July- the ‘dog days of summer’ -traditionally a quiet time on college campuses. But social media never sleeps, and neither does the University of Michigan campus! Our team spent July exploring events on campus and around town, including the opening of a connected-vehicle “city” and the annual Ann Arbor Art Fairs. July also saw a presidential visit to China and a research project at an organic coffee farm in Central America.
We use Snapchat to tell interesting stories and give the U-M community the opportunity to experience campus events in real-time. Our Snapchat following is currently of 8,299 and is expanding daily.
We wanted to see where people were spending their #WolverineSummer, especially during Independence Day weekend! So we encouraged our Snapchat followers to snap us their geofilters over the holiday, and shared our favorites in a collage:
For the dedication of the MCity driverless-vehicle site on North Campus, we created a Snapchat story featuring an inside look at some of the test vehicles, and included a mini interview with President Schlissel. This story received more than 4,500 views, enabling our followers to learn more about the groundbreaking research on autonomous vehicles taking place at Michigan.
Snapchat is an incredibly useful platform for communicating with new and prospective students, and we use it frequently to reach out to the #Victors2019. This month, we focused on Orientation and went backstage with the cast of the Educational Theatre Company, who perform a student-life-focused theatrical show for all orientees. This story earned more than 4,700 views AND got us a shout-out for Snapchat best practices.
Other stories captured event that were going on around town, including Swing dance lessons at the cube, food tasting and stall-hopping at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, and a very cool behind-the-scenes tour of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
We believe that Snapchat is an amazing resource for higher education social media, since it allows universities to personally connect with students in a way no other platform can.
Our Twitter account serves two purposes, it provides information about the University of Michigan generally, but it also highlights the accomplishments of individual University departments, programs, and organizations. We have collaborated with both Michigan News, retweeting their content frequently, and the University Record–promoting Record articles with the hashtag #URecord– to drive traffic to their sites and more widely disseminate their stories.
Twitter is a popular platform with both parents and students alike. Therefore, it is the perfect platform for the whole family to engage with the #Victors2019 .
We’re glad that the newest members of our community feel comfortable and inspired enough to publicly reach out on social media. Let us keep hearing from you!
On July 7, we had the privilege of hosting a panel of alumni for our latest #UMichChat- “Forever Go Blue: Life After Michigan” in partnership with the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan (AAUM). We explored the transition from student to professional with some highly accomplished Michigan alumni: Mike Mikho, Chief Marketing Officer for 247 Laundry Service; Susan Orlean, best-selling author and staff writer for The New Yorker; Peter Vanderkaay, three-time Olympian and public speaker; and Dhani Jones, TV host, entrepreneur, and former NFL linebacker. The chat was an enormous success, generating over 14 million impressions. By the end of the one-hour event, the hashtag #UMichChat was trending regionally.
Videos are always popular, and we have made a conscious effort to increase the amount of video content on all our social media channels. We’ve worked especially hard to promote and build our presence on YouTube.
Our YouTube content comes primarily from two sources: videos aggregated from U-M school/college and department channels, and original content that we produce ourselves.
In July, we released the first episode of a new video series called “InsidetheM,” – which takes an in-depth look at student life. Our first feature focused on Michigan Dining, with footage of the beautiful new South Quad dining hall, interviews from a head chef, and important information including dining hall renovations, nutrition, and sustainability. Future episodes will look at University Housing and CSG student organizations. We hope this series will be useful to students and we’re excited to see how it grows.
Cars were all the rage on our Youtube channel this month, as we posted two automotive-related features: a video documenting the Mcity dedication: and coverage of the launch of the Solar Car team’s unveiling of their latest vehicle. Both videos speak to the breadth of engineering research and activity here at the University.
Our YouTube channel has immense potential to become a central resource for both information and entertainment, and we’re looking forward to further consolidating university content and focusing on the development of this space.
Our Facebook page has the largest and most diverse fan base of any U-M social media channel, so we make sure to post a variety of content that will appeal to different segments of the community and which will showcase the breadth of activity–and the beauty– of our campus. Our weekly #MichiganMonday posts include stunning campus imagery along and an inspirational quote from an alum each week:
There are Wolverines covering every corner of the globe and this month, we used our Facebook page to share stories about what UM students and faculty are doing abroad. We uploaded a photo album chronicling President Schlissel’s trip to China- his first overseas trip as University President. President Schlissel visited Chinese partner institutions and also found time to meet with international alumni. Sharing snapshots of him was a great way to showcase his travels, which affirm Michigan’s commitment to global engagement:
Professor David Turnley’s photography students practiced their art in Paris and documented it on a Tumblr page. The blog, photographingparisdavidturnley.tumblr.com/, is filled with stunning images of Parisian life, and we strongly encourage you to check it out:
We were fortunate enough Michigan Photography’s Eric Bronson take over our Instagram account for the first week in July. Bronson, who was named Photographer of the Year by the the UPAA (University Photographers’ Association of America) in 2013 and 2015, filled our feed with gorgeous shots of campus, with comments for context, and also included photography tips:
Toward the end of the month, we posted “On Assignment,”- a week-long photo narrative from William Foreman, the associate director of international communications at Michigan News. Foreman traveled to Mexico with a group of U-M ecology and evolutional biology students and faculty who are doing research at Finca Irlanda, the world’s first-certified-organic coffee farm. The colorful and compelling images show life and research on the plantation- which U-M faculty have been studying for the past 17 years, and provide some context for the morning “cup of joe” that many of us love.
Finally, we began a feature entitled “Week In Review,” in which we post a 15-second video of the week’s top headlines, curated by Michigan News. These videos are quick and attention-grabbing, and will inform our followers of important things that are going on in our community. We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Michigan News and bring our followers this content; we hope you find it valuable.
This month, we created two new Pinterest boards: Summer at #UMich and Welcome to Mcity. Summer at #UMich is a board dedicated to showcasing the beauty of our campus, even during the dog days of heat and humidity. We’re also pinning events and information for students who may be spending their #WolverineSummer on campus.
Our Welcome to Mcity pinboard serves two purposes. On dedication day, it functioned as a digital photo album, hosting the images shot by Michigan Photography. Now, the photo album is a place where we can aggregate media related to Mcity and the technology it represents. As Mcity grows, the board will grow with it, highlighting the potential it provides for engineers, the automotive industry, and the community alike.
A word of thanks
In a recent industry benchmark study, we were delighted to discover that UMich is the only university in the country to rank in the top 10 in all five major social media platforms. We currently have 687,830 fans on Facebook,123,694 followers on Twitter,18,790 followers on Pinterest, 65,514 followers on Instagram, and 8,299 followers on Snapchat:
We hope that our content continues to be useful and interesting. And thank you to all who have shared their Michigan journey with us on social media; you are the reason #UMSocial is a success. As always, #GoBlue and #StaySocial.
This post was written by Sarah Barnitt, #UMSocial intern and Bachelor of Science in Information student. #StaySocial with her on Instagram and Twitter @sarahbarnitt