Monthly Archives: January 2015

Michigan Squirrels

Outnumbering students (only slightly) and acting as the “unofficial mascot” of the University of Michigan, squirrels have received celebrity status within the Ann Arbor and UMich community. We routinely share funny shots of our Diag friends, promote holidays and upcoming events with their help, and even have several Instagram and Twitter accounts curated by the local critters themselves. When we noticed that #SquirrelAppreciationDay was set to take place on Jan. 21, we knew immediately that we had to join the conversation (…and I’ll be honest, I got a little too excited).

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We teamed up with LS&A and the Alumni Association to diversify coverage and squirrel celebration. Here is a quick break-down of daily activities and successes:


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Based on the amount of squirrel content that gets pinned to uofmichigan, we surprisingly did not have a board specifically dedicated to Michigan Squirrels prior to #SquirrelAppreciationDay. Leading up to the day of, we filled our newly established board with pre-existing content moved from other boards. Starting in the morning of Jan. 21 and running throughout the entirety of the day, we pinned the “Top Ten Ways to Appreciate a Squirrel,” in which new content would roll out every hour or so. Once pinned, these tips were recycled and promoted on @umichLSA‘s Twitter.


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Along with routine graphics announcing the holiday, our channel dabbled in video content, which happened to simultaneously promote not only #SquirrelAppreciationDay, but also National Hug Day. We utilized on-campus personalities, who happen to own squirrel masks, in order to make this production possible! It resonated well with our fans because it combined the element of Diag squirrels, the use of student-generated content, and humor regarding the holiday.


Our @umich presence was vital for redirecting followers to participate in the celebration and join the conversation on other channels, but aside from the central account, we utilized @UmichStudents to bring everything full-circle. Every week, a new Wolverine is selected to tweet from the account about their experiences as a Michigan Student. What better way to celebrate the occasion than to hear from one of our very own squirrel celebs? Staying true to this platform, we switched out the regular tweeter on Jan. 21 in order to feature a special guest: a typical UMich Squirrel. The account takeover included adjusting the image, name display, and bio. Overall, this was a super fun way to engage with students on a topic that we know will gain attention…because everyone loves squirrels and can relate.

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In the past, we’ve received high engagement from Snapchat contests and interactive stories which encourage users to screenshot part of our story and add their own creative spin to the image for a chance to be highlighted by uofmichigan. We wanted to do something similar to celebrate our squirrel friends! Our “Dress That Squirrel” game received some of the most creative submissions we’ve ever seen:


On average, 3.4K users viewed each snap in our story and 203 users screen-shotted our initial image of the squirrel, ready to be dressed up.

I’ll admit, squirrels have begun to saturate our feeds. They are furry and adorable, but we must find a balance between routine content and going in for the “awe factor.” However, we got to play up the squirrel love on Jan. 21 and it paid off for our channels. We hope you enjoyed following along, and continue to #StaySocial with us.

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

Geofilter Wrap-Up

We have had our eye on Snapchat’s Geofilters since their introduction in July ’14.  The opportunity to allow our already extremely active community a way to brand their snaps uniquely to our University and campus was highly appealing. So, as soon as Snapchat announced Community Geofilters our team hurried to dream up a few maize & blue options. Snapchat’s Community Geofilters allow anyone to design and submit their own concept and predetermined geographical location for consideration. While in the area users can then simply swipe left to discover what is available to them. In order to make the process truly social, our team decided to also engage our Snapchat community in filter creation.  The strategy and subsequent success of our Snapchat Geofilter Campaign actually helped to further establish a connection with Snapchat, Inc. and streamline our results!


In fact, being noticed by Snapchat as an innovative and engaging brand within their community also helped us gain access to another cool feature- Our Campus Stories. So upon arrival back to campus from winter break, students were not only greeted by FOUR custom Snapchat Geofilters, but also the ability to add their snaps to those other peers in a collaborative story that showcased the excitement of being back hoMe!

In total, the campaign garnered ten submissions; we submitted our top four. Each intended to showcase a different element of campus and the city of Ann Arbor. It has been really exciting to see our followers snapping us photos with the new filters and even more exciting to see the Geofilters in action in the Our Campus Stories. With the varied location availability of each filter we have also seen excitement within our community to find the exact location where each is accessible. We are deeming the campaign another clear success for our Snapchat presence and are looking forward to seeing what other features Snapchat rolls out next!

Very special shout-out to Peter (@the_muffin_flan) and Tracey (@the_tyfun) for the lovely Geofilter designs!


This post was written by Alexandra Fotis, Communications & Statistics student- #UMSocial Strategy & Analytics intern. #StaySocial with her: @sisterfotis

December 2014 @ UMSocial

Ah, December. ‘Tis the season for final exams, holiday festivities, and wintery afternoons on campus. Along with the evergreen content which we routinely promote around these seasonal topics, our team had to adapt in order to cover new events, such as Giving Blueday, and breaking news stories, including the hiring of Jim Harbaugh as Michigan Football’s head coach. As the year came to a close, we realized that many of the central social channels were close to reaching our benchmark goals for 2014, and so this is something that we took into consideration when pushing out content throughout the last 31 days of the year.


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In anticipation of the holiday season, we leveraged our Facebook audience in order to promote last-minute DIY projects on our Pinterest channel, uofmichigan. As later discussed, we saw a substantial increase in engagement on our Maize & Blue DIY board, along with our newly created Holiday board as a result of this post. In a similar vein of cross-platform promotion, we utilized a CTA for followers to submit their holiday photos with us on Twitter, as well as commenting on the Facebook post if they see fit:

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Seasonal content that performed well with our audience:

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This month, our main Facebook campaign included the #UMichMoments photo submission contest, in which we asked our followers to recap their favorite memories of the year for a chance to be featured in our wrap-up cover photo! We crowdsourced submissions from all channels, but the goal was to drive traffic to our Facebook page.

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The final outcome:

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Amidst cranking out final papers, studying for exams, and trying to sleep, it’s common knowledge that students are most likely procrastinating via their favorite social outlets (as a student myself, I can attest). At UMSocial, we hope to provide content that is not only motivational and uplifting, but informative. Along with study tips and hacks, we found that general finals week content, either in the form of puppy photos or best wishes, performed well on Twitter.

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In the hopes of bringing our own Snapchat #GeoFilters to the UMich campus, we solicited student entries via Twitter, directing them to our website for further instructions. We received around 10 community submissions, created a few examples of our own, and the end result included 3 GeoFilters being added for Wolverines to swipe and use while on campus! Read more about this campaign here.

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Last, but certainly not least, we were able to reach our goal of 100K Twitter followers by 2015. This was done through a heavy push in the last few weeks of December, in which we asked our loyal followers to spread the word and help make our UMSocial wish come true! In the last week alone, we added nearly 3K followers to our audience. On Dec. 31, our team anxiously watched Twitter around the clock in order to gauge and respond exactly when we hit the goal. It was exciting to see this benchmark achieved right before midnight! Thanks to everyone following @umich for helping us along the way.


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Much like Facebook, Instagram was a useful tool in cross-promoting our latest Pinterest board additions to Maize & Blue DIY and Maize & Blue Holidays. In the week leading up to Christmas, we shared content that could be found on both Pinterest boards, as well as reached out to users in order to feature their content on both channels. Along with Twitter, our @uofmichigan Instagram account was also very close to reaching the 2014 benchmark goal: 50K. Although we didn’t hit this threshold until Jan. 2, we saw a surge in follower activity and engagement as a result of breaking news within Michigan athletics:

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After news broke about Harbaugh’s hire, this post became our single-most engaging update of the entire year, raking in 8.7K likes and 131 comments throughout the course of the week. Following the hashtag #WelcomeHomeCoach on Instagram, uofmichigan engaged with new fans and the larger Michigan community, garnering over 2K followers and putting the University of Michigan at the #2 spot within higher education on the platform.

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In the spirit of the New Year, Instagram was also a vital tool in the #UMichMoments campaign, along with general reflection on everything that happened in 2014. We’ve used Iconosquare in the past to share recap graphics and statistics, and so this time around it was fun to share our top performing posts of the year, via video. We saw positive reaction from our community when they realized that their photos made the cut, tagging and commenting with friends on the post.



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If we’ve learned anything this month, it is that holiday, branded content is a win-win. It’s the perfect time for Michigan to engage with its community, by promoting decorations, traditions, gift options, crafts, bonding ideas, etc. While students are on winter break, this gives them plenty of time to unwind and have fun with DIY inspiration. After directing fans via other channels to our Pinterest, we made sure to populate our existing DIY board with relevant content, as well as entice users to check out the newly created Maize & Blue Holidays board. Pins came from a variety of sources, and covered a variety of holidays, in order to be inclusive and welcoming for our Wolverines. In November, we gained 132 followers. In December, we doubled our number of new followers by bringing in 297 Pinterest users to our channel. We also saw an increase in engagement, with re-pins reaching 4.1K and a vitality score of 21.5, a 30-day-high via Tailwind Analytics.



This month, we used Snapchat in a variety of on-campus events and random acts of kindness giveaways, but our most significant endeavor included partnering with the Office of University Development to spread the word about Giving Blueday, the first-ever university-wide day of giving. On Dec. 2, we were updating live via Snapchat, so that students could take part in the festivities. Special guests Meryl Davis and Charlie White were also ready to meet students on the Diag, and so this is something that our Snapchat coverage worked to highlight. Our story included:

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As always, we hope you enjoy following along as we find new ways to #StaySocial and experiment with all things UMich.

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

Royster #UMichChat

On Friday, our team geared up for our third #UMichChat. Unlike the previous Twitter chats, which featured several guests throughout the allotted time, we were fortunate enough to sit one-on-one with E. Royster Harper, V.P. for Student Life, and discuss “Creating Community at Michigan” for the full hour. As a student, I regularly receive emails from V.P. Harper regarding new campus initiatives and important student events. It was a unique experience to finally have the opportunity to sit down with the person behind it all, and be able to hear her advice first-hand. At one point, I joked about being indecisive about graduate school and looked to V.P. Harper for her response, off the record. She responded with a smile and said, “Tweet it at me!” Of course I did, allowing us to begin to see the conversation come full-circle online, which was very exciting.


The goal for this chat involved reflecting on the campus community at the University of Michigan, learning more about what V.P. Harper’s role entails, and how the Student Life office works to address student concerns, make accommodations, and take into consideration student wants and needs. At UMSocial, we want each #UMichChat to be relevant and engaging for our Wolverines, and so topics depend on what is happening at that moment within the campus community, but also larger trending issues in which we can join and add value to the conversation. We want our followers to be passionate about each discussion, and engaged throughout the course of the hour. V.P. E. Royster Harper was the perfect individual to address everything from small-scale student initiatives to large, on-campus protests, and so we are thankful that she was able to direct this conversation in a meaningful way.

Chat questions ranged from ice-breaker topics, “Have you ever fed a Michigan squirrel?” to more pressing issues of campus diversity, inclusion, and safety. Placing a leader of V.P. Harper’s caliber in this format provides students, and our entire social audience, unprecedented access to their thoughts and insights. In this case, the genuine and caring nature of V.P. Harper for both the University and all of its students shone through. In order to prepare for each chat, the UMSocial team solicits questions from all of our online communities during the week leading up to the discussion. We enter each #UMichChat with a lengthy script of questions, and work to continuously monitor the hashtag and pull submissions from the community live as the conversation unfolds.

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See the full #UMichChat recap here:

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Throughout the course of the chat, V.P. Harper was sincere in her answers, and responded honestly to even the toughest of questions. When asked about responding to criticism and negative publicity, she acknowledged that, “At first, it hurts. We’re human, and we are not doing this work to cause others stress or pain. We then look for ways to respond to what people are telling us.” She continued by praising the student body for its continual commitment to discovering their voice: “It is about students discovering their power & voice. Whether that is in a protest or a letter to the @michigandaily…” It was rewarding to see students responding and engaging with @umich and V.P. Harper’s own account, with a number of individuals proactively asking questions the entire time!

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E. Royster Harper gets ready to kick off the third #UMichChat!

In terms of engagement, this #UMichChat garnered 912K impressions and an estimated reach of 325K. Thanks to everyone who took time to submit questions and jump into the conversation! Join us next month as we discuss innovation, entrepreneurship, and Michigan’s future with Governor Rick Snyder and Thomas Zurbuchen, associate dean for entrepreneurial programs at UMich. It’s certain to be a wonderful time!

Have any future speakers or topics in mind? You know where to find us: @umich.

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

2014: A Year in Recap

With the year coming to a close, we thought it was the perfect time to reflect on all that #UMSocial has accomplished. 2014 brought many new and exciting ways to interact with our beloved Wolverines. From introducing our UofMichigan Snapchat account in March to our inaugural #UMichChat in November, there was never a dull moment here at #UMSocial. However, like every year, there were several campaigns that really made a difference. Here is a recap of our favorite 2014 campaigns:

1. “Hail to the Victors” Snapchat Campaign 

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The UofMichigan Snapchat was launched on February 26th. As a new platform, “Snap” to the Victors was an interactive way for us continue to grow our followers. Our 5 hour campaign yielded over 150 submissions and over 1000 views of each snap. Seeing so many spirited Wolverines – this campaign quickly became my favorite. Now, our Snapchat stories receive over 2,000 views. The “Hail to the Victors” campaign helped make this possible!

2. #Dormspiration DIY Pinterest Campaign 


As the summer came to a close, personalizing a dorm room became a priority for many freshman. #Dormspiration was a great way for our followers to be rewarded for their creativity. The chevron block M, the block M pillow, and the Michigan corkboard were three DIY projects for which we created step-by-step instructions. Our lucky followers were given the opportunity to make these awesome Michigan-themed projects and also create their own Pinterest board with ideas for decorating a dorm room. UofMichigan is number 2 nationwide on Pinterest. This campaign helped us to get closer to taking over that number one spot. With free-flowing creativity and the chance to become number one on a platform, how could this campaign not be one of my favorites? Check out our @UofMichigan #Dormspiration board here:

3. #UmichChat Twitter Campaign 


#UMichChat is an ongoing campaign that aims to engage our Twitter followers while reaching out to both academic and athletic leaders on campus. With our inaugural campaign on November 7th, the first Friday of every month will be dedicated to hosting a #UMichChat. So far we have had guests Spike Albrecht, men’s point guard, Kim Barnes Arico, women’s head coach, Gregory Anderson, editorial director at Yahoo, Martha Jones, professor of history, Afro-American and African studies, and law; and Jennifer Calfas, 2015 Editor-in-Chief of The Michigan Daily. The first two #UMichChat’s have been a complete success averaging 400 uses each of the hashtag. To catch a recap of these chats check out these links:  and


Although not all ideas can turn into campaigns, here are some honorable mentions that #UMSocial accomplished in 2014.

4. Introducing


In February, #UMSocial launched it’s very own website: On this website we feature guest posts and monthly reporting among other engaging Michigan content. It’s your all-in-one guide to anything #UMSocial. The website receives over 6,000 views per month and has accumulated 24,993 unique visitors so make sure to check it out now before you miss anything new!  To follow our latest work you can view our November monthly recap by following this link:

5. Creating @drmarkschlissel’s Twitter account 

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With over 4,000 followers we like to think about the introduction of President Mark Schlissel’s Twitter account as a success! This is the first-ever Twitter account for an incoming UMich president. Thanks to social media, this presidential transition fostered the opportunity to engage with the wider community and student population. Schlissel’s first tweet was well-received with 56 retweets and 139 favorites. Many schools within U of M welcomed the new Twitter handle by incorporating @drmarkschlissel in their tweets. A widely used hashtag, #UMPres14, circulated the Internet further engaging Schlissel’s Twitter following. Make sure to follow @drmarkschlissel on Twitter for a chance to engage with our 14th president!

2014 was a great year for #UMSocial. While we are in the process of developing new campaigns as the central uofmichigan account, we love to hear from our fellow Wolverines. Have any ideas you want to see in action? Contact us at We are excited to see what 2015 brings. Get ready to experience our most innovative and interactive campaigns yet!