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Case Studies, Handshake Hacks

The Keys to Victory: Promoting the Handshake App

Winning tactics from the champions of Mobile App Mania—University of Iowa and College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University

Throughout the month of October, over 60 Handshake partners competed in a friendly competition to see who could generate the most Handshake app downloads with students. In the end, two schools were crowned Mobile App Mania champions and received gift cards from Handshake to distribute to students.

Check out the keys to victory from our winners—University of Iowa and College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University.

University of Iowa

Consistency is key

The University of Iowa engaged students on a weekly basis through email and social media. The templates that Handshake provided made it quick and easy for the Iowa team to customize posts.

Promote the app at events

Events are an excellent time for students to use the Handshake app given that information on the event is centralized within the app. The Iowa team handed out flyers (like this one) that encouraged students to scan a QR code to download the app, where they can then research employers attending the event, browse their job postings, and view the booth map.

Involve your staff

Encourage your staff to promote the app to students at various touchpoints. For example, career coaches can talk to students about browsing jobs on the app; event staff can require students to check-in to events via the in-app QR code check-in function. The more students realize how much they can do on the app, the more they’ll be inclined to download and use it.

The Iowa team shared this 14 minute Handshake Academy Mobile App course with their staff to provide them with guidance on how and why students should use the Handshake app.

Did you know? Students who currently use Handshake's mobile app are generally more active. Daily and weekly usage of the Handshake app is 5-12% higher on mobile than on web.

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University

Get creative

Knowing their student audience, the College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University (CSB/SJU) team got creative and used food as an enticing way to engage with students and kick-off the competition. The team set up outside of a high-traffic area of campus and handed out donuts to students who downloaded the Handshake app on the spot using QR codes provided by Handshake.

Photo courtesy of College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University

This effort, called “Donuts for Downloads,” involved members of the Experience and Professional Development (XPD) team talking to students on their way to class about the app. The XPD team focused on the app being an excellent way for students to have their job search on the go and engage with employers through one-on-one messaging and virtual info chats.

Leverage Handshake's ready-made resources

Outside of being physically present on campus, the XPD team utilized the resources in the Mobile App Playbook to promote the app. The Mobile Activations template in Targeted Emails was a low-lift, high-impact tactic to spread the word about the app to students.

The CSB/SJU team also leveraged the social media assets and QR codes to spread awareness and share updates on their progress throughout the competition.


Congratulations to the University of Iowa and College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University teams on winning the inaugural Mobile App Mania competition and thank you to all of the schools who signed up to participate!

Promote the Handshake app to your students using these resources:

Level the playing field for your students