CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The first thing many people do in the morning is check their cellphones.
For students at Coastal Carolina University, it's no different. That is why CCU officials are using social media to their advantage.
The CCU Chanticleers' Instagram account has nearly 14,000 followers now, surpassing its Twitter account. Brent Reser, the university's social media and online marketing coordinator, said there is a science behind that following.
"You know, students love seeing themselves on Instagram, and usually if they see themselves or if somebody else sees them, they are going to tag them and it's just going to start this chain reaction," Reser said.
He added he is grabbing student's attention through weekly contests and posts, which sparks participation.
The most recent example was a Tuesday night post.
"(It was) about us needing student models for our photography department and before the night was over, we had over 30 students who directly messaged us on Instagram saying they want to participate," Reser said.
However, it's not just all fun and games.
"What we've been able to do by doing that is generate a new audience, so that when we need to we are able to throw out alerts, the more serious information," Reser said.
According to Reser, this serves as proof that social media is another way the university is making sure students stay safe. He added information was sent out earlier this week following a situation at a nearby bank.
Reser said these alerts generate comments and questions, and allow students to stay in the know, which is one of the university's No. 1 goals.
"The last thing I want to do is to just post a photo and that be the end," he said. "I want to be able to have a dialogue that goes on throughout the day with our students."