Guest Blog:

On April 1, 2013 the College of Engineering quietly released a video about a breakthrough in teleportation. The YouTube video was shared as a link on our Facebook page and on Twitter. The response was great. There was lots of social engagement, and the video quickly received around 40K views. Typically, when we linked to videos from Facebook, they would receive around 400 views.

This year we thought we should try again. We produced a video about breakthroughs in cloaking technology. This time we embedded the video directly into Facebook, as opposed to sharing a link from YouTube. Through experimentation and undeniable analytics, we have seen how this tactic gives video content much higher reach on Facebook. This was certainly the case on April 1.


The video was released around 9 A.M. and by 5 P.M. it had reached a tipping point. On April 7, the video had received 786,161 video plays, 83,607 comments and 74,348 shares. The majority of the comments were along the lines of “LOL April Fools,” or “You almost got me,” but there were some people who didn’t realize it was fake. On April 2, we did edit the post to make it more obvious that it was an April Fool’s joke.

The most impressive analytic was that our Facebook page organically gained more than 8000 new fans over the course of the life of the post. We now have a larger audience to share all our real stories with in the weeks and months to come. This case study shows that a social media mix should include fun, playful and provocative content that the audience can’t help but share. Equally important is understanding how to share specific types of content, like embedding videos as opposing to sharing a link. So, experiment with your content. Test variables and leverage the results. This knowledge combined with great content is a receipt for virality.

Many thanks to Ben Logan, Social Media Specialist- University of Michigan, College of Engineering for providing UMSocial with this guest post.