Monthly Archives: February 2015

Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Michigan’s Future #UMichChat

What do Kelly Lapierre, Thomas Zurbuchen, Jeffrey Sorensen, David Merrit, and Michael Finney have in common? Not only are they passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation, but they joined us last week via Twitter to discuss their personal contributions to the field, as well as the state of Michigan’s future, in the latest #UMichChat.


#UMichChat Panelists

Each month, our team works on assembling a diverse panel that will bring different viewpoints to the table. We were so thankful to have each of our guests take time to provide valuable insights and perspective for the @umich community. Lapierre is the Managing Director for the Desai Family Accelerator, a venture through the Ross School of Business and College of Engineering.

Zurbuchen currently serves as the Associate Dean for Entrepreneurial Programs and is a professor at UMich. A recent graduate, Sorensen is the co-founder of optiMize, a student-driven social innovation movement on campus. You may have witnessed Merrit’s entrepreneurial contribution on South University: Merit Goodness, a local business that supports education for underprivileged youth. Finney formerly led MEDC and currently acts as Senior Advisor to Governor Snyder.

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Getting ready to start the chat!

When thinking about start-up culture and new business, the West Coast may initially come to mind. Our panelists spoke about how Michigan is becoming a leader in this space, with Detroit serving as a hub for student ventures and Ann Arbor having more venture capital per capita than Silicon Valley. Our original roster was set to include the state’s very own Governor Snyder, however due to an illness he was unable to participate as scheduled. In his absence, we were lucky to hear from Sr. Advisor Finney about the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state of Michigan, and Detroit especially.

Like most chats, the topic was broad enough to facilitate an engaging conversation, while using real-time audience feedback and question submissions to steer the discussion. Questions were either directed to the group as a whole or tailored to ask for specific insights from an individual guest:

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It was great to see fans not only engage with the panelists through Q&A, but also share their own stories about entrepreneurial success and learnings, as well as encouraging others to join in the conversation. This was our largest panel yet, and so things moved rather quickly during the entirety of the chat with a total of over 25 questions vetted by @umich alone. When asked how Michigan students can get involved in entrepreneurial work, our panelists all emphasized the many resources available at UMich to make creative ideas become a reality. We even saw advice coming from non-panelists as different departments and groups joined the discussion:

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Moving forward, our panelists offered advice on joining the “start-up life” and defended Michigan as a thriving location for young businesses and entrepreneurial pursuits:

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For the full recap, visit:

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In terms of engagement, we received 719 uses of #UMichChat in the week leading up to Feb. 6 and the day-of. Total reach is estimated at 605K, harnessing over 9.4M impressions. It’s always interesting to look back after the event and see social impact, but it’s even more fun to follow along live to gauge real-time feedback and interaction with our content.

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We are social people, I swear. Our team stays focused during #UMichChat(s)

Thanks for following along and participating in our latest #UMichChat. We are continually excited to see engagement with our panelists and fruitful conversation as a result. 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 

January 2015 @ UMSocial

January brings about new beginnings: a new year, new semester, and new opportunities to engage with our Wolverines. It’s also the perfect time to reflect on the past, identify what was accomplished, and establish what our next steps should be moving forward. After looking at this month alone, I have a strong feeling that 2015 will be an exciting year for our team and for the University of Michigan. As always, we present you with January’s monthly social-in-review, which highlights notable campaigns, social content, and digital innovations.



According to QS World University Rankings, UMich is the top public university in the United States. In order to bring students into the conversation, our team headed to one of the many organization fairs on campus to receive student input and reactions. We wanted to know, what sets Michigan apart from other universities? The set-up was simple enough: we had our cameras rolling and asked Wolverines to explain why UMich is their #1. In doing so, we were able to bring this numerical ranking to life and create a more personal narrative for our followers. As an incentive, students who offered up their own stories received T-Shirts that sported the new #1 ranking. The video was shared via Facebook, receiving 7.5K likes, 1.9K shares and 140 comments. We also saw traction on other other channels, including YouTube and Vine. We look forward to producing more student-generated video content this year.



January means winter, and winter in Michigan means that it is cold. With the risk of record low temperatures, students have to be safer than normal and bundle up to avoid frostbite! Our team braved the weather and surprised lucky individuals with hats, scarves, gloves, and hand warmers to help get them to class warm…Michigan style. We hinted that we would be doing an on-campus giveaway via Twitter the day before, and followed up with live updates of our location. Spontaneous giveaways of this sort allow for us to engage with the campus community and remind them that we truly care about our Wolverines.

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Additionally, we saw success on Twitter with our third #UMichChat, bringing in 912K impressions and an estimated reach of 325K, as well as content geared towards #SquirrelAppreciationDay. Read the full blog post here.



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In the first week of the month, we reached an Instagram milestone–50K followers. Using imagery from our #UMichMoments campaign, this post brought attention to our achievement, but also incorporated many of the fans that helped us get there in the first place. Our account would not function without user-generated content, and so it was important for us to take the time to thank our following for being so excited about anything and everything Michigan!

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On January 26, the state celebrated its 178th birthday. What better way to pay homage to our hoMe, than to throw a birthday party? In collaboration with Michigan Dining, Campus Information, and the Michigan Union, UMSocial brought a Maize & Blue party to campus, cupcakes and all. We saw positive response on Twitter the night before the event, and so we were eager to see how people would engage with us during the day-of. We were worried that we would have leftover snacks, and to our surprise we ended up running out in under an hour. This simple booth in a well-populated area brought in major crowds, drew awareness to our event, and resulted in positive feedback from fans on social media:

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Fan submissions from Michigan’s birthday


This month, we brought two new boards to our profile: Michigan Squirrels & College of LSA! Squirrel Appreciation Day offered the perfect opportunity to curate all of our squirrel content and streamline it into one unified place. Although we continually pin content relevant to LS&A, our uofmichigan channel did not dedicate a board entirely to the college. Once fully populated, this board will better direct students to the resources that they need regarding Literature, Science & the Arts. Interested in seeing your department or college represented? Please email!


In January, the campus community could engage with uofmichigan on Snapchat in more diverse ways than ever before, thanks to “Our Campus” story and the introduction of Michigan GeoFilters. We implemented a crowdsourced campaign to find the best designs, which resulted in  4 new filters on the platform showcasing different elements of the UMich and greater Ann Arbor community. We are continually excited to see our fans snap us, using the filters, as well as share positive feedback about the filters on other channels.

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In the past, especially during our “Dress That Squirrel” campaign, we’ve seen great success with interactive snap stories. Typically, our own story will include a CTA, such as ‘screen-shot the next image’ and perform X challenge, followed by encouraging users to chat us the results for a chance to be featured. These types of stories rarely feature prizes or giveaways because we’ve found that our Snapchat audience doesn’t necessarily need to be incentivized to participate–it’s fun and easy.

When the Travelocity Roaming Gnome made its way to Ann Arbor for Michigan Basketball game day, Snapchat was a unique platform to not only promote his presence on campus, but tie in another interactive campaign:

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Snaps courtesy of Travelocity Roaming Gnome 

The new year typically means a fresh start. We’re taking what we learned in 2014 and plan to improve the content, increase engagement, and bring better social activations to the university in 2015. Thanks for following along, and continue to #StaySocial with us this upcoming year!

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