Monthly Archives: June 2016

Turning Dreams into Action: Student Entrepreneurs #UMichChat

On June 10, we collaborated with Innovate Blue, the University of Michigan’s hub for entrepreneurship and innovation, for an inspiring #UMichChat. We were lucky enough to have panelists tweeting from around the world to discuss their experiences as student entrepreneurs. They included: Joseph Saginaw, an engineering student who is part of the inaugural Entrepreneurs Leadership Program and an intern at Detroit Bikes (@joesaginawUofM); Tommy Wilbur, a College of Engineering student currently participating in the CFE’s first entrepreneurship study abroad program in Singapore (@twilburUM); Laura Murphy, co-founder and chief engineer at ADAPT, LLC, chosen as one of the Wolverine Women to Watch 2016 (@lr_murph); and David Cai, a Ross School of Business student currently at Desai Accelerator whose entertainment studio startup Gaudium was named runner-up in the Michigan Business Challenge competition (@DavidCai_).

Life as both a full-time student and rising entrepreneur is no walk in the park. Our panelists discussed how and why they originally became interested in their fields and the people who helped them along the way. They also shared their time-management tips, something useful for students and entrepreneurs alike.

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Voices began pouring in from across the entrepreneurial world from the very first question. The chat eventually garnered 650 engagements and achieved a reach of 211,850 over 205 total posts, ending up with a total of 5,100,009 impressions.


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If you missed the chat, feel free to check out the full archive here on Storify. And make sure to join us for the next #UMichChat!


Snap Back: Why Snapchat is Hot & Your Brand Isn’t Ready

There’s no question that Snapchat is hot on the social scene these days. The platform, Bloomberg reports, has just surpassed Twitter in number of daily users, and big brands have recently been touting BIG results by leveraging Snapchat’s unique features and paid advertising opportunities. Following an extremely successful performance by Gatorade on Super Bowl Sunday, Taco Bell used a custom Snapchat lens on Cinco de Mayo to appeal to young consumers. The campaign shattered platform records with 224 million views, which Taco Bell says provided the company with 12.5 years’ worth of user interaction in a 24-hour period. But that type of reward doesn’t come cheap: the cost for the Taco Bell campaign was rumored to be around $750,000.


What interests consumers more than the design or the product itself is the short-term, ephemeral availability of the content. An 18-year-old opens Snapchat, and within five minutes will have sent a rainbow-spewing selfie to friends in Canada, experienced a day in the life of users in Mumbai, and caught up on an archaeological dig in Greece. The reason Snapchat has been so successful is that they understand their audience: they know their users aren’t opening up a newspaper every morning, so they’ve stepped in and become a primary source for users to collect traditional media such as news, politics, and more in a fun and engaging way.

Peter Hamby, CNN political reporter turned Snapchat Head of News, joined the company early in 2015—seemingly one of the first in the traditional media world to understand Snapchat’s potential. Hamby has since become a personality within his own new original series, “Good Luck America” on Snapchat Discovery, an ongoing feature educating millennials on the idiosyncrasies of the American electoral system in anticipation of the 2016 presidential election. Like other Snapchat Discovery features, the two-minute-or-less narratives are witty, visually appealing, informative, and delivered daily into the hands of 13-35 year olds around the world. In an era of dying print and digital overload, Snapchat is providing unparalleled opportunity.

As Snapchat grows and seeks an expanded demographic, it is no accident that the Live and Discover sections received a significant facelift. Consumers can now easily navigate between breaking news, trending topics, and the latest in pop culture in the same place they go to snap, message, or call their friends.


As impressive as Snapchat’s ability is to stay abreast of national and world news, their latest endeavors into hyper-local interactions is really a game changer. This spring Snapchat homed in on a random shout-out in which a male and female student, later deemed “Vikings Fan” and “Mystery Girl,” happened to glimpse each other on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus story and confessed their virtual attraction. Snapchat quickly created geo-filters for the two and began curating the ongoing saga, featuring students encouraging the two to meet, documenting sightings across campus, offering their advice on relationships, and eventually sharing in the emotional first meeting at a town bar. Captivating a campus community of 40,000+ for hours and essentially establishing themselves as must-watch television.


So what is a brand—or higher education-institution—to do?

In short, brands, including higher education institutions, must understand that utilizing Snapchat is about more than just getting users to spew rainbows on your behalf. It is a constantly changing marketplace of important ideas and up-to-the-minute news. And to keep up, you must know what sorts of content to feed into these different sources of information. Provide content that is visually appealing as well as informative and understand what your users want, but don’t speak down to them. While Snapchat provided many whimsical features, staying true to the tone and personality of your brand should always inform your content choices.

The University of Michigan has been successfully leveraging Snapchat for more than two years. Our content has evolved from weekly stories to daily highlights. We have established a robust content calendar and partnered with primary organizations to offer takeover or guest-appearance opportunities. Furthermore, Snapchat is a primary component of almost all overarching social strategies.

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Here are our top five tips for leveraging Snapchat to its fullest potential:

  1. Provide content that is visually appealing as well as informative. Behind-the-scenes coverage of events, exclusive Q&As with popular speakers, and timely messages from key stakeholders pack a powerful punch. Understand what your users want, but don’t talk down to them.
  1. While Snapchat provides many whimsical features, stay true to the tone and personality of your brand. It is not necessary to deliver a museum tour while placing lenses on each piece of art, but it can be cool to use the hyper-speed video mode to show a time-lapse of 3D printing. Regardless of platform, content should always be reflective of the core values and objectives of your organization.
  1. A 60-second recap of a one-hour event still takes an hour. We live in a world of 140 characters or less and ever-decreasing attention spans. More often than not, the feedback we receive when collaborating with a unit on a takeover is how time-consuming it can be to curate a quality Snapchat story. Effectively maintaining an account means having the proper resources in place before, during, and after a story. Check out our Snapchat storyboard resource or our YouTube playlist of Snapchat stories.
  1. Build bridges, not accounts. Snapchat is not the world’s most user-friendly app and many above its core 18-to-34-year-old demographic have little or no interest in navigating its fickle features. So despite recent news that Snapchat’s daily users have surpassed Twitter’s, the call for every area of an organization to create an account should not be going out. Why, you ask? Simple. Quantity does not equal quality. Hype is seductive but statistics show Snapchat still only reaches 11 percent of Americans. Unless that 11 percent is your entire demo, your company may need to focus on collaborating to further your reach and stimulate growth. 
  1. The best things in life are free.Okay, well that one is likely up for debate—but #UMSocial certainly doesn’t have the budget Taco Bell has to create a custom Snapchat lens. The great thing about Snapchat for brands is that content still goes to your entire audience, free of algorithms and auto-curation. While they provide few metrics, Snapchat does allow you to examine who has viewed your snaps and how long viewers stuck around through a story. Additionally, on-demand geo-filters provide a low-cost opportunity to engage your community, and evergreen geo-filters are still free. During our 2016 #MGoGrad commencement celebrations we invested less than $400 on three different geo-filters around campus for approximately four hours. The campaign resulted in 108,564 views of branded content and over 2,200 filter uses.


This post was initiated by Kelly Arnold, a sophomore at Hope College studying communications and a summer 2016 #UMSocial intern. #StaySocial with her: @KellyAArnold

Edited by @NikkiSunstrum, Director of #UMSocial

May 2016 @ UMSocial

Another month has come and gone here at UMSocial, and it was a busy one! Here on campus, even after saying goodbye to the Wolverine Class of 2016, May was filled with exciting events and inspiring stories. The temperature is rising, the days are getting longer, and our #WolverineSummer is just beginning. Follow along to see what we were up to in May!

Our May wrap-up actually begins on April 30, as the Class of 2016 prepared to toss their caps and say their last goodbyes to campus. UMSocial had a special gift for grads: a keepsake photo. Photos hashtagged with #MGoGrad, #RackhamGrad and #StampsGrad on Instagram or Twitter were printed off at the respective graduation locations as a keepsake for the user,. Across both platforms, the campaign generated a total of 8,485,438 impressions, a reach of 3,036,430, and 21,677 likes, shares, and comments.


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And as finals wrapped up, we introduced a new campaign for the Leaders and Best to share their summer plans. Abroad or at home, be sure to share your #WolverineSummer photos with us!


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The University of Michigan celebrates Victors both large and small. Last month, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital featured Gabe Van Owen, an eighth-grade cancer patient with some slick moves. Called “Moonwalking Through Cancer,” Van Owen’s Michael Jackson-inspired dancing through the halls of the hospital highlighted his buoyant spirit. This video had a reach of 235,782, with 86,554 views and 5,364 engagements.



Patients like Gabe Van Owen receive excellent care at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and the foundation of that care is the nursing staff. For the third year in a row, we were able to share a glimpse into a day in the life of the nursing staff at Michigan. From the operating room to the bedside, these incredible individuals truly are “conquering heroes.” This video had a reach of 700,290, with 65,991 total views and 3,924 engagements.






On May 6, we were fortunate enough to have three student-athletes take part in a very special #UMichChat to celebrate “150 Years of Athletic Excellence” at the University of Michigan. We discussed the legacy, evolution, and future of the program. This chat had a total of 251,216 impressions and 2,488 engagements.




On May 20, we brought together a panel of eight individuals for a #UMichChat about the U-M’s Blavin Scholars program, which provides comprehensive support in navigating the college experience for students who have experienced time in foster care.  With more than 360 posts, this chat had a reach of 222,800, a total of 4,895,343 impressions and received perspectives from all across the country.






We’re enjoying the first #WolverineSummer posts on Instagram from around the world. Wolverines continue to join us; we had a total of 3,544 new followers this month, an average of 100 followers per day. We’re still in the running to #BeatOSU, so make sure to keep following @uofmichigan on Instagram!


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At the Matthaei Botanical Gardens conservatory this month, Stamps professor Susan Crowell’s “Hidden Worlds” Exhibit showcased ceramic pollen sculptures.


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We also covered M-Prize, an international chamber arts competition at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. The event even had its own geofilter!


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Continuing with the Navigating the Maize series, we brought our crew over to meet the men and women who work behind the scenes and on the sidelines to keep our student-athletes healthy and safe: athletic trainers. In this episode, our Try Guy Pete both gives and receives treatment. Does he have what it takes? Watch to find out!


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We’re excited to see what the summer brings. Thanks for a great month, and as always, make sure to #StaySocial!

Overcoming Obstacles & Achieving Dreams: #UMichChat on Foster-Care Students

On May 20, we brought together a panel of eight individuals to discuss the University of Michigan’s Blavin Scholars program, which provides students who have experienced time in foster care with comprehensive support in navigating and maximizing their college experience, and higher education experiences for foster-care students in general.

We were fortunate to have perspectives from across the country, with panelists that included: Miriam Connolly,  Interim Director of the Blavin Scholars Program (@myacon); Emily Hurtado-Arboleda, Blavin’s Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator (@Emily_Arboleda); Maddy Day, MSW, Director of Outreach and Training at the Center for Fostering Success at Western Michigan University (@FSMichigan); Kizzy Lopez, Coordinator of Renaissance Scholars and Student Success Initiatives at California State University, Fresno (@kizzyjoneslopez); Coty Dunten, Orientation and Life Resources Coordinator at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (@kvcc); Chris Harris-Wimsatt, Director at the Center for Fostering Success Seita Scholars Program at Western Michigan University (@harris_wimsatt); Lori Tiller, Public Service Faculty at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia (@uga_embark); and Kathy Stewart, Lifeskills Coach for the Reach Program at Washtenaw Community College (@washtenawcc).

Our panelists brought together far-ranging perspectives and insights regarding foster-care students and their experiences. They discussed ways to best help these students, explored the important resources that Blavin Scholars and other students appreciate most, and the best strategies for destigmatizing the “foster care” label.

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As the chat continued, the Twitter world took notice, and individuals from the foster-care community chimed in with their own insights.


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The chat reached an audience of more than 200,000, and gained nearly 5 million impressions over 360 posts.

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If you missed the chat, feel free to check out the full archive here on Storify. Make sure to join us for the next #UMichChat!