Using Social Media


Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and other social media sites and services have started a revolution in how we communicate. And today's students are addicts (well, maybe just devotees). It is a "viral" activity whereby 1 person connects with 50 people who connect with another 100, etc. The messages spread fast. Best of all, it costs nothing!

If you're not "into" social media, recruit a student to help you. Using these new communication platforms will dramatically increase the awareness of HCASC on your campus and result in more students participating.

Ready to get started? Here are some tips:

Students hang out on social media, many via a mobile phone or tablet. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are free, fast and effective ways to reach out to students -- to recruit for your campus tournament and HCASC club and then, to keep participants engaged all year long.

Social media helps HCASC participants -- past and present -- really be "friends for life" and access timely info about the HCASC program.  LinkedIn helps connect students with HCASC mentors and to explore careers. Social media can facilitate more than just social interaction.  Pinterest, is a social media tool to stimulate knowledge acquisition. 

To help us plan #HCASC social media strategy, we did a survey of 2014 NCT participants use of social media to give us some benchmarks.  Here is what we found when we asked them to rank the social media platforms they use most frequently:

What does that tell us about HCASC players social media preferences?  In a nutshell, no one social media platform's reach is wide enough, therefore, we (and you) must utilize multiple platforms to "cast the widest net."

Keeping up with trends in social media is important.  A year ago, Instagram was in just "catching on"  Now it ranks as the #2 social media platform for our population, bumping Twitter to #3.  Yep, this is an ongoing evolution. We can't tell you which platforms are hot, and not...but your students can.

Here are our Top 10 Tips:

  1. Talk to a cross-section of your students -- those already involved with your HCASC program, and others you want to engage.  Find out their favorite platforms and what time of day they are most likely to be using them.
  2. Starting with the Power Search Quizzes, encourage your students to engage with HCASC -- and the vast number of current and former participants -- via social media:
    Like HCASC on
    Follow HCASC on Twitter @HCASC
    Follow HCASC on Tumblr
    Follow HCASC on Instagram
    Use #HCASC in your LinkedIn posts to get connected with current and former participants
    Follow HCASC on Pinterest
  3. Find out who is responsible for your HBCU's social media platforms.  Arrange to add #HCASC-centric posts when you are recruiting whether it be for a campus tournament or your HCASC Club.  Be sure to include contact information!
  4. Use social media yourself to get a feel for what the various platforms offer.  If you're really social media-averse, recruit a student or staff member who is active on social media to assist you.
  5. Use hashtags in every post you make.  For maximum impact, use both #HCASC and #(your official HBCU hashtag).
  6. Re-purpose posts from #HCASC social media.  Share from Facebook, re-tweet from Twitter, etc.The Daily Black History Update is available 7-days-a-week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, so be sure to take advantage of that.
  7. As the year progresses, keep up your postings.  To be successful, social media requires a sustained effort.
  8. Pictures tend to get the most likes, shares and attention.  Pictures combined with brief text or a meme work well. Be sure to post pictures from all your campus HCASC activities  -- the Power Searches to the campus tournament to the meetings and other activities of your HCASC Club.
  9. Vary your messaging and experiment. Track the number of "hits" to your messages to help determine what is most engaging and what posting schedule works best.
  10. Use occasional contests.  Ideas include question-based posts, a progressive campus treasure hunt, calls for a favorite professor, etc.