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.
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:
Seasonal content that performed well with our audience:
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.
The final outcome:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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