“You, Class of 2014, are our collective hopes as a society. With your dreams and discoveries, you will change the world.” President Mary Sue Coleman #MGoGrad

ThankYouMSC JumbotronThe collective theme of Saturday’s commencement festivities was one of innovation and integrity. President Mary Sue Coleman (MSC) delivered a bittersweet message reflecting on the profound impact this role, and the students of Michigan, have had on her 45-year career in higher education. She expressed her sincere appreciation for the change and challenges students have presented, and commended them for making the University a better place. With the help of a hashtag, students returned the favor.

Introduced in March, #ThankYouMarySue was presented by UMSocial as a way for our campus body and community to express their gratitude, share memories, and offer best wishes to President Coleman prior to her retirement. The response was outstanding! To date users have shared hundred’s of photos via Twitter and Instagram, in addition to many tweets and Facebook comments. During commencement the hashtag trended in the number two spot regionally with a collective reach just shy of one million.


As part of our overall UMSocial strategy, a planned final photo reminiscent of the “selfie” revolution featured MSC, the over 7,000 students present at the ceremony, their family and friends. Following its publication on our central social channels, the image quickly went viral, breaking records across multiple platforms and raising the bar in higher education social media implementation.

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With almost 400 retweets and 476 favorites, the MSC “selfie” alone had a reach three times larger than any other piece of content produced in the past month. The outstanding response in our Instagram community made it the most liked photo ever, and earned it a spot on the “Popular” page for over an hour. It also appeared organically in the newsfeed of over 100,000 Facebook users, resulting in 4,091 likes and 416 shares.

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During her time at the podium featured commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Company, offered life lessons for the connected generation. “No matter what you choose to do in life, pursue it with passion and hard work. Talent is not enough” ~ @GM CEO @mtbarra #MGoGrad

That passion for life and dedication to success was evident in the “Big House” Saturday. With the help of another standardized hashtag, #MGoGrad, the UMSocial team was able to capture, curate and visually depict students enthusiasm on two gigantic jumbotron screens. Introduced last year for utilization during commencement, #MGoGrad grew substantially in its second year, thanks in part to the addition of images in the live feed.

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Overall the campaign garnered 1,000+ more mentions than it had in 2013. Paired with a “take over” of the newly introduced socialmedia.umich.edu, the UMSocial team constructed over 60 posts covering everything from a #UMichBucketList of tasks to an explanation of honorary degrees. Efforts resulted in over 5,000 unique page views ~ 85% of which were by new users.



In fact, #MGoGrad was so popular this year that it trended throughout the entire United States as early as 9am, a full hour before commencement even began. It continued to run in the number two spot nationally until late in the evening, with a peak performance of over 2,000 mentions around 10am. Its total reach surpassed 11 and ½ million users! unnamed

In partnership with the University of Michigan News Service, another new addition to the #MGoGrad strategy included providing more diverse and inclusive content. Together we crafted tweets and graphics in Hindi, Mandarin and Spanish. The result was extremely positive, and we saw numerous replies. One member of our audience even assisted with an “on the fly” Italian translation!

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Other social efforts where implemented across other UMich channels such as Instagram, Vine and LinkedIn. On our newest network, Snapchat, we asked students to snap us images of graduation from their point of view. Using the story feature to provide engaging tasks resulted in almost 1,000 new views of our account. The #UMichBucketList highlighted tasks or accomplishments for students to partake in leaving campus one last time. Collectively the multiple pieces of content associated with this campaign resulted in over 28,000 likes. 1558582_10152283915730753_3418168541492249062_n

So, thank you to our students and now alumni for sharing your special moments with us. This level of social media success would not be possible without your content and support. In the word’s of our beloved President, “For today, goodbye. For tomorrow, good luck. And forever, #GoBlue!” ~ MSC #MGoGrad