When the University of Michigan announced our new fundraising campaign, Victors for Michigan, on November 8th, 2013, the Office of University Development had already hosted a 31 day countdown and reached millions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Read more on the goal and successes of the online promotions of this campaign in this guest post.
This is a guest post written by Shannon Riffe, Assistant Director of Marketing, Online Engagement for the Office of University Development
On November 8, 2013, the University of Michigan launched its Victors for Michigan campaign. With a goal to raise $4 billion, it is the largest campaign ever for a public university.
Since the last campaign, The Michigan Difference, ended in 2008, the social media landscape has changed dramatically. The challenge that the Office of University Development (OUD) faced was how to use social media to build awareness about the campaign, engage students, and highlight the impact and importance of philanthropy at U-M. From 10/8 – 11/9 OUD focused on raising awareness about the campaign and driving attendance to the campaign kickoff events on November 8.
A 31 day countdown of philanthropic impact stories was the central component of the social strategy. Starting on October 8, the Leaders & Best Twitter and Facebook accounts posted one impact story a day for 31 days highlighting a variety of people impacted by philanthropy at U-M. During this time, the Leaders & Best account gained 377 Likes and the Twitter account gained 216 followers. Whenever possible, OUD reached out to managers of other U-M affiliated social media pages and asked them to share the impact story if it featured their school or unit.
The Facebook Event was another important element of the pre-event communication. An email to all staff and faculty from VP of Development Jerry May, an ad in the Record, a feature on the U-M Gateway and numerous social media updates drove traffic to the Event with a call to action to join and share. A total of 1,081 people said they were attending the Facebook Event.
The Student Campaign Volunteer Committee planned and executed a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), where students had the opportunity to ask any question about the campaign to Assistant VP of Development, Tom Baird. The AMA was promoted on Facebook and Twitter and received 55 comments. It offered an opportunity for students to have unfiltered, direct access to top level staff directly involved in the campaign.
Atlee Silk of the Student Volunteer Committee tweeted from @umichstudents for the week leading up to kickoff. Student engagement is a key part of this campaign, which has raising $1 billion for student support as its highest priority.
When our campaign goal was announced on November 8, the news was shared via many University channels, include the U-M Weibo account, where it received 40 Retweets and 26,000 impressions.
The #VictorsforMichigan hashtag was introduced on 10/8 during the President’s Leadership Breakfast. During the period from 10/8 – 11/9, the #victorsformichigan hashtag was used 2,092 times, reaching 2.5M people on Twitter and generating 7M impressions. On Instagram, 106 posts used #VictorsforMichigan.
For several days leading up to the November 8th kickoff, and the day after, the number of tweets per day of #victorsformichigan overtook the popular #umich hashtag.
The hashtag was integrated into the live show, with a selection of tweets projected above the stage at Hill Auditorium before the main event began.
During this time, our Leaders & Best Facebook content had a Reach of 221,462. This does not include posts from other pages like these from Michigan Football and Charles Woodson.
For those who couldn’t attend the main event at Hill Auditorium, we promoted the livestream on the U-M Gateway, where it was viewed by 275 unique IP addresses (118 of them via an iPhone or iPad).
We’re thrilled with the results of this social media push. We brought the Victors for Michigan message to millions of people, had a near-capacity turnout for the main event at Hill, and drove thousands of attendees to the community festival where all of our 2,300 t-shirts were distributed within the first hour. The 31 day countdown has been a great collection of content that we’ve been able to reuse in several different channels, including our Leaders & Best magazine and website. Finally, it’s been great to see members of our U-M community – from current students, to faculty and staff, to alum Darren Criss – engaging with philanthropy online.