5 Things I Learned About Social Media Strategy from Lil Wayne

May 18, 2016

5 Things I Learned About Social Media Strategy from Lil Wayne

5 Things I Learned About Social Media Strategy from Lil Wayne

It was just another busy end of semester until UL Lafayette’s students won a free concert on campus with Lil Wayne through a social media contest.

For this social media manager, the students’ win ended up expanding the scope of the job to part-time investigator and event planner—and a career-affirming event that brought home just how much of a difference a university’s social media presence can make on students’ lives at school.

1. Online contests can be the real deal.

1gif-lil wayne money

As seasoned social media vets, we usually give the side eye to social media contests that call for online voting to determine a winner because its more about a brand promoting itself than anything else. Or maybe we’re just jaded from all the messages posted by start-up ranking sites that put institutions on lists with hopes that we will then re-tweet and share, thus lending their sites some much-desired legitimacy.

With that in mind, my first thought was more “Meh.” than “OMG!” when a mention of UL Lafayette appeared on our Facebook wall announcing that our school was a finalist in a “Social Wave For Change” contest and that the grand prize was a free concert from Lil Wayne. But, when the same announcement came through on Twitter the next morning, along with a few re-tweets from our followers, I realized it definitely needed a closer look.

After seeing that it was hosted by Tidal, Jay Z’s music streaming service, and reading the fine print, it was clear that the contest was legit. Bonus points: The contest was part of a campaign to encourage college students to make a difference through community service. We were chosen as a finalist based on a water drive our students held for the people of Flint, MI, submitted via the #TIDALXchange hashtag.

Now, we had to decide whether it was legitimate enough to share through the university’s accounts.

2. Listen to your audience.


One could make an argument that nobody knows a university’s audience more intimately than their social media managers. As the eyes and ears that watch all the platforms for mentions and answer the daily questions that come through, we see and hear it all.

During the three years that I’ve managed our accounts, I’ve seen countless tweets from students asking for a concert on campus. I knew that despite Lil Wayne not seeming like a great fit for a university to promote, a concert was something near and dear to our students’ hearts.

And, after one day of voting—it looked like we could win.

There was only one choice at that point: Help spread the word.

And our students went to work, promoting and voting until—WE WON!

3. Social media management may include investigative work.


After Tidal announced that Lil Wayne was coming to UL Lafayette to perform, I monitored all channels, waiting to see what would happen. The next morning, an article about the contest by Lil Wayne was published on the Huffington Post saying he would be performing at UL Lafayette on April 1—WHICH WAS TWO WEEKS AWAY AND DURING SPRING BREAK.

At this point, I started getting calls from people around campus, including the Dean of Students, whose phone was already ringing off the hook, asking what was going on. Not having answers, I got to work getting all the info I could:

-Who were the students in the photo of the water drive in the contest submission?
-The person who entered them in the contest isn’t a student—what’s the connection?
-Had anyone been contacted yet?
-If Tidal tried to contact the school, who would they talk to?
-How do I contact Tidal?
-Is April 1 really the only date available for the concert?

It became clear that Tidal had not contacted anyone yet, that all these questions needed to be answered, and that I would be the one to get them answered. Using the power of the internet, I got to work.

All the while, our followers were freaking out online because the April 1 date fell on the Friday of our spring break and local media were running stories, tweets, and posts all saying that a concert was going to happen on April 1.

I had answers to everything by the end of the day—most importantly, that the date was flexible! Armed with this, I could finally announce the win on Twitter and Facebook.

Eight nerve-wracking days after learning of the win and three weeks before the concert was scheduled to happen, we had a date set.

4. Giveaways are only fun the first 20 times.


As Tidal and the venue worked out thousands of details, we worked on a plan to distribute the free tickets.

We finally were able to announce how tickets would be distributed to students on April 13, with the free tickets going up for grabs via Ticketmaster at noon the following day—four days before the concert. All tickets were claimed by 6:15 p.m. It would have sold out by 3 p.m., except a line had formed around the Cajundome and we were able to open up more seats to make sure that all the students waiting got tickets.

I had 20 pairs tickets to give away the day of the concert via Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. The very best tickets went to our Snapchat followers, who had to find us on campus and then rap censored versions of their favorite Lil Wayne songs for the tickets. The giveaways were a success, especially on Snapchat where we added almost 400 new friends.

And then I got a call from the venue saying that a block of reserved seats had opened up and asking if we could give away another 50 pairs of tickets before the concert. I said yes, but with only hours left before the concert, it was difficult to manage and keep track of. Twitter and Instagram were easy, but trying to give away 15 pairs on Snapchat did not go well for us. The tickets were given away, but it was difficult to record the winners’ information. Because I didn’t get all the students’ information to the box office, the students ended up having to show the staff a screenshot of the “You won!” snap from us.   

Lesson learned: Don’t use a platform known for disappearing content to give away a large amount of anything that requires obtaining the users’ real names and student ID.

5. Don’t underestimate your impact (and enjoy the show!)


Our students’ excitement online, from the first re-tweets of the contest announcement, to filling the Cajundome for Lil Wayne’s performance, made this UL Lafayette’s most successful social media event on Twitter ever. That it all stemmed from our students’ desire to help those in need made it a win on every level.

That the university’s social media was able to help the students spread the word to achieve the win, represent their interests while planning the event, and then celebrate the moment as it happened is a powerful example of how much effect the work of a social media community manager can have on audiences’ lives. Even if the community never realizes it. ?

About The Author


Amy Windsor is the social media strategist for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the second-largest university in the state, with over 18,000 students. She loves a well-played GIF response on Twitter almost as much as she adores getting RT’s prefaced by ? ? ?. She vows to continue using exclamation points, no matter how many times she is told not to. (P.S. yes, that’s a blazer at a Lil Wayne concert….she didn’t have time to change 🙂 )