Johnson takes over Instagram, becomes Miss FAMU

Johnson, the 114th Miss Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Photo courtesy of Johnson

Erika Nicole Johnson, a rising fourth-year vocal performance student from Dallas, has been elected to serve as the 114th Miss Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

Johnson’s social media presence enhanced her campaign, as she used creative ideas on Instagram to involve the student body in the virtual election.

Students at FAMU cast their votes online Tuesday through a system called Qualtrics, and the results were released around 11:20 p.m.

The second-generation Rattler took on the challenge of running a virtual election, which is something FAMU has never seen before. COVID-19 interrupted the experience for students to run a successful Spring 2020 campaign on campus, but Johnson kept the content coming and earned the votes to win the position.

“Social media plays a big part in our generation, so apart from the traditional physical campaign, it pushed me to find more creative ways to show pride for my university,” Johnson said.

Johnson held an entire virtual week of different events for students to get to know her, and to make themselves familiar with her campaign points that include mental health awareness and showcasing the talents of FAMU’s artistic students. From April 15 to April 20, Johnson held five different events through a popular communication device, Instagram Live.

Flyer for Johnson’s Crowns and Cooks event. Photo via Johnson’s Instagram

From cooking shows to question and answer segments, Johnson connected with the student body.

Her event, Crowns and Cooks, featured a fellow student, Yennifer Castillo, who is known for her catering business, Spoon Dreams. The live segment included Johnson presenting the recipe and cooking seafood mac and cheese with Castillo, while interacting with her audience.

“I came up with Crowns and Cooks with my friend Yennifer who loves to cook,” said Johnson. “I wanted to help her get exposure for her cooking talents and also have students engage with me on social media.”

According to her Instagram post on April 15, the segment had over 900 viewers on Instagram Live.

Simone Harris, a business administration student from Gainesville, said Johnson’s creative campaign strategies left her in awe.

“I love how she was very creative and going outside of the box with her social media events and her website,” Harris said. “She really did an amazing job with her theme.”

Instagram challenges have also been a big hit for many social media pages to increase social media engagement, and Johnson is no stranger to it. Johnson created a #QueenRadio playlist during her campaign, which is now available on Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal. The playlist consists of songs sent by her followers from their favorite women artists, her followers have shown nothing less than full engagement within her challenges.

Many students have shown their support for her campaign through hundreds of reposts, likes, and comments on her campaign flyers.

Jaia Hicks, a second-year elementary education student at FAMU, said that Johnson’s campaign theme is nothing short of who she is as a person.

“Erika is always true to who she is and hasn’t switched up in any way,” said Hicks. “She is truly a timeless woman.”

Spring elections at FAMU are held to a high standard and are applauded by the students when campaigns are executed creatively, professionally, and uniquely. Johnson’s campaign beat the odds of running a solely virtual campaign and effectively engaged the student body through a week of campaigning.

Johnson maintained her “timeless woman” theme and ultimately became Miss Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.