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Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) #AskVicki social media campaign

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 29 August 2013

BCA reaches out to students with social media and pop-up careers shop

Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) uses integrated marketing for #AskVicki careers campaign

Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) logoCampaign name: #AskVicki
Brand: Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA)
Audience: School and college leavers
Location: Maidenhead, Berkshire (UK)
Duration: 12/08/2013 to 26/08/2013
Channels: Print and social media

Social Media Portal (SMP): Agency behind the campaign?

Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA): Empra and @empra

SMP: The brand it is for?

BCA: Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA)

SMP: What regions was the campaign for?

BCA: Maidenhead, Berkshire (UK)

SMP: The official campaign name and why was it chosen?

Photograph of Vicki SellensBCA: #AskVicki refers to the name of the college’s careers expert Vicki Sellens. The campaign invites young people to ask her for careers advice and guidance

SMP: What was the start and end of the campaign?

BCA: 12/08/2013 to 26/08/2013

SMP: The target audiences of the campaign, who did you try to reach and why?

BCA: We’re providing high-quality careers advice to young people during the weeks the receive their GCSE and A-level results

SMP: Briefly, tell us about your campaign

BCA: The time around A-level and GCSE results days are a period of intense anxiety and often distress for young people.  This can also include making life-changing decisions about their futures, especially if their exam grades aren’t as good as they hoped. There’s a shortage of expert advice and connecting with young people via social media is the ideal way to offer the guidance they need in a friendly and informal setting.

SMP: What were the objectives of the campaign and why was it different?

BCA: Our goal is to boost student recruitment to our college client at this business-critical time of year when students are making decisions about their educational futures. We are simultaneously delivering a much-needed service of independent careers advice. Combining these channels with a physical presence in the form of a pop-up careers advice shop (the first of its type) in Maidenhead town centre marks the campaign out.

In addition to this, research had identified a widespread local perception that the college, because of its name, only provided land-based training. The breadth of the campaign is designed to underline the fact that BCA now offers everything from A-levels to foundation studies and degrees in subjects ranging from physics, photography to childcare and sport.

SMP: What were the channels, platforms and methods you used?

BCA: Social media via Twitter @BCA_Maidenhead and Facebook, print and digital media via partnership with the local paper, the Maidenhead Advertiser and its Twitter account @MaidenheadAds. This included a physical presence in the form of pop-up careers advice shop in Maidenhead shopping centre.

SMP: What did you do to measure the campaign and what measurement tools did you have in place to do this?

BCA: Twitter analytics, tracking spike in traffic to college website and an increased student recruitment to the college.

SMP: How did you make the campaign social (and how are you making it stand out at such a busy and competitive time of year)?

BCA: This is a standout campaign, which has attracted attention in our target area through local newspaper launch and blogs by Vicki in the weeks leading up to exam results days.

Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) webiste homepage screenshot

SMP: How did the relationships with the Maidenhead Advertiser work and how did you set this up (apart from publishing news and blogs)?

BCA: The paper retweets #AskVicki questions on its feed, delivering cross-business synergy for both partners. The paper benefits from driving young people to its website at a time of immense pressure for legacy media and ever aging demographic.

SMP: Are there a series of blog posts, when did they start and when did they end?

BCA: The first one was posted on 12/08/2013 and are planned to be monthly onwards.

SMP: Is there anything else we should know, or is there anything in particular that you’d like to share about the campaign?

BCA: Our campaign dovetails with national educational policy media coverage of widespread evidence that existing careers service is failing young people, in particular a damning report by MPs earlier this year, thereby increasing our chances of placing stories.

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