by Matt Mattson
For the past few years I’ve been presenting a program that has either been titled, “Drone Shots & Glitter: The best and worst sorority recruitment videos and what we can learn from them” or “Viral Videos And How To Cure Them” on campuses and at conferences around North America (want me to present to your community? E-mail email@example.com). It’s the same program, just a different silly title.
*Note: This content is tilted toward Panhellenic sororities, but there are lots of cool examples of non-Panhellenic groups getting into the promotional video game (for better or worse). I’ve included some of those examples below, and all the lessons and principles shared herein are universally applicable to all chapters’ marketing and promotional efforts.
This program has become one of my favorite things to present. And every year, a whole new batch of sorority (and fraternity) videos is ready for review and reflection. I’ve learned that these videos really get people worked up (and not always in a good way). I offer these videos for your review and ask you to keep an open mind.
As you’re watching, consider the two questions I ask all my audiences to consider as they’re watching these videos…
- In what ways does this meet the needs of a results-focused MARKETER? Will it help the chapter succeed at recruiting (based on their audience and chapter values)?
- In what ways does this meet the needs of a values-focused SORORITY/FRATERNITY LEADER? If you watched this right after a sisterhood/brotherhood/siblinghood/fellowship retreat or ritual ceremony, would you feel proud?
Let me share two videos, and then check out some tips and lessons… then MORE VIDEOS!
Before I move on, let me say this clearly… I LOVE ALL OF THESE VIDEOS. As a marketer and as a values-based fraternity/sorority professional, I think these videos are truly amazing. There are three big reasons why I love these videos.
- IT TAKES GUTS TO MAKE THEM. Each of these videos was created by a college fraternity/sorority leader (or one led in the execution of the production). Each of these videos was shared publicly on the internet. Each of these videos will almost certainly be ridiculed by someone — internet trolls, other chapters, and probably some shallow members who don’t appreciate the guts it took to lead this project and bring these videos to life. So, to you brave souls who created these… YOU ARE AMAZING! I admire your courage and your art.
- SORORITY/FRATERNITY (AND RECRUITMENT/MARKETING) IS COMPLEX. It is incredibly difficult to balance the voices of your Greek Advisor, senior members, recruitment advisor, and the group of members who want there to be more bikini shots/party scenes. It is incredibly difficult to tell a story about the integrity, heart, kindness, honor, and beauty of sorority/fraternity and our members, while competing with the chapter down the street who has a hot air balloon and the captain of the football team in their video. It is incredibly difficult to make a high quality 2-minute video that gets lots of views while also showing the depth and nuance of your members.
- THESE ARE TRUE EXPRESSIONS OF VALUES & WINDOWS INTO INSECURITIES. The idea of sorority/fraternity is recreated everyday in the real lives of its members. Today’s undergraduates are different from those who have come before them. They care about different things, they live in a different world, and they have new ways of living out their values. These videos are real, they are today, they are now. These videos are also excellent windows into the insecurities and struggles of modern students — and there’s nothing wrong with that. As college-aged women, in particular, struggle with body-image concerns, mysogynistic cultural norms, a desire to fit-in and be liked juxtaposed against a desire to be authentic and true to themselves, and all sorts of other incredible challenges in today’s world, they’re trying there best to demonstrate confidence, pride, and passion for their organization. These videos truly are amazing works of art if you know and understand sororities/fraternities like we do.
With all that said, check out a handful of our other recent recruitment/promotional videos. Ask yourself the two questions we listed at the beginning of the blog as you enjoy each of these videos.
After you’ve watched these three, scroll down for our top 5 tips to make your recruitment video great!
TOP 5 TIPS TO MAKE YOUR PERFECT RECRUITMENT/PROMOTIONAL VIDEO
- MAKE IT ABOUT THEM, MORE THAN IT IS ABOUT YOU. Great marketing is about the audience. Viewers (especially the ones you care about most) should see themselves in the video. This isn’t a video to make you feel good about yourself and your chapter, it is a video to inspire PNMs to be curious about your chapter and your members. The viewer should feel right in the middle of the video — not like they’re watching a show about you, but like they’re immersed in their future reality.
- SAY WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT, NOT WHAT YOU’RE NOT. You know all those videos with sorority and fraternity members writing “I am not a stereotype” on their hands, and then showing it to the camera? Don’t do that. It just reinforces the stereotype. Instead, be about something. Make the video clearly communicate who you are, not who you’re not.
- EMOTIONS MATTER MORE THAN LOGIC. Do not try to bullet-point your way through the video with stats about how great your chapter is, how many philanthropy dollars you’ve raised, and how many service hours you’ve given. Joining a sorority/fraternity is not a logical decision, it is an emotional one. PNMs decide to join because the members in it make them feel safe, loved, and like they matter.
- DON’T BE A REAL ESTATE AGENT OR EVENT PROMOTER. Cool house. Neat party. Move on. Seriously. You have more to offer than nice real estate or a great event.
- BE REAL. SERIOUSLY. STOP FAKING IT. We can see right through our inauthenticity. If you’re not the coolest, hottest, richest, flashiest chapter on campus (and you’re probably not), don’t try to sell that. Show you. People join people. People don’t join perfection (they’re intimidated by it), they join real people. Just like you did. Just like you hope every PNM will. Make your video overflow with authenticity.
Here are some more videos! Binge away! There are all sorts of examples out there. Use these to consider the ways in which the story of sorority and fraternity is being told right now… and think about how YOU can take control of your story. (P.S. Check out some TikTok examples HEYYO… SORORITY CHECK! and YouTuber examples of the way the story of sorority and fraternity is being told in real time today).
(bad language warning for the video below! yikes!)
This made our house mom yell at us for being loud! Make it go viral! #fyp #foruyou #UNOirl #holidayhacks #voiceeffects #sororitycheck
Lots more TikToks here: https://www.tiktok.com/tag/sororitycheck?