Ripon College Water Bottle Photo Contest

Engaging Incoming Students with Social Media

Ripon water bottle R with mascotRipon 4 water bottle sideChallenge: Building engagement and excitement among admitted students

Developing relationships with students and their families is essential to any college admission department. While traditional visits and phone calls are still a mainstay in admission strategies, it is critical to interact with students throughout the recruitment process utilizing different forms of social media. Students are “logged in” into various technologies, and admission offices must adapt to this growing market which thrives on viral and sharable articles, photos, and interaction. Via such media, colleges must seek to help build a sense of community among their recruited students to form a strong bond for the incoming class.

The question is: How do you increase student involvement using social media through promotional ideas?

Solution: Water Bottle Photo Contest

Ripon College actively manages several Facebook pages tailored to specific audiences: athletics, student activities, individual classes, and a central college page. The Class of 2017 Facebook page is a place where incoming students can interact with their new classmates, ask questions of their classmates or the Admission Office, and receive updated news/information about upcoming events/activities on campus. To help incentivize incoming students to engage and use the Facebook page, the Admissions Office hosted a contest that featured a branded water bottle.

Contest Details

  • Admitted Students, who deposited with Ripon College, received a branded water bottle
  • Through mailing and Facebook posts, the rules were announced to the students:
  • Students were required to take a creative picture of themselves with their bottle as a way to introduce themselves to their future classmates.
  • Submit the photo to the Class of 2017 Facebook Page (or if the student wasn’t a Facebook user and was not interested in creating an account, they could email it to an admission counselor).
  • The best photos were judged by members of the Admission Staff and three top prize winners were selected along with three honorable mentions. The top prize winners received a $50.00 gift card to the Ripon College bookstore and the honorable mentions received a Ripon College athletic blanket.

(The contest ran for approx. 1 month during deposit season, including a one week extension.)

ripon college FB contest


The contest generated numerous student picture uploads and increased overall page likes. Primarily however, this contest contributed to a larger and stronger engagement of students interacting and beginning conversations with one another. Future contests throughout the summer will continue to generate and build this growing community before they attend Ripon in the fall.

Product Overview

We helped select a popular 24 oz aluminum water bottle with a threaded lid (Item F-37563). This high quality and durable bottle is something the Class of 2017 will enjoy using throughout their college experience.