So if you haven’t heard yet there is a new mobile game and it seems like just about everyone is playing. Pokémon Go was released on July 6th in the US, New Zealand, and Australia and the response has been overwhelming; to the point that users are often getting error messages because the servers are overloaded. Indeed it looks like Nintendo has pushed back the UK release date to further shore up their servers and the European and Asian markets should see the game launch a few days from now once upgrades can be put into place to handle the expected demand.
The augmented reality game has players running all over to catch Pokémon, train them, and hatch eggs. It’s addictive and fun and students everywhere are loving it.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, here’s a complete guide to getting started and everything you need to know to become a Pokémon Master. Also be sure to read this guide: Ten Things I Wish I Knew when I Started Pokémon Go” (including a secret hack to get a Pikachu!) Down load the game now and find out what all the fuss is about!
So how can you leverage this insanely popular game for your college or university? Here are 10 ideas you can start with:
10 ways to use Pokemon Go on campus
- Map your campus’ Pokestops and gyms on a campus map and share it on FB and IG. Bonus if you can give some pro tips like how close you need to activate one of the stops. If your students are as ravenous as mine, they will love the helpful boost and it’s likely to get shared and liked A LOT.
- When posting the campus map or about the Pokémon Go game, encourage students to use your hashtag or tag your campus account to help other students find and locate Pokémon on campus. This is a great way to get in on the fun by helping game players without being stuffy. Check out Valdosta State’s post as an example.
- Get Alumni in on the fun. It’s not just kids and teens who are playing, many of the players are adults! Middle Tennessee State University’s Alumni Association posted this about alumni coming back to campus and engaging with students and new freshmen. Its all about engagement and since everyone is already excited about the game, it’s a natural extension to share this excitement on your social media channels.
- Invest in Lures. These can be bought for gold (real money in the game). At $.99 each or 8 for $6.80 they pretty cheap. Lures work to attract Pokémon to a particular Pokestop and can be used for up to 30 minutes each. Cheaper than a Facebook ad!If you have a Pokestop near or in one of your buildings, install a Lure to attract Pokemon (and the student’s chasing them) to your location. This is a great idea USF used to boost attendance at a recent ice-cream social for their College of Education to encourage walk-by traffic. For events meant to get students out and meeting each other this is a great way to lure them to your location.
- Create content for other social media channels. Have you found a particularly awesome Pokémon on your campus? Since the game allows for a character to be found by multiple players in the same area, scout out locations on your campus and find them, then snap a picture to post on Instagram. Bonus if you can give an exact location and/or time where the Pokémon was found. Webster University posted this pic of a Pokémon trying to park without a permit, and it’s getting 5x the normal amount of engagement on their IG account. Millsap’s College and University of Central Oklahoma students are loving it too. Harvard tweeted about Zubats taking over a campus landmark. The University of Florida caught Pidgeys in their stadium (along with 3,000 likes and over 400 shares!). UT Dallas is finding Pokemon on their campus monuments. UW-Madison has integrated it into campus landmarks. Shots featuring students playing the game and screenshots are easy content ideas especially for this week, to be posting on your school’s channels.
- Battle a rival campus. Texas State and Texas A&M held a Pokémon Battle on twitter and it was glorious. What a creative way to use the game and a campus rivalry for some massive retweets and engagement!
- Live stream a Pokémon hunt. If your campus has a Pokestop or Gym, try doing a short Facebook Live or Periscope of a hunt. Bonus if you can also use a Lure to ensure some consistent catches, and live stream the fun your students are having with the game. Short interviews and interactions with students playing the game and the excitement of when they catch one. If you have a Gym on campus live stream players giving training tips and talking about their Pokémon. Students love to be asked to talk about themselves and Pokémon Go players seem extra eager to connect with and talk to each other.
- Support your student players. Students have been seen playing the game all hours of the day and night, which for some campuses can cause for safely concerns especially after reports of staged thefts in which players are lured to locations and then robbed. Campus police should be extra vigilant especially this week and campuses can post safety announcements and tips reminding students to not walk alone on campus at night. Also a great opportunity to make students aware of campus escort or evening safe team / safe ride programs on your campus. Check out Texas State’s tweet and graphic for more ideas of what this could look like.
- Pokémon Go is battery hog, so players will need to charge their devices especially with extended game play. If your office is located in a prime hunting ground or if you would like to encourage students to drop in, set up a PokeCharge area with extension cords, extra outlets, charging cables and even snacks and drinks if you have them. It’s a great way for student activities offices, (really any campus office) to get in on the excitement as well as encourage student interaction that they would otherwise normally not have. Southeastern Louisiana created graphics to post around their campus letting students know about stops while also getting attention for their Campus Activities Board.We are always looking at ways to get students to come into our offices and connect with staff, here’s a super simple way to do just that!
- Host a meetup. Scouting for Pokémon is more fun with friends! These can be especially fun in the evenings or off hours and when sponsored by a student group or student government can be a great way to combine safely in numbers and also getting students out and about on campus. If your campus has lots of freshmen on campus this summer getting acclimated this would be a great no cost way to get them out of their residence halls and interacting with each other. If you are having a night event try handing out glow stick necklaces and bracelets to students as they trek around campus in their groups. It makes the whole thing so much more fun!
There you have it! 10 Ways To Use Pokémon Go on Your Campus. The game has only been around for a few days and we are just scratching the surface of what is possible. It’s a big buzz on college campuses nationwide and as university social media professional showcasing how much fun our students are having on campus makes for great content and engagement all around.
How has your campus reacted to the Pokémon Go craze? Have you used the game to encourage engagement or created posts and pictures around the excitement? We would love to see them! Share them in the comments below!