Here at #UMSocial, we love love. In fact, the only thing that we love more than love itself is the University of Michigan. On this Valentine’s Day, we thought: why not combine the two?
#UMSocial recognizes all major holidays across our main social media channels, as an intentional means of celebrating the diversity of our communities and inviting opportunities for creative content that engages our audiences in unique ways. In fact, in addition to your traditional holidays, we’ve been known to even cover a few lesser-known internet holidays, like Ice Cream Day (3rd Sunday in July) and Pizza Day (Feb. 9)! (More people should know about Pizza Day, don’t you think?) But Valentine’s Day has a special place in our maize and blue candy-coated hearts. This year, as in years past, we took our love for U-M and combined it with our Wolverines’ love for each other in a variety of ways under the evergreen hashtag, #UMichLoveStories.
We kicked off the week of Valentine’s Day with personal testimonials from a cross-section of couples, both students and alumni, on our student Instagram and Twitter channels. The hashtag served as a call to action for other students and alumni to share their own #UMichLoveStories and to stay tuned throughout the week for regular updates. The results were amazing, and we couldn’t have been more blown away by the joy with which people shared their stories and the reactions from those reading along.
Prior to Valentine’s Day, we collected photographs of student couples, along with the stories of how they met and what they’re doing now. The top post on our official student account featured current student Will and recent graduate Cait. Here is what Will had to say about their UMich love story:
“Last spring, I walked into the Fishbowl one minute before the deadline to hand in my CSG forms. I was supposed to give them to the MVision campaign manager, Cait. When I handed her the forms, she looked up at me, rolled her eyes, and started packing up her things. The second I saw her, I knew I’d messed up. If I had known I was meeting with the most beautiful girl in Ann Arbor, I would have been there 3 hours early. Throughout the campaign, I texted her questions about the election just to get a little bit of attention in her busy schedule: ‘Am I allowed to campaign here?’ ‘What do you think I should add to my platform?’
“The night we won the election, I finally built up the courage to ask Cait out. On our first date, I was so nervous that I accidentally broke a glass at Charlie’s, but somehow Cait found it cute. Since then, we’ve become best friends—I have learned that she is one of the most caring, brilliant people I have ever met through everything we do together. Currently, Cait is working in marketing at a startup in Detroit through her Venture For America fellowship, and I’m finishing up some classes before graduation and will be attending medical school next fall.”
Their photo reached 7,380 people and received 532 likes. Overall, in comparison to the previous week on the students’ account, profile visits went up by 814, reach increased by 1,791, and impressions grew by 36,685, totaling 1,402 profile visits; 4,514 accounts were reached, garnering 47,456 impressions during the week of Valentine’s Day alone.
On the main University of Michigan Instagram, we featured Jenish and Reema’s UMich Love Story to start out the week. Jenish and Reema met serendipitously on Halloween during their freshman year. No, not at a party (as you might think) but while Reema was hauling a large tub of her dorm things down the Fourth Taylor Hall in South Quad. Two months into the school year she switched dorms and moved in next to Jenish. They started out as friends, then best friends; looking back, it strikes them as funny that they didn’t know what would come next. Seven years and many unproductive Fishbowl visits later they were bonded in holy maize-and-blue matrimony. Although they now live a whole time zone away in Chicago, Reema and Jenish always look back on their days at Michigan with fondness and love. But now their dates are better than the dining hall.
Their post received 4,594 likes and reached 48,176 accounts. In addition to Jenish and Reema, we posted content utilizing Instagram’s carousel feature to showcase several more student and alumni love stories, asking our audience to tag someone they met at the University of Michigan in the comments. The carousel received 8,541 likes and 411 comments.
Upon seeing the content from the students’ account and our main @UofMichigan channel, others began sharing their own #UMichLoveStories on Instagram. Stories ranged from decades-long marriages that started at U-M, to budding new relationships, to people using the hashtag to express the love stories they have with their friends they met at the University of Michigan.
In addition to posted content, the main @UofMichigan account featured two Instagram stories in honor of Valentine’s Day. The first was, of course, our valentines fit for a Wolverine. This story also announced the creation of two new gifs for our giphy, candy hearts in maize and blue that said “ur a-maize-ing” and “go blue forever and always,” respectively. These received 21,926 views over the week. But you’re probably wondering what our valentines looked like! Here they are, for posterity:
The story ended with a call to action for followers to swipe up to download the valentines for themselves. Eight hundred ninety-one people swiped up to download the valentines, and the story itself received over 22,600 impressions.
Our next Instagram story featured our #UMichLoveStories once more. The story had photos of the couples that our audience could tap through, and ended with another swipe up asking people to swipe up to read more. 411 people swiped up. The link brought them to our blog, where all the photos and stories are housed.
We shared different #UMichLoveStories across our various platforms, but we also wanted a place where people could go and see the photos and read the stories we collected. So we created the #UMichLoveStories blog. The blog has received 5,402 hits so far, and has been “enjoyed” 519 times. Check it out here.
In terms of engagement, Twitter was the biggest hit with our audience. Our hashtag #UMichLoveStories garnered 958 tweets from 751 contributors and 6.2 million impressions during the week of Valentine’s Day. The week once again started with the student Twitter and official Twitter tweeting out photos of UMich couples with a link to our blog. Student, alumni, and staff shared their #UMichLoveStories:
If all this doesn’t seem like enough, we also decided to create one of our signature holiday videos in honor of Valentine’s Day. The video was for a (sadly fake) dating app called Meet at Michigan. Why go through all the awkwardness of dating apps and first dates when you can meet the Wolverine of your dreams digitally? You can watch it here while fantasizing that such an app truly exists. We shared the video on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for a combined 24,045 views.
All in all, it was a very successful Valentine’s Day (week? don’t judge us), and reading our Wolverine love stories was the highlight. Each story was so unique, yet one thing was the same: the University of Michigan brought these individuals together. We couldn’t be happier to have sparked our global alumni network coming to life on social media to share their love stories.
Happy Valentine’s Day and, as always,
Be social. Stay social. #UMSocial