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Quick tip for hashtags at a conference: #smx at a glance

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The Search Marketing Expo ( SMX or #smx on Twitter) kicked off yesterday in Las Vegas, and is continuing today. If you’re there now, check out our 7 tips to maximize your conference attendance using Twitter. If you couldn’t make it like us, check out our 5 tips for getting the most out of the hashtag on Twitter for a conference that you missed.

We went ahead and took some quick snapshot reports of the conversation around #smx and that brings us to our takeaway for a conference-enhancing quick tip; they’re smartly setting up different sub-hashtags for each session to go along with the conference’s main hashtag. This makes for easier tracking of particular sessions whose topics are most relevant to what your brand is interested in.

To capture a particular session in a snapshot, all you have to do is include both hashtags, like this:

#smx #13aOr include the session number and letter as a keyword in addition to the hashtag, like this:

#smx 11A

 

Either method will capture the data that you’re after to get an idea of the overall conversation. So once you have your snapshot reports, what next? What does this tell you about the overall conversation around something as a big as a conference?

We recently covered this with 3 ways to use TweetReach snapshot reports to complement real-time Twitter monitoring for your events looking at #commsweekny as an example. Just like with #commsweekny, these snapshots for #smx help you:

  1. Get the big picture quickly; what’s the overall estimated size of the conversation? Who are the top contributors and which are the most retweeted tweets?
  2. Build relationships with attendees by looking at the snapshot report’s contributors list and tweets timeline, and
  3. Easily share these stats with attendees

These insights are valuable from any perspective: someone interested in attending #smx who could not, someone who is attending, or even the team behind #smx. Additionally, with the use of session-specific hashtags or keywords, you get a more precise idea of who is influential in each topic: Session hosts will be clear, as attendees will be quoting what they have to say, and you can network with both those interested in learning more about a session’s particular topic or who are already well-versed in it. Check the session highlights and keep an eye on the main #smx feed on Twitter to hone in on the session topics most important to you, and grab some snapshots around them.

So even if you can’t afford to attend a certain conference or go TweetReach Pro to comprehensively track the conversation around it, there is still plenty of value to be found in strategic snapshot reports.

Want even more on Twitter and conferences? Here are 16 ways to use Twitter to improve your next conference

Written by Sarah

November 20th, 2014 at 11:05 am

Tracking a conversation about Facebook (and Stephen Hawking) with TweetReach Pro

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Social efforts should never live in a vacuum, and successful content marketing efforts and campaigns exist across platforms. Even ventures like launching a Facebook page can be more successful if you track how they are being discussed across other platforms; for example, people don’t just share Facebook news on Facebook, they also talk about it on Twitter.

So when The Theory of Everything- a movie about physicist Stephen Hawking’s life based on a book written by his first wife- recently premiered, and Hawking joined Facebook, we thought we’d take a look at what the conversation about the famous scientist joining Facebook looked like on Twitter. Why? It’s important to understand how your audience is talking about you in every place that they are doing so. Do they say different things about you on Facebook vs. Twitter? Do they share news of you joining a new platform like Facebook, helping you increase your reach and exposure to new potential fans and followers? These are just a few questions you can answer using something like our TweetReach Pro analytics.

How exactly do you monitor a conversation about Facebook on Twitter? Don’t worry, it’s just like setting up any other TweetReach Pro topic Tracker. Your search queries should include the hashtags you’re using on Facebook, Facebook URLs, and other terms to be sure you’re finding the full Twitter conversation about the Facebook content.

Let’s look at some highlights from our analysis below, and a few of the conclusions we drew from it.

Discussion timeline

As with most launches, the peak of the conversation around Hawking joining Facebook came right around the launch itself, then decreased until it saw a small, second peak: Stephen Hawking FB The day of the second spike, November 1st, was a Sunday, so that tells you something about this specific audience: Hawking fans spend time talking about him joining Facebook on Sunday, on Twitter, more than a week after it happens. Observing trends over time will tell you if this is an anomaly, or if Hawking fans have broader interests that bring them to Twitter on Sunday; perhaps something like #ScienceSunday.

Influencers to keep an eye on

The top ten contributors to the conversation included a lot of Spanish language accounts and one from Indonesia, which tells you Hawking fans are a global audience and not just limited to his native UK or the ties he has with the US. Hawking top contributors The most retweeted tweet also came from Spanish language Twitter account Antena3Noticias; the second and third most retweeted tweets about Hawking joining Facebook came from WIRED magazine.

Media outlets joining a discussion around your topic of interest means you can keep them in mind should you want to reach out for a story in the future. These most retweeted tweets and contributors list also tell you that in this case, you shouldn’t limit yourself to US-based media outlets either. The top URLs list confirmed this again, including links from the same Spanish language and Indonesian accounts:  Hawking top URLs

Final takeaways

This is just the insight you get from about week with a TweetReach Pro topic Tracker, looking at one specific launch. But it has already given enough information about the audience and activity times around that launch to inform a content strategy and refocus an audience profile.  The bonus takeaway is that science-related content strategies don’t have to be stuffy either: Hawking has a great sense of humor, and so does Twitter. 

Happy tracking!

Written by Sarah

November 19th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

3 ways to use TweetReach snapshot reports to complement real-time Twitter monitoring for your events

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For monitoring tweets about large events we always recommend creating a plan and setting up TweetReach Pro Trackers ahead of time so that you capture the full set of tweets for your analysis. That doesn’t mean, however, that our snapshot reports can’t act as a great complement to your in-depth tracking. Here are three reasons why:

1. Get the big picture quickly

Before you have time to dig into all of the information in your TweetReach Pro Tracker, you can grab a snapshot report for quick insight into the size of the conversation around an event hashtag, who the top contributors were, and which tweets were the most retweeted. Here’s a great example of a snapshot from Communications Week, which took place in New York last week:

CommsWeekNY

2. Build relationships with attendees

From the lists of top contributors and most retweeted tweets in your snapshot, make sure you’re following active event participants. You can also use these lists to engage with or thank them for their contribution to the event conversation. Pay attention to who these accounts also follow and retweet to help further build your own network on Twitter; these are good target accounts as they are likely to be a part of or interested in your industry. Building strong relationships with the right people can lead to reciprocal partnerships in the future, even if it’s just giving each other little PR boosts through retweets down the line.

To make this even easier, every Twitter username mentioned in your snapshot report is a clickable link that takes you to their Twitter account. You can also retweet or reply directly from your snapshot. Here’s an example from a snapshot of SocialMedia.org, whose summit started yesterday:

TweetReach snapshot report

 

3. Easily share stats with attendees

Since snapshot reports are so quick to run, you can easily share a snapshot report at the end of each day of your event, or even at the end of a big panel or keynote to give everyone in attendance – and those watching via Twitter – an idea of how that conversation went. Attendees can share the report with their followers, or use it in writing their own recap posts of their experiences. This also gives others interested in your event a better idea of what kind of content and conversation it produces, encouraging them to book for the next year if it lines up with their business.

Want more on event tracking with TweetReach?

Be sure you’re getting the most out of your snapshot reports by keeping things simple. And if you want more on how to track social media engagement with your events with Union Metrics, check out some of our other posts on marketing your conference across platforms: Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, as well as marketing your conference across platforms: Snapchat and Pinterest.

Written by Sarah

November 4th, 2014 at 9:46 am

4 tips for creating content that works across social channels

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Every time we’ve discussed running a campaign across social media platforms, we’ve emphasized how important it is to tailor content for your audience in each particular space. The kinds of content that perform extremely well on Facebook might not have the same effect on Tumblr, and vice versa. We understand, however, that not every department has the resources to create custom content for each channel. With that in mind we offer these tips for creating content that only requires some tweaking on each platform.

1. Start with visual content.

Visual content is striking and memorable, and it works well on all social media platforms. Even on Twitter, which is typically considered more of a text-based channel, tweets with photos perform better than those that don’t. If you don’t have the time to create custom content for each channel, then start with an image with some visual impact that you can use across social media. You can pair it with different taglines or headlines in each channel (more on that shortly).

2. Choose an image that will have impact across platforms with some simple adjustments.

Keep in mind what types of images work best on each platform. Does your audience respond well to long, vertical images without faces on Pinterest, but engages more with photos that includes faces on Instagram? Work with the same image and crop or edit it so it has maximum impact in each place.

Experiment with text placement, as well. Do photos with text superimposed over them do better on Instagram, or should you leave all the text in the caption? What about on Pinterest, Twitter, or Tumblr? Pay attention to how text placement performs on different social networks, and adjust your plan for the next time.

3. Tweak your tagline for each platform.

Start with some basic copy about your campaign, and then tweak the wording so it works the best in each channel. Keep it short and snappy for Twitter, avoid using a wall of hashtags on Instagram, leave the hashtags off entirely for Facebook, and don’t let the ability to make a long post on Tumblr let you think that’s the best place for it. If you haven’t tested long-form content on Tumblr before, now might not be the best time to do so. Do what’s best for your brand and a particular campaign with the resources that you have. (After the campaign is over? Test away!)

If you have a unique campaign or event hashtag, it’s a good idea to use the same hashtag across social media platforms. But if you’re using more general hashtags to participate in existing conversations, you may want to use different hashtags on different social media sites, even if you’re pairing those tags with the same image across channels.

4. Work from industry research about visual and content copy in each place.

Definitely base your content decisions on the data you collect from your own followers’ engagement, but don’t be afraid to also use what you know more generally about what your target audience likes in each place. Here are some resources to get you started:

Coupled with your own analytics about what your current, ideal and target customers respond to in each channel, you should be receive the maximum impact with the minimum amount of work!

Got questions or examples of campaigns you’ve pulled off using similar tactics, or something we missed? Leave it in the comments. 

Written by Sarah

October 21st, 2014 at 9:10 am

Why potential reach and impressions matter on Twitter

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All TweetReach reporting includes a number of engagement and listening metrics for Twitter. Two of the main metrics we provide are potential reach and impressions. Let’s talk a little more about what reach and impressions are, and why they’re so important to your Twitter strategy.

Reach is the size of the estimated potential unique audience for your tweets. TweetReach calculates reach algorithmically, based on data we’ve been collecting from Twitter for more than five years. It’s the best way of knowing how large your audience on Twitter can be, and takes unique recipients into account.

Impressions measure the size of total potential exposure. This shows you how many total timelines your tweets were delivered to, so it’s a count of the maximum total impressions possible for your tweets.

TweetReach potential reach and impressions

Both of these estimated audience metrics are essential for understanding the full impact of your tweets, especially when used alongside Twitter’s internal analytics. Here’s how.

Reach and impressions for your Twitter account

Twitter’s analytics calculate actual impressions for each of your Twitter account’s tweets. That shows how many people actually saw that tweet. TweetReach calculates total possible impressions for those tweets. Use actual impressions and potential impressions together to fully understand your impact on Twitter. The number of actual impressions received will vary from tweet to tweet and account to account, but your actual impressions will likely be between 1% and 20% of your potential impressions.

Knowing how your actual impressions compare to your potential impressions shows you exactly how well your tweets are performing, how large your audience is, and how large your audience could be. What’s the ratio of your actual impressions to potential impressions? Are your tweets on the low side? Do some perform better than others? Use this information to determine how you can improve your ratio. Which tweets are seen – and engaged with – by more people? What makes those tweets different? Maybe you used a particular hashtag or included a photo. If so, try doing more of that to see how you can activate more of your potential audience, and improve your ratio of actual to potential impressions.

Additionally, you can use other TweetReach metrics on engagement (like retweets and replies, average retweets rate) and contributors (such as contributors who have engaged the most with your content and generated the highest exposure) to understand not just how far your content is reaching, but how and with whom.

Reach and impressions for competitors’ or influencers’ accounts

While Twitter’s activity dashboard focuses on your own Twitter presence, you can use TweetReach to analyze any Twitter account, including your competitors, influencers in your industry, celebrities, or any other public Twitter account.

Start with a quick share of voice analysis. How do your reach and impressions compare to those of your closest competitor? How about other similar Twitter accounts? Remember these are potential impressions, so know that – just like for your own Twitter account – your competitors’ actual impressions will be a similarly small percentage of their potential impressions.

For a more advanced analysis, dive deeper into competitive intelligence. Run TweetReach reports or Trackers for your competitors, then take a look at the popular content and top contributors in these conversations. What Twitter accounts are engaging with your competitors? Who are they and do you follow them? What hashtags are your competitors using? Are there any new or relevant hashtags you could use? What tweets are resonating in the conversation?

Reach and impressions for hashtags, keywords or other terms

With TweetReach, you can measure more than just a Twitter account – you can measure the impact of anything in a tweet, like a hashtag, a phrase or keyword, even a URL. Twitter’s activity dashboard only includes tweets posted from your account, so you can’t use it to analyze impressions for the overall conversation around a hashtag, for example.

You’re probably using a variety of hashtags in your tweets – some for specific campaigns or events and other more general hashtags to signal participation in a particular industry or conversation. Do you know the reach of those hashtags? With TweetReach, you can understand the potential reach and impressions for any hashtag, which helps you understand the size of the conversation you’re participating in. If a hashtag has a low reach, then you’ll be able to have a large impact in a smaller space. If the hashtag’s reach is high, you’ll less likely to make a big impact in the overall conversation, but you’re participating in a more popular topic. The best Twitter strategy includes a bit of both; use a combination of specific and general hashtags in your tweets to reach the most people.

Interested in learning more about how you can use potential reach and impressions to improve your Twitter strategy? We’d be happy to show you how to use TweetReach’s Twitter analytics to better understand the full impact of your tweets. Let’s talk!

Written by Jenn D

October 16th, 2014 at 10:04 am

Posted in Guides

Tagged with , , ,

3 non-traditional use cases for TweetReach historical analytics

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TR Historical 1

We’ve already looked at 5 ways to use our premium historical analytics, including an in-depth look at how to use them to build brand voice, and now we want to go over some more non-traditional use cases for them.

Even if you’re part of a more traditionally minded marketing team, these could inspire some new approaches to your content strategy. Plus, we’ve paired each of these use cases with a more traditional marketing takeaway.

1. Journalism

Use our historical analytics to see how a story broke out on Twitter, and how it spread. How did the people on the ground at the incident share information? Did local and national news sources communicate with them and contact them to be interviewed for newscasts, or did they send their own people ? How were those journalists’ social media reports different from those of civilian witnesses? A journalist who was on Twitter when a story broke and might have most of this information cataloged in screenshots already could use our historical analytics to fill in any remaining gaps in the story. New story leads or witnesses could be discovered in this way, and investigated or interviewed.

Traditional marketing takeaway: This is the same style of research you can employ to see how a social crisis broke and spread on Twitter, and help build your own crisis communication plan accordingly.

2. Comedy

Running low on material? Reach back through past periods on Twitter to rework some old jokes into something new for your next standup show or writing gig. Likewise you can look at another funny person you admire’s timeline to see how their skills developed over time, inspiring new joke styles, approaches to writing, or even just timing.

Traditional marketing takeaway: If it fits with your brand, don’t be afraid to be funny. Have you used humor in your content strategy in the past? See how those tweets performed vs. neutrally toned tweets that were conveying similar types of information. If it doesn’t fit with your brand, don’t force it.

3. Charity

Running a charity campaign on social media is tricky; you want to strike just the right balance of reaching the maximum amount of people in and just outside of your network who might be interested in contributing, without annoying them. Know of a campaign that nailed it? Use historical analytics to sample their campaign, or even study the entirety of it and model your own approach after theirs.

Traditional marketing takeaway: Use this same approach to study a past campaign that your company- or a competitor- has run either successfully or to lackluster results. What worked and what didn’t? Use that to inform how you plan and execute your next campaign in the same space.

Want to get started and learn more?

Fantastic! You can read more about our premium historical analytics here, and even request a quote. And remember, we can analyze anything and everything ever posted to Twitter, all the way back to the very first public Tweet posted in March 2006.

TR Historical 2

Written by Sarah

October 14th, 2014 at 11:39 am

3 tips to maximize video marketing using Twitter

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Visual content marketing- particularly in the form of videos- is the hot topic of marketing at the moment. Videos are attention grabbing, and when done well, attention holding. They can elicit strong emotional response. Brands like Budweiser have capitalized on this with their horse-and-puppy friendship Super Bowl commercials. Most brands don’t have the same level of resources, however.

Make the most of the resources you do have and get the most out of the video content your brand shares on Twitter, with these three tips. The best part? They don’t require a multi-million dollar budget or dedicated video team to execute.

1. Tease pieces of a longer video

Drive traffic back to your YouTube channel or website by posting 6-second clips of your full video on Vine, 15-second clips on Instagram, and sharing both of those on your Twitter account. Pick the section of video that will be the most interesting to the audience on each platform, and take note of which one performs best when shared on Twitter.

2. Make a series of shorter videos leading up to a longer one

Even if what you’re planning to release is a longer video that covers different aspects of change in your business structure or that demos a product, you can still use this approach; just film quick 6-15 second clips of stand-ins acting as customers, asking the questions that your longer video will address. Tweet these with the promise that an answer is coming soon, and use them as an opening to get your customers to share their most frequent questions with you so that you can address them.

3. Use Twitter to source material for your next video

Whether you’re just getting into video marketing or your well of content ideas has run dry, Twitter can help you out. Do you host or attend any Twitter chats? Ask the attendees if there is a topic they’d like to see addressed, and plan your next video around it. Consider hosting a weekly Q&A on Twitter where you collect the best questions and have them answered in video format and shared back on Twitter. Use a unique hashtag for your Q&A so you can track the conversation over time, and so your question askers will have an easier time finding the new video answers as you post them.

The bottom line

Twitter is fantastic for amplification of your video messages, and for connecting with your audience in real-time way that isn’t possible with video comment sections.

Does your brand have a successful video content marketing strategy? What tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Below: A quick Instagram demo of the visualization of the Union Metrics for Tumblr analytics we had on display in our suite at SXSW 2013. 

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Watch reblog connections grow before your eyes: A visualization of Tumblr data powered by yours truly at Union Metrics, last #SXSWi. #TBT #ThrowbackThursday #SXSW

View on Instagram

Written by Sarah

October 9th, 2014 at 9:29 am

5 ways to use TweetReach historical Twitter analytics

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Ever wanted to measure the impact of a past event or hashtag on Twitter? You can with TweetReach premium historical analytics! They’re a powerful tool for researching, planning, executing campaigns and so much more on Twitter. Here are just five ways you can utilize our historical Twitter analytics to your benefit.

Get historical twitter analytics through TweetReach

But first, where does TweetReach’s historical Twitter data come from?

At Union Metrics, we have licensed commercial access to the full historical Twitter archive from Gnip, which means we can reach all the way back to the first public tweet posted in March 2006. This goes beyond the scope of basic Twitter search and anything that can be pulled with Twitter’s public API; the information you can get from those sources is limited to data from the past few days or weeks. Our historical access includes the full archive from Twitter itself, and you can’t get that just anywhere.

The possibilities for using our historical analytics are as varied as the content on Twitter itself. And if you’ve ever used our TweetReach Pro Trackers, the analytics in our historical reporting is similar: potential reach, exposure, volume, individual tweet, hashtag, URL and contributor metrics. It’s delivered in the same detailed format as our Trackers, so you have comprehensive reporting and interactive metrics, allowing you to drill into interesting trends.

Still have questions about TweetReach historical Twitter analytics? You can read more about our historical analytics here, or send us an email to learn more.

So, how can you use our historical Twitter reporting? Here are a few ideas.

1. Nail a pitch

Are you an agency trying to win over a new client? Want to prove to your boss that you can handle bigger and better projects? Use our historical analytics to build out comprehensive proof of the performance of campaigns you’ve managed in the past, or evidence that those you managed performed better than those of your competition. It’s hard to argue against numbers.

2. Create an airtight content marketing plan

A quick Google search will provide thousands of content marketing best practices, but the bottom line is that you can only know what works best for your industry, and more specifically, for your customers, when you measure it. Do you have chunks of missing data from the performance of past campaigns? Use our historical analytics to fill in any gaps in your history of data, or to build out a history if one doesn’t already exist, either because of a lack of budget or a change in your role. Get the metrics you need to fully understand how your content performs on Twitter.

3. Plan for crisis communications

Has your company faced a crisis in the past? What about anyone else in your industry? Are there notable past social media crises you’d like to study to help model your own crisis communication plan after? Our historical analytics can give you a clear picture of what happened in the course of an entire event: who reacted when and how to which tweets. Understand which communication tactics worked, and which backfired. Use this information to build out a comprehensive crisis communication plan, should such a situation occur when you’re at the helm.

4. Conduct research

Similarly, you can use our historical analytics to understand how a past event unfolded in Twitter in order to write about it from a journalistic, academic, or other point of view. Want to know how many tweets were posted about an election last year? What hashtags were most popular at a previous conference? The top picture shared during a protest? We can search on any keywords, hashtags, usernames, URLs – anything that appears in a tweet. Use this to unearth and study conversations about past events.

5. Build your brand voice

We’ve discussed in detail how you can use our historical analytics to build a brand voice from scratch, or even learn (or rebuild) the voice of a brand you’ve recently taken over for. Once you’ve solidly established your brand’s voice, you can work on increasing your share of voice in your particular industry.

Want to learn more or run your historical Twitter analytics report? Start here.

 

Written by Sarah

September 29th, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Posted in Guides

Tagged with ,

3 ways DiGiorno reacted well to their Twitter crisis

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It happens. Brands tweet first and check the meaning behind a hashtag or topic later; never a good idea. The latest installment came from DiGiorno Pizza when they jumped on a trending hashtag without checking its origin first:

DiGiorno WhyIStayedUnfortunately, it was a hashtag on which women were sharing their experiences with domestic violence. When many who saw the tweet reacted with the kind of snark DiGiorno is known for, saying there would soon be an opening for a new social media manager, the brand took action immediately. While it’s important to have a social media crisis communication plan in place, brands also have to act on any unique situation that presents itself in a way that best reflects their brand values.

DiGiorno did three things right immediately to take control of this potential social media crisis.

1. Deleted the offensive tweet, immediately.

Although things can never be permanently deleted in an age of screenshots- like the one taken from the Huffington Post article detailing the offensive tweet in question, above- taking the action alone signals that a brand understands that they have done something wrong and that they are taking action to right it. An important first step in the right direction, provided it is done immediately. Waiting to delete a tweet until intense backlash builds signals that a brand doesn’t think they’ve done anything wrong, or doesn’t care enough to do anything about it.

2. Apologized, and then reiterated the apology.

Immediately after deleting the tweet, DiGiorno followed up with an appropriate apology:

And a day later they reiterated it:

DiGiorno is working to communicate that they understand the magnitude of their mistake, and they know it cannot be fixed in a single tweet. Or even with two. Which brings us to the third thing they did right.

3. Personally responded to those who were offended, individually.

Most brands delete an offensive tweet, apologize, and lay low before moving forward when enough time has passed. DiGiorno took things a step further and reached out individually to Twitter users offended by their tweet:

DiGiorno individual apologies

That takes a lot of time, and shows that DiGiorno takes their fans, followers and customers seriously. They are willing to respond to those who have reached out to them with concerns – and not simply with a canned, repeated answer.

The bottom line.

This is a powerful lesson for brands: Take the time to research any trending hashtag or topic before joining the flow of conversation. As DiGiorno said above in one of their individual response tweets, that’s an inexcusable and highly avoidable mistake. But mistakes happen; and DiGiorno owned up and made amends as quickly as possible. DiGiorno did that part right.

Want to make TweetReach a part of your social media crisis plan? We can help: Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis. And talk to us if you’d like to start monitoring tweets about your brand. 

Written by Sarah

September 10th, 2014 at 8:39 am

5 ways universities interact with their students on social media

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In the fall of 2012 Yale University started using our Union Metrics for Tumblr analytics to get smarter about how they were using the social blogging platform to share information and relate to their students. Since then, many more colleges and universities have created accounts on various social platforms in order to stay connected with their students in the places those students already spend their time. Here are a few examples of what universities are doing to reach students across social media.

1. On Tumblr: Share information with targeted groups

Tumblr’s unique position as a blogging platform with a built-in social element works especially well for universities wanting to target different groups of current or potential students. The tagging system means different types of posts can easily find their way to their respective communities across the site, and some universities even carve out separate Tumblrs for different areas of their university and resources. For example, the University of Texas at Austin has one Tumblr for their School of Architecture, one for the Blanton Museum, another for the Harry Ransom Center, and one more for the LBJ Library. That gives diehard Longhorns the chance to keep track of all resources UT offers, while those only interested in what the Blanton has to offer can narrow their focus.

MIT, on the other hand, chooses to focus their approach to just Residential Life & Dining on Tumblr, giving incoming students a chance to learn about their options before they arrive on campus, taking a lot of the stress out of a big life change.

The bottom line? Tumblr is the best way for universities to reach specific communities. (A full list of all the universities with a presence on Tumblr can be found here for those interested.)

2. On Instagram: Capture attention with compelling images

Many universities have a presence across platforms, and they play to each platform’s strengths. Yale, for example, uses Instagram to show off campus and the school’s history, beauty, and people. Instagram images can easily be shared to other platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook to quickly catch the attention of followers in those spaces.

Meanwhile the University of Texas at Austin encourages students to share their photos with them, using specific hashtags: #HookEm, #Longhorns, #UTAustin, #UTTower, and #WhatStartsHere along with specific seasonal or event-based hashtags like #UTsummer. This helps current, former, and potential students feel connected to the university even when they’re not on campus– or feel like they’re not missing out during a semester abroad.

They also have a separate Instagram account just for Longhorn football.

The bottom line? Instagram is the best place to share engaging images that will make students feel more connected to them, or attract them to become students in the first place. 

3. On Twitter: Share information quickly in critical situations

Twitter has already proven itself to be an invaluable resource for quick dissemination of information during a natural or man-made crisis, on a campus or otherwise.

In less serious situations, universities and colleges can use it to answer FAQs from new or prospective students, provide information and reminders about university events and deadlines, and share resources for students.

They can also host tweet chats to address specific topics of interest to current students, incoming students, potential students, and alums. For example, the University of Michigan Medical School hosts tweet chats to answer questions about their program, and the University of Central Missouri has hosted two allowing attendees to chat with the school’s president.

The bottom line? Twitter is the best way for universities to connect with their communities in real time. 

4. On Facebook: Provide an easily-found base

Facebook is the perfect social home base: A university profile can share resources and lead students back to other platforms. Users are comfortable using it to ask questions, and page administrators can answer them in a place that makes it easy for them to be seen by someone who might come looking to ask something similar. There’s also a review system in place, to let potential and incoming students know what life is really like on campus, like these from UT Austin’s Facebook page

UT FB Reviews

5. On Pinterest and Snapchat: Go the extra mile

While most people- especially the younger generation- expect to find some kind of social presence for businesses and institutions, they don’t expect them to be on the newer platforms. Universities with the resources have the opportunity to really connect with their students in these places, providing additional resources that will really make a difference. What do you pack for freshman year of college? How can you decorate your dorm room in a way that’s more unique than just slapping up a Pink Floyd poster? A pinboard can answer those things and more, while Snapchat can give quick and intimate looks at life around campus, snippets of lectures, a look at a spontaneous snowball fight, and more.

Drake University uses Pinterest to share Bulldog culture, while the University of Houston sends snaps to share their story with students and followers:

The bottom line? Meeting students where they are and don’t expect you to be- in a way that isn’t condescending or pandering- will win major bonus points.

The bottom line?

Universities engage their students best when they speak to them and share resources in their own language, in the platforms they already use. Strategies should play to each platform’s strengths, without sacrificing creativity.

Written by Sarah

August 27th, 2014 at 9:39 am