Central Review Social Media Presence

The brand that I chose to develop a social media presence for is Central Michigan University’s student run literary journal, Central Review (at this point I would provide a link to their website but it is currently down). This magazine offers CMU graduate and undergraduate students a chance to publish fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art pieces. It is published once per semester and is produced under Student Publications and Student Publication Board of Directors.

The purpose of this project was to give Central Review a presence on three different social media platforms. Because the journal already had both a Facebook and Twitter page, my goal was to improve on the way these platforms were utilized. For the third platform I chose to create a Tumblr account for Central Review. I currently work as one of the public relations coordinators for Central Review which helped in having a basic understanding of the brand and the target audience.  In the following sections I will provide an analysis of each social media website for this particular brand.

1. Facebook

I used Facebook as a primary way to communicate with the target audience – CMU students. Through my personal experience with social media I concluded that the largest portion of the target audience will have Facebook accounts and will be most apt to pay attention to updates on this page.

Before I began my efforts, this page was updated roughly 10 times per semester about submission deadlines, reading dates, and issue releases – not effective in attracting attention.

I began using the Facebook page to promote the annual reading Central Review puts on each semester. During this event the authors are offered a chance to read the work that was published in that semester’s issue. To get as many attendants as possible I was creating posts approximately twice a day to remind people to attend. As one of the PR coordinators I assisted in putting posters around campus and I created a post with a picture of a bulletin board in Moore covered in the posters.

I also created posts promoting Central Review’s Twitter page which I will mention later.

Once the Tumblr page was created I started taking excerpts of different pieces from the most recent issue and linking to that post on the Tumblr page. I also posted some of the photographs that were submitted. I used the Facebook page as a way to show people specifically what types of writing and photography Central Review publishes. These posts seemed to have gotten the most feedback which was primarily “likes.”

I attempted to create a few interactive posts that asked people to share their experiences or input their opinion on different subjects. Unfortunately my efforts fell a little short and only a few of these posts were created. I found an article from the New York Times discussing the possibility of libraries using e-books. I wanted to know people’s opinions of e-readers so I posted the article and asked which they prefer: e-readers or books. This post got one reply which was exciting. On Thanksgiving I asked fans to share what they were thankful for but sadly did not get any replies. This could be attributed to people being busy with holiday festivities.

I also attempted to build up the number of pages Central Review “likes” on Facebook. This was more difficult because it was hard to find relatable pages to the target audience. I focused on pages relevant to the university such as CM-Life and Grand Central Magazine or local businesses such as Kaya Coffee House. Throughout the course of this project the number of “likes” this page has increased about 15-20 people making a total of 140.

2. Twitter

Like the Facebook page, the already existing Twitter account was rarely used causing Central Review to not have a significant presence on this platform. The first step I took was to create a large selection of novelists, literary magazines, and publishers to follow. I increased to the number of accounts it follows by about 50 accounts.

Promoting the reading was the first thing I did when I received access to this account. I soon realized that many student may not be able to attend so I developed a hashtag “#crreading” and Tweeted live from the event. I chose quotes from most of the pieces read that night and included the hashtag at the end.

Through using this hashtag I was able to easily promote both the event and the Twitter page through Facebook posts. Hopefully those who could not attend took a glance at some of the quotes that were tweeted. I did not ask people to participate in the use of the hashtag during the event because of the serious nature of it and did not want people to be disrespectful to those reading their work.

After the reading was done I focused on re-tweeting some tweets that might be helpful to aspiring authors. I also posted interesting information from the literary world or humorous comments that writers might enjoy.

Once the Tumblr page was up I started including very short but intriguing quotes from different pieces and linking to the corresponding Tumblr post with the full text. I also tweeted links to the Tumblr posts with the photography submissions. One of the tweets was got re-tweeted which was exciting news.

A challenge with the Twitter page was the lack of student followers. Though recently, a few literary accounts did start following us as a result of the increase in posts and our account following theirs. I plan on keeping this page alive and running in the future and hope to live tweet to followers during the Spring reading.

3. Tumblr

For the third platform I created a Tumblr account for Central Review. Because the virtual edition of the journal is a PDF file I wanted a way to post each submission online as a easy way for people to read the work. I also wanted an easy way to link to specific pieces from the Facebook and Twitter.

I anticipated not having a large following base of CMU students so I created a collection of authors and photographers that the account follows. I used the “reblog” feature on Tumblr to repost some pieces of writing or photos that I found interesting and corresponded with the writing from Central Review.

Because this page lacks student followers I strictly focused on getting the poetry, prose, and photography pieces from the fall issue posted. I fully utilized the “tagging” feature on Tumblr to get my posts noticed by other Tumblr users. For example, each prose piece I posed would be always tagged “prose” “writing” “creative writing” and “literary.” By doing this posts got “liked” a significant number of times and a one photo was re-blogged. In about a week and a half the page got 15 followers from the literary community which was exciting.

On the Tumblr page I included a link to the whole PDF edition of the fall issue as well as links to all posts tagged either prose, poetry, or photography so people are able to easily navigate to any type of post.

Creating the Tumblr page was the most challenging because I was starting from scratch and I’ve only used Tumblr for personal use and not from a brand standpoint.  I hope to keep promoting this page in coming semesters to get more people, especially the writers themselves to follow.

Next semester and possibly next fall I will continue to work as a PR coordinator for Central Review and plan to continue managing these social media accounts. In the future I will hope to create a larger fan base for the pages which will help increase awareness for the journal around campus.

This project was a great learning experience for me. All semester we’ve just talked about how brands can use social media as a tool for success but now I can say that I’ve done it as well. Though my pages are new and still gaining their presence, hopefully it is a success waiting to happen!