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The Week in Social Media Analytics #134

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For this Friday’s Week in Social Analytics, we’ll just give you a chance to click on that link and catch up with our favorite posts of the past year in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media.

Or just kick back by the fire with some cocoa. Either way.

Happy holidays!

Written by Sarah

December 26th, 2014 at 9:00 am

The Week in Social Analytics #133

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook

Content Marketing 

No matter what’s written in everyone’s predictions for social media marketing in 2015, the sheer number of articles around content marketing in these last few weeks of 2014 prove that content strategy is very much on everyone’s minds. Here are the best from this week:

Your 12 Point Content Marketing Strategy (Part 1 of 4) [from Pushing Social; written by Stan Smith]

25 Questions I Ask About B2B Content Marketing [from Convince & Convert; written by Jay Baer]

4 Tools to Enhance the Images in Your Content Marketing [from Jeff Bullas]

Who, How, and Why: Three Keys to Successful Content Marketing [from Marketing Profs; written by Callie Reynolds]

21 Questions To Help You Define Your Content Marketing Strategy [B2B Marketing Insider; written by Michael Brenner]

Brand Map Framework

And once you’ve mapped out your content strategy, here’s 7 Tips To Optimize Your Content For Social Sharing from Heidi Cohen.

Visual Content Marketing 

The best in Vines and Instagram video from brands this year. Use these examples to plan your visual content strategy for 2015.

30 of the best Vines of 2014 [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

15 of the best Instagram videos of 2014 [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

BONUS: The only 2015 marketing prediction piece you need. 

7 Tongue-in-Cheek Marketing Predictions for 2015 [from Social Media Today; written by Randy Milanovic]

Written by Sarah

December 19th, 2014 at 8:32 am

The Week in Social Analytics #129

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

We’re deep into Q4, so a lot of this week’s content is based around what will help you plan your 2015 content marketing strategy.

On content marketing. 

Why Content Marketing Fails…and How It Can Succeed [from Cision; written by Brian Conlin]

A short list of who to blame for your failures, followed by some actionable tips to take with you into your content planning for 2015.

Copywriting: Brevity is the soul of marketing [from Marketing Experiments; written by John Tackett]

“If there is one simple takeaway from this test, from my point of view, it’s that brevity is the heart of relevance and the soul of marketing. . .Clearly communicating what you can do with a product is likely to generate more relevance and appeal for email recipients over the long run.”

The same goes for images; choose an image that clearly and simply represents what you’re trying to get across to customers.

How to Repurpose Your Content Into an Ideal SlideShare Deck [from Marketing Profs; written by Chris Brown]

“Business executives use SlideShare at a rate that’s five times greater than their rate of use for other social networks, comScore reports.

Repurposing your content for SlideShare is easy and helps you to get more mileage out of an existing investment.”

Pair with this great deck on social listening from #SMX.

Charts and stats. 

10 Stats That Will Impact Your 2015 Content Strategy [from Kapost; written by Katrina Pfannkuch]

1. Only 35% of B2B content marketers have a documented content strategy.
If you aren’t part of this 35% of B2B content marketers, what’s stopping you?

A content strategy is no longer a “someday” project for an intern; it’s what’s going to help you keep your skin in the game and increase the number of “touch points” for connecting with your target audience.

Why everything you’re doing to engage fans is wrong…in a single chart [from Marketing Pilgrim; written by Andy Beal]

Fans prefer to stay in touch using brand sites

Keep in mind this is just one chart from one survey of around 1200 people. It’s important to keep up with industry trends, but it’s  also more important to pay attention to what your customers do. If your customers are routinely contacting you on Twitter with customer service queries, then that’s where you need to be consistently.

On digital marketing and storytelling. 

Part 1: Evolving Your 2015 Comms Strategy with Digital Storytelling [from Lewis PR; written by Ruth Mathias]

 “Sixty per cent of decision-making happens before any direct contact with a brand. This means if you’re not effectively engaging your prospective customers online your competitors are already way ahead of you. Marketers need to effectively influence a buyer’s journey across every channel and touch point.”

Don’t Ask For Faster Horses: Embrace Revolutionary Change In Digital Marketing [from Marketing Land; written by David Rodnitzky]

“Rather, the point is this: ten years from now, what will people that look back at internet marketing today see as the obvious shifts in the ecosystem that most marketers missed or ignored, and how can you make sure you recognize these changes now? How do you make sure you ask for a car and not a horse?”

Emphasis added.

Written by Sarah

November 21st, 2014 at 8:33 am

The Week in Social Analytics #127

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

On platforms

You Can Put A Price On Pinterest [from Heidi Cohen]

“Pinterest users are highly active on other social media networks according to Global Web Index. As a result they don’t need the same input from family, friends and colleagues that they get from other social media platforms.”

On emotions and trust

Why trust is vital if brands are to make the most of consumer data  [from Econsultancy; written by David Moth]

“Digital technology has given marketers access to an unfathomable amount of customer data, however it should be used in a responsible manner for risk of destroying consumer trust.”

how much trust do you have in comanpanies

Four ways social media impacts emotional branding [from {grow}; written by Mark Schaefer]

  1. We build relationships with brands like we build relationships with our friends. It takes many positive interactions over a period of time.
  2. Loyalty trumps everything. If the world turns upside-down, your loyal customers will be there. So our ultimate goal is to create loyalty.
  3. It is impossible to achieve true brand loyalty in the long-term without emotional connection.
  4. Emotional connection comes when we feel a brand becomes part of our self-identity.

Funny, followers and follow back; how social cues affect our perceptions on Twitter [from Marketing Pilgrim; written by Cynthia Boris]

“But without evening knowing it, your choices are based on social proofs that you’ve picked up in a split second – unconscious cues that help you quickly decide what’s worth your time and what isn’t.”

Also covered by Digiday with Why people don’t like your brand on Twitter, in five charts.

Twitter Tone of Voice

On B2B

Understanding the Channels: An Overview of Social, Mobile, Digital and Traditional Marketing for B2B [from Forbes; written by Daniel Newman]

Marketing strategies must overlap

At some point, your marketing strategies need to converge to give you the best outcomes. For instance, if you are selling software, you can find new customers and educate or inform the existing ones about new products or updates through social media and/or the use of video in creative ways. But, if you sell farming equipment, you might split your marketing efforts into two ways – social media for educating customers, combined with traditional methods like direct mail, banner ads or TV spots to help you do the actual selling.”

The Content Habits of B2B Enterprise Marketers | Infographic [from Marketing Profs; written by Ayaz Nanji]

“More than half (53%) of B2B enterprise marketers spend fewer than two hours a day engaging with industry content. Moreover, 31% say they probably overestimate how much time they spend with this sort of content.”

Pair with B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015 [Infographic] also from Marketing Profs.

On measurement and everything else

How #TechnologyAndStuff Became GM’s Oreo Moment [from Social Media Today; written by Mark Schaefer]

“This small victory gives me hope. If a bureaucratic company with 1,000 lawyers like GM can embrace an embarrassment and use social media in a wise and fun way, maybe there is hope for all of us! Here is what they did right:

1) In a PR crisis, they cut through the bureaucracy to let the storytellers, instead of the lawyers, run the show.

2) They responded IMMEDIATELY and set the tone for the reaction. If they had reacted in a formal or legalistic way, they would have become part of the controversy instead of part of the fun. They would have reinforced an image of being stiff and out of touch instead of being playful and cool — like their trucks.

3) Instead of focusing on the bumbling #ChevyGuy and the negative implications for the brand, they hijacked the meme with #TechnologyAndStuff which is still funny but also connects the brand to something positive. And stuff.

In a world where traditional media often pokes fun at social media mess-ups, it is refreshing to see a traditional media mess-up become a social media success story.”

Pair with Why Brands Should Stop Idolizing Oreo’s Social Media Strategy, also from Social Media Today.  

The Danger Of Focusing Expectations On A Single Metric [from Marketing Land; written by Kendall M. Allen]

“When doing our business, marketing plan and any given initiative within it justice — do we always slow down and really think through what we are trying to accomplish and why? Do we take the time to lay out the strategy and tactics, and then determine the various (operative word: various) things we should care to learn?”

What Fashion Designers & Publicists Need to Know about Product Photography [from PR Couture; written by Lori Riviere]

Quality product photography enhances a consistent brand image.

 

Written by Sarah

November 7th, 2014 at 8:33 am

The Week in Social Analytics #124

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Twitter and social television:

10 Secret #Twitter Tips, Tricks and Hacks (That You Probably Don’t Know) [from AllTwittr; written by Shea Bennett]

A good list of tips and tricks to browse, even if you’ve been on Twitter for years.

How SMBs Can Most Effectively Use Twitter [from V3; written by Shelley Kramer]

“. . .it’s also important to remember that prospective customers aren’t really interested in you singing your brand’s praises on Twitter. What they are looking for, however, and why they report they follow SMBs on Twitter is to learn about new products, show support for products and brands they already love and to get information they can use. Keep that in mind as you’re crafting your social media strategy and the content you create and share in social media channels. This research may be specific to Twitter, but I’d guess it can easily be extrapolated across other social media channels as well.”

Emphasis added.

Twitter and TV: 4 Ways to Make It Work [from Convince and Convert; written by Nick Cicero]

“As video becomes more fluid online, social engagement will become essential to finding and retaining loyal viewers for a show, as some have even said, social media is the new TV guide.”

Emphasis original.

Six ways social media is changing the nature of TV forever [from Econsultancy; written by Juliet Stott]

“Social media and social TV are two of the reasons why watching live TV is still so strong, says MTV Finland’s executive producer.

‘People cannot miss the show when it comes on air because they would miss the conversation – it’s part of the draw,’ says Rasimus.”

Instagram and Pinterest:

8 Business Growth Strategies for Instagram [from Social Media Today; written by Warren Knight]

Integration (social buttons on your site and cross-posting Instagram images to other social networks where you have a presence) is a key strategy in this list. After all, if your customers don’t know you’re on a platform, how can they follow you there?

Instagram Grows As Teens’ Social Network of Choice [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“Roughly three-quarters of respondents reported using the visual platform, up from 69% in the previous survey.”

PiperJaffray-US-Teens-Social-Media-Preferences-Oct2014

The profile of Pinterest users [from We Are Social; written by Deniz Ugur]

“. . .almost two-thirds of users are in 16-34 age bracket and there are more women than men on the platform.”

Click through for the full infographic.

On digital storytelling and marketing psychology:

Harness the Power of Negativity Bias for Positive Marketing [from SHIFT Communications; written by JJ Samp]

“Your ability to resonate with your audience is enhanced by the finesse with which you can identify negative sentiment and gracefully associate it with a positive message.”

Baratunde Thurston on How to Make Digital Storytelling Fun [from Social Media Today; written by Mary Ellen Egan]

“. . .Baratunde emphasized the importance for companies to match their brand and their mission to their digital stories. If stories come off as inauthentic or tone deaf, consumers will revolt.”

Click through to watch the full video of his presentation.

Finally, some bonus stats on holiday shopping expectations:

Survey: Social Media To Influence Half Of Holiday Shoppers from Marketing Land and 41 percent of shoppers plan to spend more online this holiday season from Marketing Pilgrim.

The Week in Social Analytics #121

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

On Tumblr: 

How to Do Native Advertising Right on Tumblr [from Yahoo Advertising; written by Team]

Deliver good content consistently 

Tumblr is known for original, striking content. Make your posts stand out enough to grab attention on users’ dashboards, the primary destination on Tumblr.”

The evolution of Tumblr: From micro-blogging platform to an eco-system of content [from Taylor PR; written by Sandeena Ahmed]

“This is where I think Tumblr’s evolution is best illustrated; in the interaction between and creation of various subcultures on this platform. What started as a way to micro-blog (a change of pace from the Blogger, Livejournal, and WordPress days) has turned into a thriving eco-system of content. Tumblr gives you a platform to post about art that you have created, articles that you enjoy, TV and movies that you adore, and discuss and argue on everything from the latest fashion trends to the ontological value of the pineapple in SpongeBob Squarepants.”

Brands need to fully understand how a platform’s users express themselves in each place, and how their interactions and content production differ even among different subcultures on the same platform. Once they do that work, then they can begin to contribute valuable content and become a part of the conversation.

On Instagram: 

5 Ways to Fall into Instagram Marketing [from Business 2 Community; written by Kelly Shepsko]

“One tried and true way of increasing your following and engagement on your content is by following others and engaging on their content. Search hashtags to locate target audience members, whether your company is B2C or B2B. Follow relevant users and then periodically engage on their posts by liking their photos or commenting. However, you don’t want to sound “spammy”, so don’t bombard them with your sales pitch!”

On visual content marketing & storytelling: 

Incorporate Visual Social Media in Your Content Strategy [from Spin Sucks; written by Carol Scott]

Includes some important steps for brands creating a visual social strategy:

Think broadly about your visuals. Not every pin or Instagram photo has to be (or should be) focused on your brand. Capital One and American Express both maintain pinboards for brides, world travelers, and bucket-list creators. These images are inherently shareable, regardless of a user’s affiliation with the companies, which makes it easier for the brands to spread organically.”

10 Tips for Managing Your Visual Content (Without Going Crazy) [from Marketing Profs; written by Liz McLellan]

If you’re a large company with a large amount of unorganized visual assets, then you definitely want to look to this piece for advice on how to manage your various digital assets.

The 3 Factors That Drive Content Marketing Success [from B2B Marketing Insider; written by Michael Brenner]

“. . .one of my biggest secrets is that I don’t spend nearly as much time writing as you might think. I am opportunistic with re-purposing the content I already create.”

Tip: Data isn’t sexy, but visual storytelling is [from Social Fresh; written by Jason Keath]

“Find the data. Make it visual. Share. Rinse, repeat.”

What is storytelling for brands and why do you need it? [from Econsultancy; written by Christopher Ratcliff]

“Storytelling in marketing terms isn’t just about telling ‘a story’ (producing an advert where a narrative arc occurs), it’s about telling the story of the ‘brand’ across multiple channels and using various tools and methods.”

On Twitter: 

Study: Live-Tweeting lifts Tweet volume, builds a social audience for your show [from Twitter; written by Anjali Midha]

“Besides increasing the volume of Tweets about a show, live-Tweeting can contribute to building an audience on Twitter.”

You can also look at this data in alternate chart form from Marketing Charts.

How to blast your Twitter engagement rates through the roof [from Econsultancy; written by Matt Owen]

“People like big, colourful pictures. They like them more if they look like they include information, and there are twin psychological reasons for this.

  • Firstly, it’s a (I’m sorry for using this phrase, I really am) value-add. You don’t even have to click on a link to get at that sweet sweet insight.
  • Secondly, it’s easy to share this and show people that you too are a valuable source of information (Or if you’re like me, at least give the appearance of knowing what you’re talking about).”

10+ Takeaways from the Social Shake-Up 2014

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The Social Shake-Up (TSSU) 2014 went down in Atlanta, Georgia, last week and we sent our Content Marketing Specialist Sarah Parker to check it out. She came back with new connections and a bunch of fantastic insights! We’ve pulled together her favorite insights from each of the panels, discussions, and keynotes from her two days at TSSU 2014 for your benefit.

The Social Shake-Up | Day One

Day one’s opening conversation with Brian Solis covered the changing digital landscape, and how it is more important than ever to put people first.

Many highlights of the two-day conference were captured by the talented people behind Ludic Creatives.

Two of the standout sessions on day one covered visual marketing and the art and science of storytelling. We already shared a quick tip on crisis communication picked up in the visual marketing session, but what other memorable information was there? Here are five of day one’s big takeaways:

  1. Choose organic hashtags over branded hashtags. Find a way to incorporate your brand message with an already popular or trending hashtag; just be sure you double and triple check the meaning of that hashtag before you use it.
  2.  Use the newsroom approach. Oreo’s Super Bowl Oreo Moment happened because they were prepared and they had set up a command center to quickly capitalize on the big game’s moments and execute content. Build your own version of this to maximize on big social moments, but don’t force your way in to a conversation that doesn’t make sense for your brand.
  3.  Take a content selfie. Measure how your content is performing beyond vanity metrics to those that really impact your business and your business goals.
  4.  Make your information bite-size. Long form content can easily get lost in a world of short attention spans; break off smaller bits of the longer content you have for easily-digestible tweets and more.
  5.  Consistent brand personality is important. But that doesn’t mean that your brand’s personality can only strike one note. Human personalities cover the spectrum from the serious to the silly and it’s possible for brands to pull this off if they put their voice in the right hands.

The Social Shake-Up | Day Two

Day two’s morning keynote from Jeremiah Owyang covered the collaborative economy and what it means for the future of business. Where does social fit into all of this?

How else would we communicate about all the pieces of The Honeycomb?  Day two’s sessions included a case study from Coca-Cola on real-time analysis and storytelling, social audience targeting, and a panel discussion on crisis communication. Here are five of the day’s big takeaways: 

  1. Listening to the existing conversation around your brand gives you openings to become a part of it. Brands should look for these serendipitous openings, but also be strategic in when and how they join conversations. For example, the sentiment around Coke’s #AmericaIsBeautiful big game advertisement on social media was ultimately positive, because the marketing team released the behind-the-scenes videos of the making of the commercial once the backlash against it started. This helped turn the conversation around.
  2. Show your audience that you’re listening by actually addressing their concerns. Coke was sponsoring an event with a health-focused track that was unhappy with their presence, so Coke replaced their opening promotional, sponsor speech with a video interview from their lead scientist addressing the health concerns that had been aired to them on Twitter.
  3. Audience targeting methods will vary depending on your industry. Luxury markets focus on keeping organic followers, because they want those who come to them to stay. Any outreach will be very targeted, because it’s about reaching the right people over the most people possible. This isn’t true for non-luxury brands. Research and emulate the approach of other brands in your field, then test slightly different approaches to see what works for your brand.
  4. Target lookalike audiences: What do your best customers look like? Build out that profile, then target those that look just like them on previously untapped platforms.
  5. Never leave out a platform in your monitoring of a crisis. You never know where people prefer to receive- or distribute- their information.

 The closing keynote on day two from Baratunde Thurston conveyed with humor that digital storytelling doesn’t, in fact, have to be boring. 

Want more?

Check out the posts published on Social Media Today about various aspects of TSSU 2014 from networking to other attendee’s takeaways, as well as the conversation on Twitter. Don’t have time to dig through the whole hashtag? Here’s a Storify from Insightpool, sponsor of the opening night party.

Where you at The Social Shake-Up? Leave your highlights and takeaways in the comments!

Written by Sarah

September 24th, 2014 at 3:25 pm

The Week in Social Analytics #118

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This is where we usually share the best things we’ve been reading this week, but this week we thought we’d turn things around and ask you what the best things you’ve been reading are.

Share your favorite piece or blog in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter!

Happy reading out there.

Written by Sarah

September 5th, 2014 at 9:07 am

The Week in Social Analytics #117

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Best Practices for B2B Social Media [from SHIFT Communications; written by Amanda Grinavich]

“Because you even though your focus is businesses, you still market and sell to people. And guess what? Those people are on social media too.”

Does Your Company’s Social Media Use Compare? 2014 Fortune 500 Social Media | Research / Charts [from Heidi Cohen]

Check out this great roundup of charts and stats from Heidi Cohen to see where your company ranks in terms of social media usage.

4 Steps To Successful Content Personalization [from MarketingLand; written by Rachel Balik]

“Above all, remember that you need to consider the solution and process that will work best for your company and your technology stack. Make sure that you’re working cross-departmentally with the right stakeholders to get complete buy-in and then the right information. Then, stay invested in the progress so you may tweak and optimize as you go.”

A Crisis Plan You Can Execute in 30 Minutes or Less [from Spin Sucks; written by Phil Gerbyshak]

“Prepare a crisis plan now—before your 30 minutes of make or break is in front of you—and your business can avoid being burned to the ground by one disgruntled ex-customer.”

Pair with: Crisis communication on Twitter for airlines, and crisis communication tactics for cruise lines.

How to Respond to Online Brand and Reputation Attacks [from Social Media Explorer; written by Whitney Gibson]

Do you respond?

“First, it is necessary to evaluate the attacker’s characteristics and find out as much information as possible about the attacker and whether they pose a significant threat.

More specifically, it will be important to determine the following:

  • Whether this is likely a one-time attack by a disgruntled party or the beginning of a full-fledged campaign attack;
  • How sophisticated the attacker is;
  • Whether the attacker has a large social media and online presence or following; and
  • How likely the attacker might be to spread the information around the Internet in highly visible places.”

How To Determine If Your Brand Should Join In [from Likeable Media; written by Rachel Hadley]

“When deciding whether or not to join the conversation, it’s important to ask yourself the following:

  1. Why are we considering participating?
    Are you really posting to spread awareness of an organization or to honor victims of a tragedy? Or are you purely marketing your brand?
  2. Does it make sense for our brand?
    If there is an obvious tie-in to your business and a clear purpose of the post, go for it!
  3. Could it be seen as insensitive?
    If the answer is yes, it will be important to determine the risk. Not everyone is going to like what you do, no matter how good your intentions are, but asking yourself this question could provide a good litmus test to determine whether or not you should join in the conversation.”

20 Creative Hyperlapses From Instagram’s New App [from Mashable; written by Brian Koerber]

Hyperlapse just rolled out this week and some brands are already testing it out. Get inspired by the fruits of their labors.

Why Interactives are the Next Big Thing in Content Marketing [from Visual.ly; written by Karl Schutz]

“If infographics blew up because they caught people’s attention where a boring report wouldn’t, interactives are blowing up because they catch people’s attention – and hold it.”

3 Ways to Create Amazing Interactive Content [from Convince and Convert; written by Jared Flamm]

This piece covers interactive video marketing, reveal-based marketing, and polling. (Check out Wedgies for a great polling tool.)

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