Social Media & Advancement 2012


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This report looks at data from CASE/mStoner/Slover Linett survey of social media in advancement. This data provides a compelling view of what has changed — and what has remained the same since 2010 in the way institutions use social media for advancement. One big change is that some 50% of institutions surveyed use social channels as part of a multi-channel campaign. Contains six case studies of how seven colleges and universities used social media in campaigns.

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Social Media & Advancement 2012

  2. 2. CONTENTS04 #SocialMedia and Advancement: Insights from Three Years of Data A report on what we learned from the 2012 survey and our reflections on how use of social media in advancement has changed in the past three years. Case Studies In-depth looks at how seven institutions used social media in coordinated, multi-channel campaigns.16 University of Wisconsin–Madison: Crowdsourcing #UWRightNow20 Webster University: Summer Ticket Giveaway25 Elizabethtown College vs. Messiah College: Battle of the Blues30 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI): Alumni Spirit Day34 The Johns Hopkins University: Fantasy Reunion39 The College of William & Mary: Ampersandbox
  3. 3. ABOUTThis white paper reports on findings from the third survey of social media in The Council for Advancement andadvancement, conducted in January and February, 2012, by Slover Linett Strategies Inc. and Support of Education (CASE) ismStoner in partnership with CASE. a professional association serving Our initial survey, conducted in 2010, was the first large-scale attempt to research how educational institutions and the advancement professionals who workeducation institutions used social media in external relations, marketing, and advancement. on their behalf in alumni relations,[A copy of the 2010 white paper is available here:] In 2012, we conducted communications, development,an online survey among a random sample of approximately 18,000 CASE marketing, and allied areas. Moremembers in the U.S. and abroad. We received 1,187 responses (the highest response information: all three years) across all types of institutions—a testament to the interest in this topic. mStoner is a marketing communicationsThe responses represent a demographic cross-section of CASE membership. Because most agency that works with educationCASE members are fundraisers, institutional communicators (PR, media relations, institutions on strategy and developmentmarketing, publications, and periodicals), and alumni relations professionals, the views of of websites, social media, brand, andenrollment and admissions professionals are underrepresented. And because the print. More information: focused on the use of social media in advancement, our results do not representperspectives on the use of social media in learning and teaching. Slover Linett Strategies is an audience research firm that helps universities,About the authors: Cheryl Slover-Linett is president of Slover Linett Strategies Inc. museums, arts organizations, and otherMichael Stoner is president of mStoner. nonprofits understand their audiences so they can connect to more people, moreLink to this paper: deeply. More information: August, 2012. If you’re quoting from this white paper, please credit the Third Annual Surveyof Social Media in Advancement conducted by CASE, mStoner, and Slover Linett Strategies.
  4. 4. IN OUR THIRD YEAR OF CONDUCTING THE CASE/ Figure 1. Growth in use of social channels, 2010-2012. MSTONER/SLOVER LINETT SURVEY OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN ADVANCEMENT, IT’S STRIKING TO SEE percent using this type of social media 2010 2011 2012 how far CASE members have taken social media. It’s fair to say that social media is now embedded for any audience in many advancement disciplines. This year, institutions report that they use social channels in fully Facebook (create/manage 50 percent of “campaigns”—not necessarily those dedicated to fundraising, but broader initiatives communities within 94% 96% 96% Facebook) focused on achieving a specific goal or goals. As we look back over three years of data, we see that while Facebook is used by nearly every institution responding (96 percent), there’s real growth in Twitter 67% 75% 80% other social channels, indicating an awareness of the importance of tools such as YouTube, Twitter, YouTube 59% 65% 73% and Flickr. More surprisingly this year, 17 percent of institutions reported experimenting with LinkedIn (create/ geosocial services such as Foursquare or SCVNGR (see Figure 1). manage communities 61% 65% 68% within LinkedIn) Here are some key takeaways from 2012: Blogs 36% 43% 55% ‣ Facebook remains the dominant social channel (96 percent of Flickr or other 33% 40% 51% respondents use it), and 86 percent consider it the most successful channel photo-sharing sites1 they use. (This hasn’t changed much over the past three years.) An institutional website ‣ The top goals for social media are engaging alumni and enhancing brand image. that is an aggregator of 58% 41% 43% social network sites ‣ Just 22 percent of respondents consider their social media efforts “very successful.” ‣ Twitter use is up, and it’s considered to be more effective than it was last year. Social communities provided by vendors ‣ LinkedIn and YouTube also grew in importance. through proprietary 33% 36% 33% ‣ Fewer institutions are using proprietary community solutions supplied by vendors. software (such as Harris Connect, iModules, etc.) ‣ There is a slow but steadily growing acceptance that social media effectively amplifies institutional communications—though less certainty A community created in-house by your unit about its value in fundraising. (create/manage 5% 12% 27% ‣ Half the institutions that responded are using social media communities) 2 channels as an integral part of campaigns, with outcomes that range Geosocial services from boosting attendance at events to raising money. (such as Foursquare n/a n/a 17% or SCVNGR) 3 But, note in Figure 1 how much the use of Twitter has grown in the three years that 1 In 2010 and 2011, we asked about Flickr only; we changed the wording of the question to “Flickr or we’ve conducted this survey (it’s up by 13 percent). Note, too, the increase in the use other photo-sharing sites” in 2012. 2 In 2010, Ning was still widely used to create in-house communities, so we asked about it specifically.4 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA 3 New in 2012.
  5. 5. of YouTube (up 14 percent) and blogs (up 19 percent). The use of Flickr and other photo Figure 2. Goals for social media. sharing sites also rose from 2010. We were surprised to see the growth in the goals of social media 2010 2011 2012 number of institutions that are building their not at all + quite a bit + not at all + quite a bit + not at all + quite a bit + not much extensively not much extensively not much extensively own social networks despite the prevalence and reach of Facebook: This year, 27 percent Engage alumni 5% 86% 5% 74% 6% 83% indicated that they were pursuing this Create, sustain, and improve brand image 9% 72% 7% 75% 7% 77% option. We didn’t ask specifically about Google Increase awareness/advocacy/rankings 20% 49% 18% 54% 18% 60% Plus, Pinterest, or Vimeo this year. But they Engage current students 25% 47% 22% 53% 20% 55% were the channels most frequently Build internal community n/a n/a 23% 47% 22% 51% mentioned in the open-ended responses; clearly many institutions are experimenting Engage current faculty and staff 30% 36% 28% 36% 25% 43% with them in their social media mix. Engage admitted students 39% 41% 33% 45% 36% 46% Since 2010, we’ve been interested in how Engage prospective students 44% 41% 38% 46% 36% 43% institutions set goals for their social media activities. And we’ve seen changes. Institu- Engage the local community1 22% 51% 32% 36% 30% 38% tions have established a broad range of goals Recruit students 46% 40% 42% 42% 43% 38% for social media, as seen in Figure 2. Engage parents of current students 41% 30% 42% 31% 38% 35% While engaging alumni and improving brand image are the top goals again this year, we’re Engage the media 2 n/a n/a 48% 27% 45% 26% seeing some movement elsewhere. “Increase Conduct research on audiences (alumni, awareness/advocacy/rankings,” ranked n/a n/a 45% 23% 43% 25% students, etc.) 2 fourth, in 2011 was third this year. Raise private funds 38% 31% 49% 24% 46% 26% There’s growth in the use of social media to engage current students and their parents, Crisis and issues management 62% 18% 58% 18% 56% 22% and significant growth in the use of social Recruit faculty and staff 78% 6% 77% 8% 72% 7% media to engage current faculty and staff. In addition, we find a small but steadily 1 In 2010, choice was “improve community relations.” increasing awareness of the importance of 2 Not offered as a choice in 2010. social media for use in crisis and issues management (see page 13).5 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  6. 6. Interestingly, some of the other goals that institutions cited in open-ended responses indicate that some institutions are focusing on measurable goals beyond “likes” or “shares.” For example, consider these: ‣ “Increase attendance at events.” ‣ ”Increase number of dues-paying members in our alumni association.” ‣ “Improve data in our advancement services database.” ‣ “Increase external traffic to our institutional website.” While institutions may use tools like Facebook or Twitter, we wondered how successful they believed they were in meeting their goals. Figure 3 (page 7) compares the most used social tools’ usage rates with respondents’ assessment of the tools’ success in meeting institutional goals. Facebook is the most widely used, and judged the most successful. Perhaps this isn’t surprising. Facebook offers the potential to reach large numbers of people, and the Facebook analytics tools provide a handy way to track fans, as well as number of comments, shares, likes, etc., that a post receives. This makes it much easier to gain quick insights into the impact a post is having. No other channel offers an analytics package that’s quite so easy to use or as compelling. CASE STUDIES: How successful are institutions at using social media? SUCCESSFUL What does success look like? Institutions say that social media has been most successful in helping MULTICHANNEL them to increase engagement with their target audiences (57 percent say this) and increasing CAMPAIGNS awareness of their institution (14 percent). Nine percent reported that social media helped them For this white paper, we developed build a stronger internal community. We’ll see if that grows in the future, as focus on using social case studies of some of the most media for building internal community has increased by four percent in the last year. successful multichannel campaigns This year, 20 percent of respondents indicated that they were “very successful” in their using social media. Each of the six campaigns we’ve highlighted social media initiatives, and another two percent indicated that they were a model of success. represent a range of approaches, Fourteen percent said they were “not at all successful” or “not very successful.” And 65 goals, channels, and outcomes. It’s percent said that their unit was “somewhat successful.” our hope that other institutions will How is success measured? Figure 4 provides an overall picture. In general, institutions still learn from these case studies and be inspired to use social media in their count things like “friends,” “likes,” and “shares,” though as we noted above, some institutions next multichannel campaign. are looking for offline results from their social initiatives. Some respondents report success in6 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  7. 7. Figure 3. Channels most successful at meeting goals—and most used (select up to 3) Use the most Most successful 100% 91% 75% 86% 2012 50% 56% 43% 25% 34% 29% 11% 10% 28% 24% 8% 7% 6% 6% 17% 16% 17% 13% 3% 3% 0% 100% 91% 87% 75% 2011 50% 43% 25% 27% 29% 24% 26% 21% 7% 6% 2% 3% 5% 4% 18% 14% 16% 13% 16% 13% 0% 100% 75% 85% 2010 1 50% 25% 27% 31% 25% 23% 8% 1% 3% 15% 12% 0% Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Aggregator 2 Blogs Vendor-provided Flickr Ning 4 Other (Please Community 3 Specify) Channels 1 In 2010, we didn’t ask which channel was used the most. 4 A tool like Ning to build social networking sites in-house. 2 An institutional website that’s an aggregator of social networking sites. 3 Social communities provided by vendors through proprietary software (such as Harris Connect, iModules, etc.).7
  8. 8. boosting participation in events, for example. Figure 4. Do institutions measure A few of the open-ended responses success with social media? provide a fuller sense of what some institutions are thinking—and we can see a 3% 7% 10% 13% 10% 15% growing sophistication about what and how 27% 9% 13% to measure the outcomes of social 22% Not at all marketing and engagement. Not much 36% Somewhat 37% 29% Here are two examples: Qute a bit 41% 28% ‣ “Clemson has a Social Media Listening Extensively Number of active Volume of participation Number of click-thrus Center in partnership with Dell and “friends,” “likes,” members, (unique person counts) to your website participants, posts, tweets, Radian6, which allows faculty and or number of comments students to monitor conversations, ID 6% 15% 4% 4% 4% trends, etc., as well as do research and 17% 11% 26% 14% 22% 30% teaching. Were a ‘guinea pig.’” 24% ‣ “Conversions (targeted goals); analysis 18% 19% of ‘affinity’ growth.” 32% 27% 27% We compared the open-ended responses of 39% 25% 37% respondents who claimed that their institutions Volume or proportion Penetration among Event participation Anecdotal success (or of complaints and target audiences were “very successful” to see what attributes horror) stories negative comments they might share. 2% 10% 3% 10% 4% 10%2% 10% 32% Here’s what we found: 40% 16% 22% 43% ‣ On average, communications and 25% 21% 52% marketing staff tend to think they’re more successful; development staff think they’re 20% 31% 26% 22% less successful. This makes sense: The Surveys of Analysis of content / outcome that defines success for Donations Number of applications target audiences number of mentions a development officer is dollars raised. for admission in blogs8
  9. 9. Everyone acknowledges that it’s very hard to raise money through social channels right now. ‣ Respondents from units that drive their own social activities and don’t take direction from others believe they are more successful because they can be responsive to audience needs and engage audience members on their own terms. ‣ They use multiple metrics to gauge success. In other words, “likes” and “shares” lead to another action, such as attendance at an event, and aren’t just ends in themselves. ‣ They have institutional support for social media. ‣ They have policies around social activities (right now, policies primarily focus on content, branding, and privacy). ‣ They have more staff focusing on social. This doesn’t mean that the staffs are large in terms of full-time employees, but it does mean that more staff people focus on social channels as part of their jobs. University of Wisconsin–Madison: Crowdsourcing #UWRightNow ‣ They plan their campaigns—and want to do more planning. What does a day at the University of ‣ They believe in the power of social media to help them reach their goals. Wisconsin–Madison really look like? ‣ They have learned how to use Facebook well. Since it’s the most dominant channel, University communications wanted they have mastered it. to find out. On April, 2012, they ‣ They’re active on Twitter. launched #UWRightNow ‣ They regularly use social media with multiple audiences. (, ‣ They’re out there trying things. In other words, they have the experience and the flexibility a first-ever multimedia project designed to capture the breadth and to beta-test new channels such as Pinterest, Google Plus, and other newer networks. spirit of the University during a 24- ‣ They cross-market their social media channels extensively, using multiple channels. hour period. The entire campus community—including alumni and Finally, and most importantly, they regularly incorporate social into broader multimedia campaigns. friends from around the world—was More about that on page 14 and in the case studies. invited to share thoughts about what makes UW–Madison such a special place. The University invited all kinds Lessons Learned of content rather than restricting contributions to photos only; As social media use becomes more embedded in society—and as advancement staff gain experience contributions included tweets, with it—they become more realistic about what social channels can, and can’t, accomplish. They also learn photos, and videos, which were how to use social media more effectively in their jobs. Although as one respondent warned, “People who posted along with staff-produced use social media personally think they are experts. Personal use and using it for an institution/unit are not coverage on the campaign website.9 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  10. 10. the same!” As people within an institution begin to use social media and learn what their colleagues and peers are doing, the level of expertise and experience across an institution rises. This year, we asked a series of questions about “lessons learned” from deploying social media, managing it, and implementing policies around social media efforts. Here are some key points that emerged from respondents’ comments. Pay attention to new developments in social media Social media develops quickly, and as a result, institutions have to pay close attention to new developments on the channels that are important: They change regularly and sometimes substantially, which can affect strategy and tactics for using these channels. It’s important to remember that institutions don’t own their social media presence and often have little time to accommodate changes that a vendor announces. So staff need to know the channel well enough to be able to respond quickly when something happens. This is especially true of Facebook, which has introduced some extensive changes to its product in the past year or so. One respondent commented, “Facebooks changes to the ‘group’ setup Webster University: Summer really messed us up. We thought we had enough recent activity to move us from ’archive’ to Ticket Giveaway ‘current,’ but we did not. Our group went from 750 members down to 10.” Webster University created a Facebook also introduced Timeline as its new profile page, causing institutions to scramble to Summer Ticket Giveaway campaign take advantage of new opportunities. to increase brand awareness and Of course, not only do key channels introduce big changes that are unannounced, but new engagement with prospective and channels emerge constantly and may become significant quickly: Pinterest is a good example. So current students at a time when it’s essential to pay attention to what’s happening, monitor what channels key audiences are engagement typically lagged. using, make a judgment about whether they are a good fit for institutional goals, and decide Webster’s global marketing and whether to jump in and experiment with them or pass them by—for now. communications team secured 200 tickets to seven different concerts and The importance of training and support distributed these tickets to people It’s becoming more common that people use social media as part of their job, rather than focusing who interacted with Webster through primarily on social media. Helping these staff members stay current on developments in social Foursquare, Twitter, and YouTube. channels is really important: They often don’t keep up with best practices or pay attention to what They coordinated their efforts colleagues or other institutions are doing. We’re seeing more evidence of institutions attempting to through a blog ( raise the level of awareness of all staff who use social media by instituting formal training and10 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  11. 11. informal communications about best practices. These tactics include staff lunches, networking, webinars, websites and tools aimed at answering questions about social media. As we mentioned above, institutions that indicate that they are successful at using social media have high-level support for these activities. One person mentioned, “It is important to have ‘buy-in’ from high-ranking officials in order for social media to succeed.” Another said, “Do not hire a chief advancement officer or head of advancement who does not have buy-in or understanding of the power of social media.” But the need for buy-in extends beyond on-campus executives to audience members themselves. “Get champions among your alumni,” one respondent urged, indicating the importance of going beyond “likes” to actual advocacy from key stakeholders. In fact, 61 percent of respondents indicated that they “agreed/strongly agreed” that “a champion is essential to the successful implementation of social media in our institution.” And 50 percent indicated, “My unit benefits from institutional support and buy-in for social media deployment.” Planning and goal setting Successful institutions plan their social initiatives. This often starts with learning where their audiences spend their time. “Fish where the fish are: Facebook and Twitter for us,” advised one respondent. You might use more channels than those, but it’s essential to think about what you want to accomplish and be able to focus on critical channels. From two of the respondents: Elizabethtown College vs. Messiah ‣ A channel “. . . has to meet the goals of the plan for using social media. There are so many College: Battle of the Blues tools and platforms that pop up all the time, and weve learned that we cant be on them Battle of the Blues was a young all. So we have to pick and choose which ones are right for our audience and, just as alumni giving challenge between important, which ones we can manage on a continuous basis.” rivals Elizabethtown College and ‣ “My department creates a strategic plan before deploying any new platform. We believe Messiah College. It was an it is better to focus on three to five channels on which to meet our objectives, rather than extensive multichannel campaign spread ourselves thinly across every platform available.” using email, print, web, and social In planning, goals are essential, and the more concrete they are, the easier they are to measure and media with the goal of reaching thereby demonstrate success. Here are some specific examples of realistic, targeted goals: alumni and encouraging them to ‣ “Our specific goal with Facebook and Twitter was to use it as an extension of our public donate and get involved in the relations outreach, specifically in order to increase global awareness of the university. In Battle of the Blues campaign. that regard we have been very successful. Weve found that the best way to implement social media is to have a specific goal in mind rather than a lot of goals or no goals at all.”11 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  12. 12. ‣ “Our unit has successfully used LinkedIn to track down international alumni with whom we had lost touch. (We no longer had valid mailing addresses for them).” Being realistic Figure 5. While goal setting is important (and, we would argue, essential!), so is being realistic about Units responsible for creating, what you can accomplish. Institutions need to be focused and deliberate in order to be monitoring, and successful in social media, but must also pay attention and adjust tactics if something isn’t enforcing institutionwide social working. One person noted, “Set a clear strategy; identify goals; then learn as you go; iterate.” media policies Be clear about what social media can—and can’t—do. It will be impossible to duplicate an effort like that of the 2008 Obama for America campaign, which raised nearly $500 million 2011 2012 through social networks. One respondent observed, “With the success of the Obama 2008 campaign, many thought they could translate that money-raising success to higher education Communications/Public 84% 1 74% Relations development. Our university hired a consulting company who claimed they could significantly elevate annual giving via social media. This never transpired.” Marketing 36% 39% Other observations included: Alumni Relations 21% 27% ‣ “There is a fundamental difference between a short-term campaign with a defined cause, Advancement Services 12% 15% dollar goal, and finish line vs. long-term relationship building and consistent, lifetime Enrollment Management or giving, which is the main focus of the development office. 12% 12% Admissions ‣ “We continue to explore and implement social media to raise awareness and also for Development (including Annual micro-campaigns where there is a defined cause and dollar goal. This micro-campaign 11% 18% Fund) can then benefit from alumni sharing it with others and becoming ‘virtual fundraisers’ by Information Technology 12% 17% driving others to the campaign.” None 10% 10% Policies Other, please specify 6% 7% There’s an ongoing challenge about developing institutional policies for social media. Developing an effective policy is complicated; so is enforcing it. How far does the policy extend? Who monitors 1 In 2011, Communications and Public Relations were separate selections; we combined them in 2012. compliance? Nevertheless, development of policies has grown over the past three years, expanding from covering the look and feel of social channels to incorporate privacy guidelines, how to handle negative comments and posts, and even, on some campuses, to consider legal and ethical issues. This year, there was some shift in which departments are responsible for creating, monitoring compliance, and enforcing policies, as seen in Figure 5.12 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  13. 13. Here are some comments from this year’s respondents about policy development and related issues that indicate a continuing focus on best practices: ‣ “All our policies are created by our governance and legal team; they are the responsible owners for this content, and we treat them as subject matter experts. Our role is to ensure the policies are visible to the world.” ‣ “Im working with our HR department to move away from a punitive tone in our social media policy and toward a positive position tone in which employees are encouraged to use their status as brand ambassadors to enhance our work as the universitys fundraising foundation—well see how it goes!” ‣ “We use existing policies and guidelines rather than specific social media policy.” ‣ “Consider your campus culture. For us, it would have been impossible to get buy-in and approval for an official policy. So we went with guidelines instead.” ‣ “Important to engage faculty in development of policies to avoid concerns about academic freedom. We opted to go light on policies, and heavy on best practices and guidelines.” ‣ “Guidance to units who manage social media properties on how to moderate comments and set expectations with fans/followers has been highly sought after and highly valued.” ‣ “We have a tab on [each of] our Facebook pages that outlines our policies about posts.” Social media’s value in a crisis This is the third year we’ve noted that institutions still don’t seem to be focusing on how social media can be incredibly valuable—one might say essential—components of a crisis communications plan. But several respondents indicated how important it had been for them: ‣ “Through various crises, we have learned that social media (especially Twitter and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Facebook, combined with our website) are vital to communicating during a crisis.” (RPI): Alumni Spirit Day ‣ “We were successfully able to communicate with current students as well as parents Spirit Day was a photo contest to during a power outage that briefly affected the website during Hurricane Irene.” show RPI pride among alumni. The ‣ "We learned how many of our students use social media as a news tool when we had to photo contest was part of Spirit close campus one day last winter for snow. Many of our followers told us they found out Day and used Facebook, Instagram, first through the universitys social media sites—before they checked email for the Twitter, and some email for older standard notice or saw an announcement on the morning news. That was fuel for us to alumni not on social channels. continue what we were doing and make sure that breaking news is always on social media. Recently, we used social media to diffuse rumors about a lockdown situation on13 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  14. 14. campus. The lockdown was precautionary, but rumors were rampant on Twitter and Facebook. We used the official university account to post a response and the chatter on social media quickly stopped." Social media and its role in campaigns This year, we probed if (and how) institutions were using social media in campaigns, which we define as “a focused effort to achieve goals using a variety of channels appropriate to the The Johns Hopkins University: results sought.” Note that this definition can (and sometimes does) include efforts to raise Fantasy Reunion money, but is intended to acknowledge that social media is often incorporated into initiatives Fantasy Reunion was an alumni that have objectives other than just fundraising. competition leading up to alumni For example, in our first white paper, “Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First weekend during homecoming. The Survey of Social Media in Advancement” [at and on the CASE website], campaign used multiple channels, we included case studies of the College of William & Mary’s Mascot Search and Oregon State including social media (primarily University’s Powered By Orange (PBO) initiative. William & Mary incorporated a number of Facebook), email, print, and some social media channels into its campaign to crowdsource mascot options and announce a personal contact via phone (in mascot for the college; OSU used a large number of social channels in PBO, which turned into an particular for older alumni). institution-wide branding campaign. This year, we wanted to see what institutions were doing with social media and what role these channels played in campaigns. We learned that 50 percent were using social media as part of campaigns. Of that number, 40 percent used social media in 75 percent of their campaigns and 20 percent used it in half to three-fourth of theirs. And 40 percent used social media in half their campaigns, or fewer. What’s the goal of these campaigns? It varies. Respondents deployed campaigns for purposes including: The College of William ‣ “Event promotion and attendance.” & Mary: Ampersandbox ‣ “A $100 challenge match for alumni.” This campaign took an innovative ‣ “We promote the career resources offered to alumni and other career initiatives, such as approach to the traditional college networking nights and webinars, across all of our social media platforms.” viewbook, and ended up being ‣ “All of our annual giving appeals included some social media component, whether it was posts different from anything else out on Facebook, to Facebook advertising, to encouraging Twitter use for peer-to-peer solicitations.” there. It included print and a ‣ “We used social media in a newly designed undergraduate admissions piece.” campaign-specific website.14 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  15. 15. ‣ “In 2011 we used social media (Twitter, Facebook) to highlight our annual April Fools Day Figure 6. Tools used prank, which featured a revision of the homepage and related content.” to promote social ‣ “Increased participation and giving—alumni giving went from 19 percent to 26 percent.” media initiatives ‣ “One goal was increased requests for information on our website. We used Facebook and our often-changing website to garner interest by using fresh, relevant content. We went online from approximately 80 requests for info per month to approximately 200 per month.” Website 91% ‣ “Online contest to raise awareness of research and programs. Received more entries than expected.” Email 88% ‣ “We wanted to raise awareness of and encourage participation in the celebration of our 150th birthday by having people attend in-person events, and for those who couldnt do Social media 79% that, by having them participate virtually. It was a big success.” Blogging 23% Institutions usually rely on other channels to market their social campaigns, even a simple Search engine optimization or 21% one. Here’s a look at the channels that are most commonly used to promote campaigns search engine marketing (Figure 6). print By using social media in multichannel campaigns, institutions are finding that an integrated approach—with proper planning and goals in place—has increased results and benefits that Internal publications 67% continue far beyond the campaign. Not only can development and communications staff Direct print mail 52% reach a broader audience, but also now they can reach them through the most engaging and External publications (not your appropriate channel. With social media in the mix, institutions have an opportunity to build on 21% institution’s publications) the friend-to-friend encouragement that social media provides, further expanding their reach other and impact. Social media is also a more effective way to reach young alumni, who many Outreach and institutions note are the most difficult audience to contact and engage. 52% marketing at events ‣ Radio 6% TV 4% Other 4%15 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  16. 16. CASE 1 STUDY University of Wisconsin–Madison: Crowdsourcing #UWRight Now16
  17. 17. Case Study: University of Lucas, a senior university relations Wisconsin–Madison: specialist with university communications. Crowdsourcing #UWRightNow Successful is an understatement. According to Lucas, the campaign far exceeded expectations. A total of 1,018 stories, photos, videos, and tweets were What does a day at the University of posted to the site from as far away as India Wisconsin–Madison really look like? and the South Pole. Submissions came from University communications and marketing all 50 states and 66 countries. They wanted to find out. On April 18, 2012, they described activities ranging from research launched #UWRightNow taking place in campus labs, to students ( a first-ever, studying in Europe, to an alumnus checking multimedia project designed to capture the in from Switzerland, to future Badgers breadth, depth, and spirit of the university sporting tiny red-and-white attire.  during a 24-hour period. The entire campus “What came through loud and clear was the community, plus alumni and friends from unwavering connection people feel to this around the world, were invited to share university,” said Lucas. “Despite widely their thoughts about what makes UW– varied experiences and ties to UW–Madison, Madison such a special place. people conveyed loyalty, gratitude, and a This one-of-a-kind campaign expanded on strong feeling of community, even from the concept of the 24-hour photo project by thousands of miles away.” opening up submissions to all kinds of content. It mixed a blend of crowdsourced Capturing the spirit of UW–Madison tweets, photos, and videos with staff- The development, promotion, and produced coverage, all posted on a website implementation of #UWRightNow was no designed specifically for the campaign. small task. It took a true team effort by “We wanted to see the “We wanted to create a truly blended dozens of people across campus to capture campus community self- campaign that told the UW–Madison story the spirit of UW–Madison in a 24-hour reflected in this project, through the university’s perspective. We period. The web team alone clocked in more which is what I think wanted to see the campus community self- than 300 hours on the project. reflected in this project, which is what I “This was a big effort by UW–Madison made it so successful.” think made it so successful,” said John staff, and it took a lot of hard work, planning,17 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  18. 18. and promotion. We brought together In addition to the web design, Lucas writers and communicators working across attributed the campaign’s success to the campus, and we really challenged our web extensive promotion done by university team to do something different to communications. The team used a wide contextualize this. The end result was very variety of channels: Twitter, Facebook, rewarding for our staff,” said Lucas. other social media, the University’s home The campaign was guided by four goals, page, print, advertising on campus news which helped to ensure its broad reach, websites and Facebook, the faculty/staff e- engagement, and success: newsletter, and email to campus partners, communicators, and select international ‣ Showcase the pride and excitement the community has about its relationship to students. The site launched to the public on 24 hours in the life of UW–Madison UW–Madison. April 13, 2012 as a teaser. Its early unveiling ‣ Engage the broad UW community–give allowed the planners to use it in promoting them a “voice” by offering the chance to #UWRightNow and encouraging genuine, More than 1.4 million hours have passed submit content. not canned, submissions. since UW–Madison was founded in 1848. ‣ Challenge university communications Take part in a collaborative project to staff to explore new creative, technical, Content with a shelf life showcase all that goes on here during just 24 hours — midnight to midnight and content solutions to communication. University communications wanted on April 18, 2012. ‣ Connect with and encourage campus content that they could repurpose; content partners to submit high-quality stories with a shelf life. They wanted stories that from their own programs. could be used in the future by the One goal in particular (goal 3) set the admissions office, by staff who managed stage for the innovative website design done campus tours, and by advancement staff for share your story at: by the UW–Madison web team. Building the fundraising purposes to show donors the right kind of site was key to accommodating true spirit of UW–Madison. the diverse content that was going to be To do this required significant editorial included. The web team used the planning. Lucas worked closely with WordPress platform with jQuery Masonry, university communications to think about which Lucas explained gave them the best the kinds of stories they wanted to showcase adaptability for the type of content being in addition to the submissions they would collected, and ultimately provided the best receive. They wanted to see the entire look and feel for the campaign.18 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  19. 19. campus community reflected, so they sought ‣ An article about the campaign was communications would do differently. “We out specific audiences and story ideas. included in the alumni magazine On really kind of hit a sweet spot. But if we could “We knew going in that we had alumni all over Wisconsin ( do something different, it would be to better the world, and some famous alumni like Steven prepare for the kinds of responses we got. It Levitan, the creator of ‘Modern Family.’ We also With more than 1,000 submissions, there was overwhelming at times. We planned on wanted to make sure that the many people are too many to include here, but they can be posting eight to 12 submissions per hour, but working behind the scenes at UW–Madison viewed in their entirety at #UWRightNow ended up posting more than 60 per hour,” were represented, like building maintenance,” ( Following are explained Lucas. Lucas said. “The benefit to having 24 hours was some of university communications’ For education institutions considering a that we could also reach out to departments and favorites: campaign like #UWRightNow, Lucas audiences that weren’t being represented. We ‣ “Why not me?” ( stressed the importance of planning, shared a senior’s submission of how she could go out and get them to participate.” promotion, and campuswide engagement. overcame adversity during study at UW– “Project planning is key to any campaign’s Madison. Chancellor Ward referenced it success. You have to know what you want to Overwhelming response at the 2012 commencement. get out of it and plan appropriately. Don’t “In the end, we were completely stunned ‣ Staff at UW’s IceCube project at the South Pole submitted pictures ( leave it up to whatever you get from by the reaction to the campaign. It was RightNow3). crowdsourcing,” Lucas. wildly successful, and really showed the ‣ A photo of UW Health’s Med Flight He also recommended that daily university amount of passion people have for UW– program in action ( engagement through various channels, Madison and the kinds of connections RightNow4). including social media already be people have with the university,” said Lucas. ‣ The 4 a.m. hour had a great diversity of commonplace. UW–Madison had already laid Following are some of the impressive results: posts ( the groundwork for engaging audiences and ‣ A total of 1,018 stories, photos, videos, and ‣ A story and photo about the staff communicating with them on a regular basis. tweets were posted to the site in 24 hours. members who work overnight across “We are so proud of this campaign. It was a ‣ Nearly 14,000 unique visitors came to the site. campus ( true ‘lightning in a bottle’ experience. We look ‣ Submissions came from all 50 states ‣ “Happy accident,” a post by a junior forward to updating this approach and using and 66 countries. who claims that attending UW–Madison it again, but in a new, fresh, engaging way.” ‣ Visitors spent an average of five minutes was one of the happiest accidents on the site. of her life ( ‣ Twenty percent of visitors used mobile devices, such as smartphones, to access the site. Sound advice ‣ The site was shared nearly 8,000 times via Upon evaluation of the campaign, Lucas Facebook and Twitter. said there was little that university19 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  20. 20. CASE 2 STUDY Webster University: Summer Ticket Giveaway20
  21. 21. Case Study: Webster University: In 2011, Patrick Powers, director of digital Summer Ticket Giveaway marketing and communications, and Kathy DeBord, graphic designer, turned the Webster Summer Ticket Giveaway into a Summer is typically a slow time for traffic multichannel social media campaign. to college websites, blogs, and social media. Webster’s global marketing and But in 2011, Webster University wanted communications team secured 200 tickets something that would shake up their to seven different concerts through its audiences and create more traffic to partnership with Verizon. And Powers than the normal summer online developed a comprehensive plan to doldrums. So they devised a campaign to distribute these tickets through various boost traffic to their online properties. social platforms. That something was an expanded “Social media is where people are. The Summer Ticket Giveaway campaign that statistics are mind-boggling about the would increase both brand awareness and number of users on these platforms. If we engagement with prospective and current don’t take advantage of these channels, then students. And the answer to getting there we’re missing out on a great opportunity,” was social media. said Powers. For several years, Webster University had His campaign utilized Foursquare, “Social media is where partnered with the Verizon Wireless Twitter, and YouTube, with each channel people are. The Amphitheater in St. Louis in an effort to providing a different way for participants to statistics are mind- market Webster to a younger audience win concert tickets. The target audience was prospective and current students boggling about the during the summer months. The University distributed free tickets to concerts at the (generally between 16 and 35 years old) number of users on Amphitheater to student groups and the living within 90 miles of the St. Louis these platforms. If we University Center in hopes that people campus who used social media. All efforts don’t take advantage would pick them up. While the ticket were coordinated through a central blog of these channels, then giveaways generated some increased ( we’re missing out on awareness among the younger The campaign’s objective: “to build brand a great opportunity.” demographic, it didn’t generate the brand awareness and increase engagement while recognition or audience engagement that driving traffic to the Webster University Webster wanted. website during the summer months, a time21 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  22. 22. when activity on the site is usually low.” purposely use Facebook, we found that people And the results of the social media– who won tickets on Twitter would announce powered approach were impressive. Powers their winnings on Facebook. We saw how measured traffic coming from social these channels worked together and how channels to the blog server June through people used these channels differently, all in July 2011; 2,476 visits (up from 230 in the effort to connect socially.” 2010); 1,384 unique visitors (as opposed to Each channel had a distinct way for the 125 in 2010); and 4,628 page views (up from target audience to win tickets. 747 in 2010). Powers attributed success to the Follow us on Twitter. Once a week a integrated approach taken to combine tweet was sent encouraging people to re- social media channels in a way that allowed tweet a message. The message included them to work together. “It’s no longer links to Webster’s Twitter account enough simply to be on social platforms (@WebsterU) and blog. Example: 2 tix broadcasting institutional messages to courtesy of @WebsterU to the first 5 ppl to students. It takes an integrated approach to tweet: "@WebsterU is hooking me up with engage them where they are while still Styx/Foreigner tickets! driving them to meet your institutional #STL”. [Note: the link is no longer active.] goals,” said Powers. Check–in to Webster University on Finding the right combination Foursquare. Powers built a check-in special Powers knew that to develop a successful on Foursquare that people could unlock campaign, he had to select the right when they checked in to specific locations on combination of social platforms. Facebook campus. For this campaign, the special was is the most popular channel at Webster, but unlocked for people who checked in to Powers didn’t want to find ways to navigate Webster Hall, the Welcome Center (located around the Facebook terms of service. (You within Webster Hall), and Webster can’t give away items in exchange for University. Tickets were redeemed at the content on Facebook.) So, he settled on Welcome Center front desk. He created all using Foursquare, Twitter, and YouTube. the campaigns for newbies so that people Top: the Summer Ticket Giveaway blog that But he noticed that activity bled from who had already used Foursquare to check in Webster created as a hub for the campaign; a channel to channel. “While we did not to these locations could not unlock the Foursquare check-in offer on the bottom.22 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  23. 23. special. The goal was to increase foot traffic @kennychesney up next! Turned out to be a among prospective students and those who nice nite too!! had not previously engaged with Webster on @ryansechrest: Just picked up a shirt from this platform. the @websteru bookstore to wear to my free concert on Wed — courtesy of :) Post a video to YouTube. Each week on the blog, people were encouraged to submit While Twitter was very active, videos to YouTube that answered the question Foursquare was the fastest growing social “Why Webster?” The first five people to email platform for Webster during the campaign. a link of their video won tickets. The winning The Summer Ticket Giveaway campaign videos were posted to the blog. earned Webster 308 people who viewed the various check-in specials and 213 people Impressive results who unlocked the specials. Twitter proved to be the most effective YouTube was the least successful of the channel for communicating about the three channels, resulting in only one user- Summer Ticket Giveaway, generating an generated video ( The impressive 822 mentions, 263 new followers, four-minute video submitted by Andrea “ From day one, and 871 website clickthrus (a 204% increase Pepper provides an authentic testimonial we set a goal and clear from 2010). Powers also pointed out the that has been viewed more than 250 times additional benefit from the word of mouth objectives. We could on YouTube. taking place on campus from faculty, staff, In addition to tracking web traffic and the refer to the plan and and students. Although this is hard to stay focused on number of tweets, videos, and check-ins, measure, everyone following @websteru was Powers set up a unique URL for each set of accomplishing the talking about the campaign, even though they may not have retweeted the messages. tickets so he could determine the type of goals we put in artists that generated the greatest buzz place. To really be Following are a few sample tweets: among the target audience. For example, successful in @pattysenft: Thanks @websteru!!! You are tweets mentioning the band 311 drew twice awesome! Thanks for hooking me up! Don’t as many people (153) to the website as did social media takes worry the Gorlok is coming too. Mötley Crüe and Poison (75). This will help thought, planning, @StephPhillips13: Enjoying Webster to select the most attractive and preparation.” @billycurrington courtesy of @websteru! concert partnerships in the future.23 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  24. 24. Putting a plan in place Lessons learned done has to be a low barrier to entry. People Powers is absolutely certain that The 2011 Summer Ticket Giveaway was a were willing to tweet on our behalf, but less developing a plan with a goal and clear huge success for the global marketing and willing to create a video. People will only go so objectives before the launch was key to the communications team at Webster. They far: you can’t force their behavior.” success of the campaign: “From day one, we developed an integrated social media Powers also said that moving forward, he set a clear goal and clear objectives. We campaign that reached and engaged a will get more people involved in managing could refer to the plan and stay focused on broader audience then ever before, drove the campaign. He planned, executed, and accomplishing the goals we put in place. To traffic to the Webster website at one of the measured the 2011 campaign by himself, really be successful in social media takes slowest times of the year, and built brand with support from graphic designer Kathy thought, planning, and preparation.” awareness that enhanced Webster’s DeBord, who managed the tickets. The global marketing and communications reputation. They also learned some valuable “It’s challenging to do this kind of campaign department set the goal of the Summer lessons along the way that will inform and as a one-man-shop,” he said. “Just because Ticket Giveaway to align specifically with guide future campaigns. you’re running a social media campaign goal number five of the Webster University One of the most unexpected lessons doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to do on the back strategic plan: “Enhance our reputation.” In learned was about demographics. Powers end. We had to secure tickets, give them out, order to meet this goal, they set three clear explained that with Webster’s more keep track of everything including results. It’s objectives for the campaign: traditional campus, he expected the not just tweeting about the campaign.” audience would be comprised of mainly But the most critical piece to a campaign’s ‣ Build brand awareness using traditional-age undergraduates. “The success is developing a plan with goals and social media. demographics ended up being skewed from objectives. “At the end of the campaign we ‣ Increase engagement among the what we thought and weren’t limited to just University community. could say that we were successful because 18- to 25-year-olds. We had participants who we met all of our objectives, and we had the ‣ Drive traffic to the Webster were 17 and 40 years old tweeting that they data to show our success,” Powers explained. University website. won tickets and checking in,” said Powers. “Without those goals and objectives you Setting goals and objectives that aligned This unexpected twist in demographics have nothing to measure against. You can’t with the University’s strategic plan at the shows just how far-reaching an effective go back in time and create a plan. You have to beginning provided a benchmark to social media campaign can be. have the plan to begin with.” measure the progress of the campaign. Powers said they also gained valuable insight Powers explained that at the end of the into how people use social media and just how campaign they could go back, platform by far they are willing to go on an institution’s platform, to measure the progress toward behalf: “When it comes to utilizing these these objectives. platforms on behalf of the institution, anything24 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  25. 25. CASE3STUDY Now through Oct. 29 Elizabethtown College vs. Messiah College: Battle of the Blues25
  26. 26. Case Study: Elizabethtown (, and Colorado College College vs. Messiah College, ( and the University of Battle of the Blues Denver ( Ashley Martin, the assistant director of annual giving at Messiah College, had been looking for an A little friendly competition never hurt innovative way to increase recent alumni anyone, especially longtime soccer-field participation. Recognizing the competitive rivals Elizabethtown College ( spirit between Messiah and Elizabethtown and Messiah College ( College, Martin approached Elizabethtown. Capitalizing on the well-established spirited The long-standing rivalry, representatives competition and “trash-talking” between the of both colleges agreed, is what made the two colleges, Elizabethtown and Messiah Battle of the Blues successful. created the Battle of the Blues campaign “I think it was successful for many [Elizabethtown’s school colors are blue and reasons, but central to this was the gray, Messiah’s navy blue and white]. partnership with Messiah College, which Battle of the Blues put a unique spin on allowed us both to capitalize on our existing the college annual fundraising campaign by rivalry,” said Melody Bitkoff, director of the pitting young alumni of both colleges annual fund for Elizabethtown College. against each other in a competition for the Promotion of the giving challenge and highest number of donors, not dollars raised. participation centered on the Battle of the In hopes of increasing young alumni giving, Blues website (, created “ I think it was Battle of the Blues targeted alumni who had specifically for the campaign, and the successful for one graduated within the last 10 years. The Twitter hashtags created for each school campaign launched in July 2011 and ran (#GoEtownBlue and #GoMessiahBlue). main reason: The through October 31, 2011, closing with the The website was used by both schools to partnership with annual soccer game between the rival post information about the challenge, link Messiah College colleges on the same day. It’s a big game for to donation forms, provide updates on allowed us both to both—and a focus and inspiration for the current standings, and incorporate the capitalize on our competition for donations. Twitter feeds. It was these Twitter hashtags existing rivalry The idea was inspired by similar that really generated buzz and encouraged with Messiah.” campaigns at Lafayette College the friendly competition between the two ( and Lehigh University colleges. The website pulled and displayed26 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  27. 27. tweets featuring the colleges’ hashtags to regional alumni club pages. They also created encourage participation and allow visitors videos to post on YouTube and include in the to follow the trash-talk taking place. email solicitations. While these efforts were While both colleges shared the overall helpful, Bitkoff admits that email and direct campaign goal to engage young alumni and mail are the communication channels that the use of social media (the Battle of the garnered the most responses, in terms of Blues website and Twitter), each donations, from Elizabethtown’s young approached the challenge differently, using alumni. different logos and print materials and “Facebook and Twitter were recently achieving different results. added to our fundraising and marketing campaigns. During the campaign about 20 Elizabethtown College’s approach alumni tweeted and 100 Facebook fans, but Elizabethtown College’s development we had an initial open rate of 38 percent for and marketing and communications email. We find that email and direct mail are offices worked together to develop an still the most successful ways to secure gifts integrated approach to promote the Battle from our young alumni. By campaign’s end, of the Blues Campaign. They used a variety donations from direct mail made up the of communication channels, including majority of contributions received at 45.2 print, direct mail, email, advertising, percent,” said Bitkoff. YouTube, Facebook, the student Despite these results, the Elizabethtown phonathon, and word of mouth through team acknowledges the important and team captains. versatile role that social media plays in an “This integrated marketing mix contributed integrated communications campaign, so much to this campaign’s success.” said especially when trying to increase donations. Bitkoff. “We wanted to reach our alumni in “Using a combination of social media different ways, particularly the methods that channels allows for greater immediacy and young alumni respond to the most. And we urgency. The social media tools available wanted to make it fun and interactive.” today help us do things on the fly if we need Elizabethtown used social media to,” said Donna Talarico, integrated extensively. They created a Battle of the marketing manager for the office of Blues Facebook page and promoted the marketing and communications. “We can campaign on the E-town Facebook page and communicate more quickly and with less27 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA
  28. 28. lead time then print. It also provides an Talarico said, “We’re hopeful this will instant feedback and donation mechanism, promote continued giving in the future.” and an immediate call to action. People can click, link, and donate right away.” Messiah College’s approach Another communication channel that Messiah College also developed an worked well for the Elizabethtown team integrated communications plan to was traditional word of mouth, in the form promote Battle of the Blues and encourage of team captains selected from each class young alumni participation. It included of the target audience. The chosen captains email, print, direct mail, a phonathon, were already donors, had a high level of video, Twitter, and Facebook. In addition, participation as alumni, and were well Messiah created two Facebook ad known in their class. Bitkoff explained that campaigns. The first targeted alumni it was critical to have volunteers in place to within the last 10 years to push them to help send out messages on all channels, “like” Messiah’s Battle of the Blues and by using team captains they could Facebook page. The second targeted capitalize on the “friend-raising” element alumni who already liked the page, thanked of fundraising, which social media helps to them, and encouraged them to make a gift. make more effective. It proved quite successful, with 38 percent “Our team captains played an essential of the fans who were recent alumni making role in the success of Battle of the Blues. a gift during the campaign. “ The key to using They acted as cheerleaders and champions Martin acknowledged that while using social media is to to help promote the challenge and secure social media was helpful, Messiah had a have a clear strategy participation. If I can motivate my relatively small following on social. Like in place. Know what volunteers to tweet then it could cause a Bitkoff, Martin also found that print and snowball effect, extending the reach of the you want to post email were still the most successful ways to campaign,” said Bitkoff. In the future, E- communicate to Messiah’s young alumni. and when, and be Town will encourage the captains to “We really threw everything at the wall. We prepared to monitor tweet more. made sure to use print, letters, email and activity on your social From E-Town’s perspective, the social. Social media was particularly helpful channels so you can campaign was a success. They wanted to in communicating the different giving respond quickly.” increase participation and they did. More options and live stats. We had an artist people gave—and gave gifts of any size. rendering of the new building for Messiah’s28 | #SOCIALMEDIA AND ADVANCEMENT: INSIGHTS FROM THREE YEARS OF DATA