If you scroll through Instagram, you might come across a post from Temple University President Jason Wingard smiling next to students, college actors, or celebrities.
Just 10 months into his presidency, Wingard has more than 4,000 Instagram followers and uses his social media presence to promote Temple student stories and the value of attending college.
He calls it a necessary messaging strategy for Temple to gain recognition of its value.
“I want to use Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and I want to go on CNBC and other news channels, ABC and such, to make sure I’m delivering messages and telling why we’re a selective value proposition for people. students to attend, for faculty to come teach, for donors to give, for fans to come watch, all of the above,” Wingard said in a one-on-one interview with The Temple News on March 23. .
Dave Anderson, professor of advertising and social media expert, thinks Wingard is taking a non-traditional outreach path, centered on meeting stakeholders, especially students, where their attention goes – in social media.
Rather than holding press conferences on and off, social media allows Wingard to invite the public to see his daily life, said Jason Del Gandio, professor of communication and social influence.
“He has to catch up a lot because he’s new, nobody knows him,” Anderson said. “So the fastest way to get to know someone is not to sit in their office behind their secretary and hope they come to you. the people.
While riding his bike on Broad Street to class, Kyle Adams, a senior media studies and production student, met Wingard, and they began discussing Adams’ art business. Wingard then introduced Adams and his company in a March 10 Instagram post.
The following week, Wingard’s assistant called Adams and asked him to commission some artwork for his office.
“That connection made me feel more connected to Temple as a university,” Adams said. “So I feel like every time President Wingard comes out and people talk to him, he affects the culture in a positive way.”
As a young black man, Adams is happy to see representation as president of the university. Wingard is Temple’s first black president in its 137-year history.
Alana Aninipot, a media studies and production graduate, is president of Temple’s Talking Hands Club, which promotes learning of American Sign Language and Deaf culture.
When she met Wingard at the Bell Tower last month, Aninipot wore a shirt that said “Temple University” in ASL. She was eventually featured in a March 17 Instagram video, tagged #WingardOwlProwl, showing Wingard walking around campus and interacting with students.
“I think he sets a good precedent for himself, especially since it’s his first year as president,” Aninipot said.
It’s important for Wingard to show up so people know who he is and can relate to him better, Del Gandio said.
“I think it’s almost a brand change from Temple itself,” added Del Gandio.
Presenting himself as open and relatable, Wingard is stepping into uncharted territory and developing a far more advanced social media strategy than previous college presidents.
He’s also keen to post about dating celebrities, like Spike Lee, and politicians, like Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
“Look at it like osmosis,” Anderson wrote in an email to The Temple News. “If he’s close enough to the people you know, like, trust and respect, then hopefully he’ll generate some of that for himself.”
Anderson thinks Wingard could do more to flaunt his personal life outside of the presidency to connect more with students.
“If he got people to understand who the man was, then they support the mission,” Anderson said.
Wingard wants to continue promoting Temple’s mission to prove that college is a worthwhile financial investment for students and parents, especially as he embarks on college fundraising strategies.
Last month, Wingard appointed Mary Burke as vice president for institutional advancement. Burke is responsible for managing major gifts and leading fundraising campaigns.
“It’s important for me as Chief Ambassador to leverage all of these channels to be able to tell our story,” Wingard said.