Today I had the pleasure of participating in a Mayo Clinic Health Care Career Festival, as part of our Public Affairs/Media Support Services booth.
We had about 700 high school students from across southern Minnesota attending the day-long event, where they got to participate in some classes and also meet people who work for Mayo Clinic in various capacities.
This is a great application for a Facebook group. In our booth, we had eight laptops connected to the Web and with the Mayo Clinic Health Care Career Festival Alumni group set as a “Favorite.” Students could log in to their Facebook and join the group, so they can go back and see the photos and videos we’ve uploaded, including photos of them. (Note: we obtained parent permission and had release forms signed for students to participate.)
Here’s one of those photos that shows our booth:
We’ve uploaded photos and videos from the day to the group, and the students will be able to go back to it and tag themselves, or otherwise interact with each other and with Mayo staff. It also will provide our Human Resources and Education colleagues an opportunity to share updates on internships or course offerings with students who have expressed interest by attending.
As of this writing we have 335 members in the group. Some of them are Mayo staff, but most are students. We also have 7 videos and 136 photos.
If you have any kind of event that involves primarily high school or college students, you definitely could use a group like this to engage participants and to stay in contact with them.
Key Elements for Success
Choose a platform participants are already using. For high school students, Facebook is it. If you have to get people to join the networking site and then join your group, you’ve created a two-step process that’s too complicated. At our event today it took less than a minute for students to join the group.
Have a way for participants to sign up while they’re in your booth. Having the laptops with Internet access right there, so all they had to do was sign in to Facebook and join the group, made it easy. I guarantee that if we would have given them a flyer with the URL we wouldn’t have had 10 percent join the group. As it was, we had about 300 sign up in the first few hours.
Give them a reason to return. For today, having the photos and videos of them (and links to some of our Mayo Clinic social media sites like our Mayo Clinic YouTube Channel, News Blog and Facebook Fan Page was novelty enough. Hopefully they’ll go back to the group when they’re at home, and will tag themselves in photos and videos and will invite friends to join the group. It will be up to our HR team that sponsored the event to continue to make the group interesting and relevant to the students in the longer term.