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March 12, 2013

Last week ACPA had another successful conference in Las Vegas for student affairs professionals from across the country. With approximately 4,000 delegates in attendance, ACPA utilized various forms of social media to navigate the interstices between time and locations as individuals prepared for the conference and while at the conference. After creating a thorough social media plan, ACPA’s Chair of Technology and Social Media found success with Twitter & Guidebook although Facebook absconded conference goers’ interests as a medium to keep individuals abreast of updates or to connect delegates. The article below gives insights on how to create a social media communication plan and ways to assess its success.

2013 Social Media and Other Tech Data

Now that the 2013 ACPA Convention has come and gone, I’m left reflecting on my experience as Chair of Technology and Social Media. My main role was to focus on how Social Media would impact our Convention delegates before and during convention, using it for marketing, communication, and community building. Our goals were simple:

  • Engage the membership online (both in Las Vegas and away) about all aspects of the ACPA Convention
  • Push out important information, related to Convention, in a timely manner.
  • Create buzz and connections for ACPA Delegates at Convention to connect in person

This post will cover what we focused on, statistics, and what we learned for next year.

1. The ACPA 2013 Social Media Plan


After serving on the ACUI 2012 Convention Team as Host Chair and Social Media Coordinator, I’m proud of the plan we put together and how much we were able to accomplish. I took what we did in Boston for ACUI 2012 and reframed our Social Media plan (working closely with our friends in Marketing and Communication, along with the International Office) to engage Association members intentionally and with purpose. As you can see from the yellow checkmarks, we were able to complete many of our goals with the help of some amazing convention volunteers and the Social Media Advisory Committee.

2. The #ACPA13 Hashtag


There was a plethora of Tweets from the ACPA Convention 2013 hashtag (#ACPA13) and our friends at Hashtracking helped us break down some of the data. Some of the overall numbers included:
– 12, 262 total tweets
– 1,621 Unique Twitter Accounts
– 7.35 million Timeline Deliveries (in other words, how many times during Convention a Tweet with #ACPA13 came across someone’s device) If you are interested in looking at the entire Hashtracking Report, feel free to see it here. The data in this report, especially the 491 page transcript of all the tweets will help ACPA focus its attention on how best to use Twitter at Convention and throughout the year.

3. Facebook

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 10.26.02 PMFacebook turned out to be our least engaging social media area. Perhaps it was due to the lack of consistent and engaging content on our part or maybe its that Twitter is where most folks focus to get their Convention information? While not staggering:

– We had 648 folks who “liked” our page.
– We had an average of “reach” of 2,082 and an average number of 137 “engaged users”
– The most popular content involved pictures and videos

4. Convention Blog

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 10.08.58 PMThis year, we added a new Convention blog to help share stories leading up to and at Convention, complimenting the official communication that came from ACPA. It was a great start for the blog with decent numbers:

– 3,367 Unique Visitors with 6,515 visits
– Top posts were: “The Social Media Adventure” (1,405 Views), “The 2013 Tweetup” (1,339 Views), and “Last Minute Tips” (400 Views)

5. YouTube

youtube-logoWe used videos on YouTube as marketing and educational resources for the membership and was proud of our efforts, which included using the Google Plus “On Air” Hangout feature to broadcast webinars live in an exciting new format. Our list of Convention Videos included:

Welcome from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (628 Views/CAPTIONED)
ACPA 2013 Marketing Video (1,368 Views / CAPTIONED)
Program Proposal Advice (39 Views)
Google Hangout: Behind the Neon Lights (56 views)
Google Hangout: Getting the Most Out of Convention (131 Views)

6. Programs: Social Media Adventure and The Annual Tweetup

APCA-Social-Media-AdventureWe had a lot of fun putting these two programs together for the 2013 ACPA Convention! While participation was overall low (under 100 people) for the “Adventure,” we did get folks sharing how they used social media on their campuses and hopefully gave folks ideas on how to do programs like this when they returned. We also focused on three levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) to start seeing where folks were comfortable and highlight what they did not know.

The Tweetup was quite a gathering, with almost 100 people crowding the Cabo Wabo Cantina by Planet Hollywood! Reports had it that folks were actually turned away (special note to our 2014 team to connect with Ancillary folks to find us a bigger venue for next year!) It was great meeting folks in-person from the online connections we shared. As Chris Conzen shared, “I don’t always hug random people, but when I do, it’s at a tweetup #ACPA13

7. Guidebook

guidebookI was thrilled when ACPA decided to purchase the full version of Guidebook and utilize its functionality for Convention attendees. The numbers associated with its use are encouraging:

– 3,538 Unique Downloads: This could mean that some folks downloaded it to two of their devices (e.g. iPhone and iPad). But with almost 4,000 delegates, its clear that we can start having the broader conversation about the need for a printed Program Book and what that cost could save the Association.
– Mobile Download Breakdown: iOS (2,662), Android (612), Mobile Web Sessions (263) Apparently, ACPA loves its Apple products! My favorite stats breakdown of the Mobile Web Guidebook usage included the fact that there were 7 Blackberry mobile views and 9 Windows Phone mobile views!

I’m grateful to ACPA and the entire ACPA 2013 Convention Planning Team for giving me this opportunity and to the 2014 Team for bringing me back to focus on all our Technology needs for Convention. I’m excited to work closely with Marlena Love, the 2014 ACPA Social Media Coordinator and Tony Doody, the 2014 ACPA Innovation Director! We all have some exciting ideas that Indianapolis will be the perfect location for and will expand on those ideas on this blog throughout the year. I am committed to helping ACPA and our planning team achieve all the innovative goals we set forward, including:

  • Wireless Access for all throughout the Convention Center
  • An Educational Session room equipped to “Livestream” sessions delivered in this space
  • A Social Technology “Command Center”, located in a centralized location, where anyone can volunteer, learn about, and grow their technology and social media acumen. (I envision a lot of couches, screens, technology gear, and coffee!)

and many other ideas! Stay tuned!

What social media effort did you engage with the most and why? What are some of your technology needs for next year’s ACPA Convention in Indianapolis?

ed_smallEd Cabellon is Director of the Rondileau Campus Center at Bridgewater State University (MA) and an administrative leader in technology and social media communication in Higher Education and Student Affairs. He has served ACPA has 2013 Convention Technology and Social Media Chair and will be the ACPA 2014 Technology Chair. He shares his thoughts on technology, social media, and other topics on his blog. Connect with him there or on Twitter!


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