sure your promotion volunteers are aware of the policies prior to implementing your promotion plan.
GopherLink Events and News¶
GopherLink is a comprehensive tool to connect students to student groups on campus. It features opportunities for students to join a group, participate in an event and tracks their experiences. You can find events hosted by student groups and departments happening around campus through this tool. GopherLink also provides a platform for sharing news. Student groups have primarily used this feature to debrief their meetings, discuss relevant topics and share information about their upcoming events.
Literature Distribution on Campus¶
There are specific policies and procedures for the distribution of handouts, indoor postings, outdoor postings, chalking and placing publication bins and racks on campus. Student groups are responsible for knowing and adhering to these policies.
See the specific policy under Distributing Publications and Installing Banners at the University for more information.
Posters and Flyers¶
Hanging signs or posters on campus is one of the most popular ways to get the message out. The University allows posting for student groups in approved locations. Any posting that is not displayed in an approved location may be removed. Any damages to buildings incurred due to inappropriate posting will be assessed to the student group and its officers. Academic buildings and off-campus businesses have different policies on posting. Make sure your group asks for permission and get specific procedures for each building. We recommend dividing campus locations and businesses among your promotion volunteers so that your posters do not concentrate the same areas. We also recommend keeping a list of the locations and businesses that allow you to poster for future use. Be sure to include the URL link to your event page on all of your group’s flyers, media posts and all online platforms your group use.
The Student Unions & Activities and Residence Halls both have an approval process for poster/flyer distribution highlighted below:
Student Unions in Coffman and St. Paul Student Center
- All posters or flyers must be approved through the SUA Information Desk, bearing the original stamp of SUA approval.
- SUA staff will be responsible for placement of all posters and flyers including restrooms.
- Posters or flyers are allowed at designated posting areas only.
- No posters or flyers shall be put on any glass, carpeted, paneled, papered, painted, or wood surfaces.
Distributing Publications (handouts and flyers)
- This activity is subject to all of the rules and regulations as defined under the University Wide Policy on Distributing Publications and Installing Banners at the University.
- Publications may be distributed outside of SUA facilities provided the distribution is not disrupting traffic or blocking any SUA facility entrance and distribution is 25 feet from any building entrance.
- Distribution of publications inside of SUA facilities is allowed only at a reserved contact table.
The approval process for posting information for Residence Halls can be reviewed on the Housing and Residential Life website.
Use of Banners on Campus
- Information regarding outdoor signage that is smaller than 14 inches by 22 inches
- Information regarding outdoor banners that are larger than 14 inches by 22 inches
- Minneapolis Campus Map PDF of approved outdoor posting locations
If you would like to post a large banner, you need to get approval from a sponsoring University Department via the guidelines listed on the Banner Installation Request Form.
Chalking on Campus¶
Distribution of Information by Chalking
Chalking on campus is limited to recognized student groups, University of Minnesota departments, faculty members, staff members and any registered U of M student. Chalking must comply with the University Administration Chalking Policy. Facilities management reserves the right to clean and remove any chalking, which does not comply with this policy.
Distribution of Information via Snow
In accordance with outdoor space policies, during winter months, groups are not permitted to decorate or deliberately discolor the snow. Groups must remove any discolored snow after an event. The organizing group will be financially liable for clean-up costs if the area is not returned to original condition.
Use your GopherLink profile to manage your group's membership roster. If your group has developed an email or direct mail member distribution list, determine how you want to use this list to promote your events or direct them to where they can find more information about your group. Be sure to include the URL link to your event page on all of your group’s flyers and all online platforms your group use.
Consider advertising in an on-campus publication as many students are frequent readers. Costs vary depending on the size of your advertisement. We recommend contacting each publication to inquire about costs for student groups.
Your group can also consider preparing a press release to send to local papers, websites and some on-campus newsletters. Press releases typically feature detail the “who, what, where, when and why” of your larger events. In your press release, make sure to highlight why your event is newsworthy, especially to those who may have no affiliation to your group. Please note, this is not a guarantee they will cover your event, but it does increase your chances of receiving publicity. We recommend sending your press release at least five days in advance for a daily publication or two weeks for a weekly publication. Visit the publication’s website for press release procedures and contact information. Be sure to include the URL link to your event page in your articles.
Social Media and Networking¶
Social media platforms are a great way to get the word out about your events, engage with your student group members, potential members and other student groups. Your group may want to consider dedicating an officer position to your maintain your social presence.
Here are a few general guidelines that may help you determine which social media platforms makes sense for your group:
- Facebook is highly recommended for student groups as it is a great place to keep information about your group, as well as showcase any events coming up. Followers can engage and ask questions. It is a great way to share photos and upload albums about previous events or general group photos. Ensure that content is uploaded regularly throughout the week to keep information up to date and relevant.
- Instagram can be used to showcase what your group is about and inform students about any upcoming events. We recommend that your group use Instagram stories for live coverage of any events, for live announcements, question and answer forum, and other small video segments. Due to the highly visual nature of this channel, it is recommended that clear, high quality photos and videos are used and that content is posted frequently to stay active and keep users engaged.
- Twitter is typically used for more “news” related information. Tweets can be used to share about upcoming deadlines or events, live tweet at your group’s event or an interesting article your group just read. Just remember Twitter is meant to be more informative and get a conversation going among your followers.
Original and authentic photos must be used for all channels. Do not use photos found online or from another person’s profile. Should it be decided that use of another’s photo is necessary, always be sure to reach out to that individual or organization and ask for their permission, and also tag or credit them for their photo.
Once you have decided on which social media platforms work for your student group, don’t forget to include the URL link to your event pages in all of your group’s social media posts and all other online platforms your group use. You should include your group’s social media handles and can also include the direct URL link to your GopherLink profile. You can also feature your handles on your Paint the Bridge panel and on any hand out information your student group provides at the Activities Fairs.
Digital Sign Event Advertising in Student Unions¶
Due to technical issues, the five digital screens in Coffman Memorial Union will not be available for use by student groups in the 2020 spring semester.
Please contact the Student Activities Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-626-6919 if you have questions or concerns.