Monthly Archives: November 2014




U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) has put a sword-wielding squirrel atop a unicorn as it floats through space—that’s not something you see every day.

University students around the nation fawn over the often too-brazen community of Rodentia sciuridae. But unique to the University of Michigan campus, perhaps, is the close relationship U-M students have to the resident squirrels.



Our hope was that Scatterhoard: A U-M Squirrel Quest would stand out, something both familiar and curiosity-raising. We planned to have fun creating a culture of engagement by improving the lives of students who then improve the world, all while increasing our Twitter following.

From a business perspective, it’s well established that constituents are more likely to recommend and purchase from companies that use social media to engage them positively—sometimes twice as likely.

For this reason, we wanted to focus on the student experience. Students frequently become alumni, and if we can get them in the habit of getting good “stuff” and good “vibes” from LSA’s social media channels, our students will be more inclined to make philanthropic commitments to the college in the future.



We were tentative about investing too much in promotion leading up to the event. While everyone we spoke to had lots of enthusiasm for the project, there was no guarantee that Scatterhoard would be any type of success. So we attempted to match effort with the amount of success that we could guarantee.


Our main concern during the planning phase is universal to every institution in higher education: How do we get students to care enough about what the institution is saying that they take action?

Could we use unicorn-riding squirrels to surprise students into paying attention to institutional messaging? And what venue–physical or digital–would LSA have to enter to make students take notice?

For promotion, we knew we couldn’t reach new followers by poaching our existing social media channels (“You like us on Facebook; now come follow us on Twitter”) to achieve the growth we desired. If students have found and followed us on one social media channel, that’s most likely the space where they want to connect. Instead, we figured that we had to physically enter the student space and leverage new media, where individuals did not already have a relationship with LSA.

To that end, we printed 100 posters for distribution around campus. We also distributed 500 mini-moo cards in a “spectacular Spectacular” during which a six-foot, Ulysses M. Squirrel anti-mascot hung out on the Diag for a few hours.

We also consulted the central university social media accounts, with the aim of leveraging their pre-established networks. We collaborated with Nikki Sunstrum to integrate Scatterhoard messaging into the existing Twitter accounts and new Snapchat channel, a strategy that broadened our reach to an already-engaged student body.


Social media drove the scavenger hunt and companion photo contest, making it critical for students to interact with LSA via social media during the campaign.


For the students following along, we hid five treasure-laden squirrel sculptures at various locations on campus and invited the students to watch for five #squest clues every day by following @UMichLSA on Twitter. We interacted with students on Twitter, observing them as they hunted down each hidden squirrel.

For all audiences following our social media, we offered a photo contest: Participants could take a selfie with a squirrel and tag it #squelfie. We included all #squelfie entries in a daily drawing for a prize from “the bottom of our goodie closet.”



We had great participation, which resulted in all five of the hidden squirrels being found. Significant participation in the #squelfie contest made it easy to give away prize packages.

Because we incorporated Twitter as an integral part of Scatterhoard and asked participants to follow our Twitter account, we saw a significant increase in our Twitter following.


In an average month, our growth rate is about 3.4%. In the Scatterhoard month of October 2014, or growth rate rose to nearly 7.6%! As of the writing of this post, attrition of the new followers has been nonexistent.

With the aid of other university social media entities, our messaging reached nearly 1.3 million potential impressions.

Furthermore, the rate of audience engagement showed an increase of 78% (excluding the promotion period leading up to the event).


Of the engagement metrics, we saw the largest increase in “User Profile Clicks” (364%), while the “Follows” metric represents the same level of increase as our 7.6% growth rate for October.


Scatterhoard proved itself as a viable method to increase LSA’s Twitter followership and delivered surprisingly high engagement rates. Beyond the strategic implications for follower growth, the Scatterhoard campaign underscores an often-overlooked premise: Students enjoy and respond to social media fun that may be off-message but on-mission.



Contributed by Matthew J. Adams (@mtthwjdms), Social Media Manager for the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (@UMichLSA). Matthew is a fan of all things Batman, Star Wars, and Tolkien, father of four future Victors, and the husband of Aimee.

Introducing #UMichChat

It was around 11:00 am on November 7th, and we could feel the excitement build as we all circled around the conference room in the William Davidson Player Development Center, eyes glued to the large screen on the opposite wall. We had a variety of tabs open, typical of the #UMSocial team, in order to monitor live conversations happening via Twitter. As it got closer to 11:30, we were ready to implement and facilitate the first ever #UMichChat!

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In an effort to engage our Twitter following and reach out to academic and athletic leaders on campus, the 1st Friday of each month will be dedicated to the new #UMichChat series. This will allow for our followers and University of Michigan students, faculty, and fans to submit questions for the featured guests and join in the live conversation, following the hashtag. It’s also a great way to tap into the Tweet Chat guests’ communities and reach out to a larger audience, one that we might not have originally been interacting with on a daily basis. We were lucky enough to kick off the first session with none other than Women’s Basketball Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico and Men’s Basketball point guard Spike Albrecht. We couldn’t think of two better guests to participate in the debut and give an insider’s look into all things athletics-related as Michigan Basketball gets ready for the upcoming season.

Leading up to the launch, we created hype around #UMichChat by including cross-promotion on all channels, including an Instagram video and Snapchat story featuring Spike himself!

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Fans were encouraged to submit questions to Arico and Albrecht prior to the chat, but we saw an influx of tweets as 11:30am rolled around and @umich was actively pushing out questions and responses from the participants. It was exciting to see the hashtag catch on, establishing over 410 uses! There was a combination of questions coming from central accounts and also a variety of really interesting user-generated submissions. Topics covered everything from best pre-game ritual and what to expect from #UMich BBall this season, to greatest accomplishments and reasons for choosing to become a Wolverine.

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See the full #UMichChat recap here:

We’re excited to launch #UMichChat and to continue highlighting the incredible things happening in and around the University of Michigan community. We hope that you will join us next month! Have any interesting Tweeters in mind? You know where to find us: @umich.

This post was written by Katie Szymanski, Communication and Digital Studies senior; #UMsocial editorial intern 

October 2014 @ UMSocial

Welcome to the first installation of the #UMSocial Monthly Recap! At the end of each month, our team works to assess successful activations and content implementation on a platform-by-platform basis. We hope that you are able to take our key findings and successes to better expand and improve upon your own social strategy! Here’s a quick peek at what the month of October looked like for #UMSocial:


We diversified our content in order to include updates on the arts, sciences, student life, and promote the Ford School Centennial. Athletics content continually performs well, and we saw this in the variety of Michigan Football graphics! Our #BeatState post reached 241K users and received 10.5K interactions.

Halloween also provided the perfect opportunity to tie the occasion into UMich brand messaging. We coined unique phrases relevant to the Michigan experience in order to make content interesting and consistent with our tone of voice. We encouraged fans to share their own UMich pumpkin creations for a chance to be featured on @uofmichigan’s Pinterest channel.

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Photo courtesy of @camilleschrier

We also saw how successfully general seasonal (UMich Fall) content performs! To announce our new #1 Public University ranking, we selected the iconic Law Quad for the cover photo graphic. Usually, our cover photos receive anywhere from 500-2K likes depending on the content. This update reached 94K users and received 7K interactions.

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We utilized this platform to promote specific college initiatives, and were active in live-tweeting various university-wide events. We partnered with LSA in order to launch the “Squest” on campus, initially promoting on Snapchat and then tweeting out content as well.

Leading up to the SchoolBoyQ concert, the promotional tweet for the event was the top-performing post of the week with close to 200 retweets and 400 favorites. We’re excited to branch out and cover different types of events, and so we’d say this was a success for our team.

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We received the highest engagement on any single post since the @uofmichigan account was created! The athletics-related image worked to promote the Under the Lights III game. Unlike usually posting in the early evening, we decided to experiment and post closer to 11pm/midnight. This insight allows us to see just how active our followers are at night, even if our analytics tools suggest different times to engage.

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Photo courtesy of @saramariecous


Our “Name the Homecoming Bagel” challenge encouraged followers to screenshot our snap, decorate and write on the bagel, and submit back to be featured. We received some very interesting names! This is a simple, yet effective way to engage with followers and reward them for being active on the account.

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A partnership with LSA involved the uofmichigan Snapchat rolling out the launch of a “Squest” on campus. Snaps included how to get involved, prizes to win, and other info. about the contest. Based on the success of this initiative, we are able to see how to further incorporate cross-promotions on our Snapchat channel.

We look forward to what November holds, and we hope that you check back to see what else we have in the works! As always, #GoBlue and #StaySocial!

This post was written by Katie Szymanski, Communication and Digital Studies senior; #UMsocial editorial intern